Ouvertures: in D
, FWV K: D2;
, FWV K: F1.
Concertos: for Recorder in F,
FWV L: Fdeest;
for Lute in d
, FWV L: d1;
for Orchestra in D
, FWV L: D8;
Concerto Movement in F
, FWV L: F3
Tempesta di Mare Philadelphia Baroque O (period instruments)
CHANDOS CHAN 0791 (66:20)
Johann Friedrich Fasch (1688–1758) was part of a respected line of Lutheran cantors and theologians. He was first trained as a boy soprano and at 13 he was recruited for the Leipzig Thomasschule. Initially Fasch’s music was not unlike that of his friend, Telemann. Later he entered the University of Leipzig where he founded a
whose reputation would grow to the extent that it would rival that of the esteemed Thomasschule. Leipzig was no cultural backwater; it was in every way a cosmopolitan city, and it was here that Fasch and others of his generation first encountered the music of Italian master Antonio Vivaldi. This would have a lasting impact upon Fasch, and later on Bach as well.
At this point Fasch was self-taught as a composer so to sharpen his skills he began a tour of several courts and cities, including Darmstadt where he engaged in serious study with Christoph Graupner. Thereafter Fasch held several positions, beginning in 1714. In 1722 he reluctantly accepted an appointment as
in Zerbst. During the same year he was twice invited to apply for the position of Thomaskantor in Leipzig, but withdrew from the competition shortly after Telemann did, deciding that it was too soon to leave Zerbst. In 1727 Fasch spent at least seven months at the Saxon court in Dresden but he eventually returned to Zerbst where he spent the remainder of his career and life.
In 1743 Fasch made an inventory of the musical holdings in the Zerbst collection. It was a remarkable body of some 500 instrumental compositions by 90 composers, and Fasch was the best represented of the lot, followed by Vivaldi and Telemann. Although the inventory doesn’t contain music of Fasch’s teacher, Graupner, he may have supplied his former student with works of others. Also, the name of Sebastian Bach is missing! By the time Fasch died in 1758 an additional 21 new orchestral suites had been added and the number of concertos had shrunk in favor of
, quartets for three soloists with
No names were offered in the 1758 inventory, so we don’t know who composed what, but we can safely assume that Fasch was intent on making Zerbst the musical hub of Europe.
This release, the last of three by Tempesta di Mare that have been devoted to the music of Fasch (the other two are Chandos CHAN 0751 and CHAN 0783), affords us another glimpse into the Zerbst court inventory by way of two
, or suites, an orchestral concerto, two solo concertos, and a
, or concerto movement. The music provides concrete evidence that Fasch was a composer of the first rank whose music has been unjustly neglected by recording companies. His confident and deft handling of resources, his ability to craft music that is melodically and harmonically interesting, and his fertile musical imagination all point in the direction of a
composer, whose music was allowed to waste away on the dusty shelves of libraries for far too long.
The material for this release was recorded in concert at the Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, in October 2010, October and December 2011, and March 2012. The excellent sound—with exceptionally fine wind coloration—is true to the long-established Chandos tradition: wholly natural and with concert hall realism as well as ample room for the sound to bloom. The efforts of Tempesta di Mare on behalf of Fasch have met with generally positive responses from the musical press. The ensemble has now entered its second decade and is clearly one of the finest in the world. They perform with abundant energy, immaculate ensemble, impeccable intonation, and an undeniable sense of purpose, savoring every note as they plead the case for this unjustly neglected repertoire. Other adjectives that come to mind are: animated, colorful, and flexible. This release, like its two predecessors, has been realized with commitment and enthusiasm. Few could have made the case for Fasch as elegantly and as eloquently as Tempesta di Mare. They have fulfilled the task brilliantly!