The Bach Akademie led by Madeleine Easton, presented a most considered, thoughtful and structured concert full of exquisite, multi layered music delighting the senses.

First we heard BWV39, written for the First Sunday after Trinity in 1726 while Bach was cantor at St Thomas’ Church,Leipzig. It is sometimes known as the ‘refugee cantata’ in response to Protestants being expelled from Salsburg. The opening section musically depicts the breaking of bread. Divided into seven parts, quite symmetrical, it is scored for three vocal soloists, two oboes, two recorders, strings and continuo and the music and voices luxuriously interweave. It is quite symmetrical. The opening chorus describe the gesture of the breaking of bread.

The music is at times tender, soars, and bubbles concluding with a thrilling chorale.

Then we heard the Harpsichord Concerto in E arranged for Violin in D (after BWV 1053) Dating from the 1730’s, this was perhaps composed for himself or one of his sons to perform with Leipzig’s Collegium Museum. This effervescent work is regarded as one of Bach’s largest and most challenging harpsichord concertos. In the start and closure of the work he features the harpsichord’s resplendent sound (especially in the last movement, which includes tumbling triplets and speedy arpeggios.

In the middle movement, a striking, throbbing Siciliano in C#minor, Bach flourishes and embellishes it with dotted rhythms for the harpsichord and supplying peacefully meandering arpeggios to sustain the concluding  ritornello.   After interval we heard the ten part Cantata ‘Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben’ BWV 147 Bach showing his belief in serving divinity and humanity. It was first performed in an augmented  version in 1723 for the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It consists of ten movements divided into two parts (1-6 and 7-10). Soprano, alto, tenor, and bass solos are featured and here the Akademie uses two oboes, trumpet, strings, and continuo.

It begins with an opening chorus and a vocal fugue. An emphatic, refined yet pleading tenor solo is next followed by an alto aria that passionately glides and soars. Next comes a polished bass recitative (Andrew O’Connor). Then an energetic, pleading soprano aria (Susannah Lawegren), Wohl mir, daß ich Jesum habe, a chorale soars and leaps .

Part two opens with a joyous aria for tenor Richard Butler with an insistent repeated rhythm. Hannah Fraser’s Recitative pleads and flows. Andrew O’Connor’s bass aria scurries, bubbles and tumbles. The work concludes with a rousing chorale, bringing he concert to a close.

This concert was performed at the St Francis of  Assi Church, Paddington on the 12th April and Our Lady Of Dolours Catholic Church, Chatswood on the 14th April, 2024.

This review of the concert was from the streamed performance of the concert brought to online audiences by the Australian Digital Concert Hall.



Bach Akademie Australia

Madeleine Easton – Artistic Director

Soprano Susannah Lawergren

Alto Hannah Fraser

Tenor Richard Butler

Bass Andrew O’Connor


JS Bach – Cantata ‘Brich dem Hungrigen dein Brot’ BWV 39

JS Bach arr. Debrezeni – Harpsichord Concerto in E arranged for Violin in D (after BWV 1053)

JS Bach – Cantata ‘Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben’ BWV 147

Running time allow two hours including an interval