Monday, August 14, 2023


Wesley Uniting Church, Forrest 13 August


Reviewed by Len Power


As well as performing fine music on period instruments, Apeiron Baroque’s players give relaxed, informative concerts and detailed explanations of their instruments. In addition, the music of dances from the period came alive with dancer, Aimee Brown, Director of Sydney Baroque Ballet, demonstrating and explaining the dances from the French Court opera.

The players were John Ma (violin/viola d’amore), Marie Searles (harpsichord), Anton Baba (cello/viola da gamba) and Gabriel Frømyhr (cello).

The concert consisted of works by Dario Castello, Jean-Baptiste Lully, Philipp Heinrich Erlebach, Johann Sebastian Bach, Thomas Baltzar and Arcangelo Corelli, all from the 17th and 18th centuries.

They began with Castello’s Sonata Prima. The combination of lively violin and sombre cello was very appealing and created a period atmosphere for the rest of the concert.

Aimee Brown danced in period costume in Sarabande pour une Femme by Lully. The intricate, light dance steps and arm movements added another fascinating dimension to the lilting music.  Brown also danced a Chaconne by Lully, a Bouree by Bach and in the “Folla” Sonata by Corelli.

Aimee Brown

John Ma explained the difference between a modern violin and a scordatura violin which he played for the work by Erlebach. Its different tuning produced a unique sound in the music which was especially pleasing against the viola da gamba of Anton Baba and the harpsichord of Marie Searles.

John Ma

Anton Baba also explained the features of the viola da gamba. His seven stringed instrument was used to great effect in the Anonymous (Zaragotha) Sonata and in the Sonata by Erlebach.

Anton Baba

Towards the end of the concert, John Ma played a Prelude and Almond by Thomas Baltzar on solo violin. This beautiful, melodic work was one of the highlights of the program.

The title of the concert, “Old Friends”, referred, not to the music, but to the fact that John Ma and Anton Baba went to school together and were now enjoying performing with each other.

Photos by Peter Hislop

This review was first published by Canberra CityNews digital edition on 14 August 2023.

Len Power's reviews are also broadcast on Artsound FM 92.7 in the ‘Arts Cafe’ and ‘Arts About’ programs and published in his blog 'Just Power Writing' at