• Hannah Fraser

classikON REVIEW: HEAVENLY MUSIC OF BACH’S MAGNIFICAT


26 November 2021 @ 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm AEDT


Madeleine Easton – musical director


Friday November 26, 2021 Christ Church St Laurence, Sydney


A large and devoted audience greeted the Bach Akademie Australia in its concert of festive works by Johan Sebastian Bach in the delightful Christ Church St Laurence. Due to Covid restrictions on the arts over the last 18 months or so Sydney has been too long without choral music, so to be able to hear live Bach’s Magnificatand Cantata ‘O ewiges Feuer, O Ursprung der Liebe’ BWV 34 was a treat not to be missed. And indeed, it was a treat with fine music making from all involved.


The assembled solo singers were also the chorus and they started splendidly with the opening chorus of the Cantata. Madeleine Easton seems most at home conducting the enthusiastic chorus movements and it helps wonderfully when you have such luminary musicians in the orchestra. Trumpeters Simon Wolnizer, Owen Morris and Matthew Manchester here and in all the chorus movements were thrilling. Hannah Fraser drew attention in this work with singing of great style and conviction. Here and every time they played flautists Mikaela Oberg and Jessica Lee were charm itself.

The invention that Bach brings to the Magnificat is all the more astonishing as he concisely constructs 12 movements in a work that barely lasts 30 minutes and yet the listener feels totally at ease and unhurried at the unfolding of the music. The powerful chorus sections are balanced by music at times ethereal and then as if it is crafted from a place other than earth.


Special mention must go to Richard Butler’s declamatory and thrilling singing in Deposuit potentes de sede et exaltavit humiles, and Susannah Lawergren, Anna Fraser and Hannah Fraser in the Suscepit Israel, with the delightful oboe playing of Adam Masters, was one of the moments of pure magic in the concert. Heavenly music.


In the music of Bach one needs a great basso continuo group and this concert was well treated with cellist Anthea Cottee, Neal Peres Da Costa, harpsichord and organist Nathan Cox.I take the unusual step of mentioning the entire orchestra and singing group as they all deserve credit for a wonderful concert.


Chorus Susannah Lawergren, Anna Fraser, Hannah Fraser, Stephanie Dillon Richard Butler, Koen Van Stade, Andrei Laptev, Andrew Fysh


Orchestra VIOLIN – Simone Slattery, Stephen Freeman, Timothy Willis, Meg Cohen, Michele O’Young VIOLA – Nicole Forsyth CELLO – Anthea Cottee DOUBLE BASS – Jaan Pallandi HARPSICHORD – Neal Peres Da Costa FLUTE – Mikaela Oberg, Jessica Lee OBOE – Adam Masters, Kailen Cresp TRUMPET – Simon Wolnizer, Owen Morris, Matthew Manchester TIMPANI – Timothy Brigden ORGAN – Nathan Cox