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Saturday, June 10, 2023


The Baroque 2000 ensemble was on top of its form and performed the extravagant Italian music with great skill and elegance and enjoyment. (Review by Keith Millar)

The Baroque 2000 concert last Sunday at the Mariannhill Monastery Church was one of flamboyance and flair with plenty of Latin emotion and splendour.

That was to be expected I suppose with a programme featuring five Italian Baroque composers who all rank best among those countries.

We heard compositions from Giovanni Batista Sammartini, Antonio Caldara, Francisco Geminiani, Tomaso Albinoni and Arcangelo Corelli.

All of them, Corelli aside, could be regarded as less well-known when compared to the likes of Bach, Vivaldi, Telemann, and Handel. Why this should be so is bit of a mystery as Italy is regarded as the birthplace of baroque music and the work of Italian composers had a profound effect on those that followed and the development of baroque music as a whole.

Giovanni Sammartini’s (1700 – 175) Symphony No 3 was the first work on the programme. A colourful and joyful work. Sammartini is known for the significant role he played in the development of the concert symphony. His influence on the likes of Christoph Gluck, Johann Christian Bach, Luigi Boccherini and Josef Haydn has long been acknowledged.

Following was Antonio Caldara’s (1671 – 1736) Sinfonia concertante in C Major. An extremely prolific composer who is credited with nearly 3500 works. He was not only one of the most important composers of his generation but wielded considerable influence over the evolution of Italian vocal music of the early eighteenth century.

Francesco Geminiani (1687 – 1762) was a violinist, composer, and music theorist. His contribution to Sunday’s concert was his Concerto Grosso Op3 No4. He was one of the most important composers of instrumental music in the first half of the 18th century. He was also an outstanding violinist and many of the techniques he introduced or developed are now part of the standard technique for the instrument.

Tomaso Albinoni’s (1671 – 1751) Sinfonia in G minor followed. While famous in his day as an opera composer, he is mainly remembered today for his instrumental music, some of which is regularly recorded. The "Adagio in G minor" attributed to him (but actually composed later by Remo Giazotto) is one of the most frequently recorded pieces of Baroque music.

Completing the programme was Concerto Grosso Op6 No5 by the great Arcangelo Corelli (1671 - 1751). The composer and violinist exercised a wide influence on his contemporaries and on the succeeding generation of composers. His music was key in the development of the modern genres of sonata and concerto.

The Baroque 2000 ensemble was on top of its form and performed the extravagant Italian music with great skill and elegance and enjoyment. The personnel may change from time to time but the enthusiasm and proficiency under the leadership of Concertmaster Ralitza Macheva remains high.

The next Baroque 2000 concert takes place on Sunday June 25, 2023, at 11h30.

For more details contact Michel on 082 303 5241 or at

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