Bach’s AscensionOratorio,  Lobet Gott in seinen Reichen, BWV 11, charts a course from despair to blazing hope for the future, and this is the larger trajectory that one of Australia’s newest period instrument ensembles, Bach Akademie Australia, took in its official season launch for 2019, which opened with the cantata Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen, BWV 12, and culminated in the blazing finale of the  Ascension.

Bach Akademie Australia, Madeleine Easton Bach Akademie Australia Artistic Director Madeleine Easton

Bach Akademie Australia’s founder, violinist Madeleine Easton, led the ensemble in BWV 12’s opening  Sinfonie, with the richly coloured sound of Emma Black’s oboe tracing expressive lines of heaving gut strings, before the newly formed Bach Akademie Australia choir delivered an agonising “Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen”, their sound ringing in the spacious acoustic of Paddington’s St Francis of Assisi church. In keeping with what we know of performances in Bach’s day, the soloists stepped out from within the choir to deliver their recitatives and arias, beginning with the transparent tone of countertenor Tobias Cole – admirably pulling double shifts on the alto parts in this concert to cover for Carmel de Jager, who withdrew due to illness –...