Dynamic interpretations of rare baroque gems

The Cape Consort is a new South African ensemble committed to innovative performances, mostly of early music within the classical genre. 

It is part of a wider initiative of introducing historically informed performance practice to South Africa. They will be performing three contrasting programmes during this year’s Klein Karoo Klassique, from Thursday, 4 to Sunday, 7 August in Oudtshoorn. 

The critical response to the Cape Consort’s first series of concerts in and around Cape Town has been extremely positive, and audiences in the Klein Karoo are in for a rare treat to hear this engaging ensemble perform rarely-heard works by Monteverdi, Vivaldi, Händel and several other composers of the early baroque period. 

Dr Hilde Roos, from the University of Stellenbosch, describes a recent performance of the Cape Consort ensemble as follows: “This monumental work by Monteverdi, the so-called father of opera, was composed a good century before Bach composed his mature works and I was, once again, fascinated and touched by the unashamedly imaginative and expressive quality of this early Italian church music. The performance was furthermore based on a thorough knowledge of the performance practice of the time and resulted in a most enjoyable and moving experience.” 

Conceived as a flexible formation, adaptive to the forces required by the respective repertoire, the founding members of the Cape Consort are Lente Louw and Antoinette Blyth (sopranos), Nick de Jager, Nico Holtzhausen, Lance Phillip (tenors), Charles Ainslie (bass-baritone), while Andrew Cruickshank (harpsichord / organ) and Hans Huyssen (Baroque cello) form the core basso continuo group, which may be extended to include viols or lute and theorbo. The renowned Dutch baroque violinist Antoinette Lohmann will be a guest artist during the ensemble’s upcoming concerts in Oudtshoorn. 

The first performance that festival goers can look forward to at this year’s Klein Karoo Klassique, Sine Titulo, on Friday, 5 August at 15:00 places emphasis on virtuoso violin music of the 16th and 17th centuries. In Vespro da concerto, on Friday, 5 August at 18:30, a carefully compiled arrangement of Monteverdi’s monumental Vespers brings this masterpiece of the early baroque to the audience in an innovative guise. Their final performance, Amor, hai vinto, on Saturday, 6 August at 10:30, offers a survey of the wide range of dramatic vocal music from the baroque period. 

For the complete programme of Klein Karoo Klassique 2011 and more information, visit www.klassique.co.za , contact the Absa KKNK office at 044 203 8600 or send an e-mail to info@klassique.co.za. A A limited offer bargain ticket package is available that allows festival goers to see eight performances during Klein Karoo Klassique 2011 for a discounted price of R530. Bookings can be done at Computicket branches or online at www.computicket.com. Festival guides are available at selected Computicket branches as well as from the Absa KKNK office.

Issued by the Absa KKNK

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