Saturday, February 17, 2024



Fairfax Theatre, National Gallery Of Australia


Reviewed by Len Power 16 February 2024


Although Johann Sebastian Bach held the position of Thomaskantor, director of church music, in Leipzig, Germany for 27 years until his death in 1750, he was not the first choice for that position.

Although Bach was an applicant, the position was offered to Georg Philip Telemann, who ultimately turned it down. The Leipzig Town Council then offered the position to a new applicant, Christoph Graupner, who was forced to decline the offer as he was unable to be released from his current position. Only then was the position offered to Bach.

Salut! baroque’s The Genius concert celebrated the work of Bach and his contemporaries with a music selection from the baroque period of the 17th and 18th centuries.

The artists who performed in various combinations, were Anna Fraser, soprano, Sally Melhuish and Alana Blackburn, recorders, Sally Walker, baroque flute, Meg Cohen and Sarah Papadopoulos, baroque violins, John Ma, baroque viola, Tim Blomfield, bass violin, Simon Martyn-Ellis, theorbo and Monika Kornel, harpsichord

As well as two works by Bach himself, the program included pieces by other composers of the period such as Buxtehude, Hurlebusch, Telemann, Keiser, Monteverdi, Reincken, Caldara, Handel, Bach’s son, Johann Christian Bach, and his rival for the kantor position, Christoph Graupner.

Anna Fraser (soprano) and ensemble

It was a fascinating journey through the baroque period. All works were well-performed and highlights included Bach’s Aria, Aus liebe will mein Heiland sterben (Out of love my Saviour will die), with Anna Fraser’s beautiful soprano soaring above the accompaniment of the flute and two recorders, Monteverdi’s Madrigal, Lamento della Ninfa (Nymph’s Lament), with soprano, theorbo, flute and recorders as well as pieces by Hurlebusch and Keiser.

Simon Martyn-Ellis (theorbo) and Anna Fraser (soprano)

Bach’s Ouverture; Badinerie from Orchestral Suite No. 2 in which Sally Walker’s flute playing was delightful, brought this rich and enjoyable concert to a close.


Photos by Peter Hislop

This review was first published by Canberra CityNews digital edition on 17 February 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