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Tuesday, December 20, 2022



(Right: Sandile Mabaso)

Durban’s marvelous Baroque 2000 Orchestra presented a programme jam-packed with Christmas delights for their final concert of the year which took place at the Mariannhill Monastery Church last Sunday.

Music from Baroque masters, and audience favourites. Bach, Vivaldi, and Handel were included in the programme as were items from Henry Purcell, Arcangelo Corelli and Alessandro Scarlatti, and two relatively-unknown composers Marco Uccellini and Michel Corrette.

The soloist for the concert was tenor Sandile Mabaso. KwaZulu-Natal born Mabaso has an effortless but powerful tenor voice. He started his singing training at the famous Drakensberg Boys Choir School and obtained a Bachelor or Music Degree from the University of Pretoria. He has performed widely both in South Africa and aboard.

His first song was Thrice Happy from the Fairy Queen a semi-opera by British composer Henry Purcell. The libretto is an anonymous adaptation of William Shakespeare's comedy A Midsummer Night's Dream. First performed in 1692, The Fairy-Queen was composed three years before Purcell's death at the age of 35. Following his death, the score was lost and only rediscovered early in the 20th century.

Mabaso also sang Deposuit Poyenes from JS Bach’s Magnificat with backing from a small ensemble of harpsichord, cello and bass, Alessandro Scarlatti’s Già il Sol dal Ganga, which also featured Michel Schneuwly on the trumpet, and Every Valley Shall Be Exalted from Handel’s Messiah.

Mabaso has a splendid and versatile voice which he used to best advantage for this concert.

Another item which stood out at this concert was Vivaldi’s La Folia. La Folia means mad, and while I don’t think the music was quite that manic it certainly was unusual, boisterous and frenetic at times. A quite magnificent piece of music which, if you don’t know it, you should attempt to hear. It was performed by two violins, cello and harpsichord and while all played well, I thought that Ralitsa Pechoux on the cello was particularly excellent.

Rounding off the concert was Michel Corrette’s excellent Christmas Concerto No.4 -Sur les plus beaux Airs de Noel which - along with Christmas gongs - served as a fitting end to this Christmas Celebration.

Baroque 2000 will now take a break until March 2023.

For any queries or more information contact Michel Schneuwly at or on 082 303 5241.

Baroque 2000 is sponsored by Die Rupert Musiekstigting. – Keith Millar