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on December 10, 2011
One cannot predict the taste of music audiences; some composers have either retained popularity through the centuries, or have been "(re)discovered." In his time the Baroque German violinist and composer Johann Friedrich Fasch (1688-1758) was well respected by his contemporaries. Johann Sebastian Bach, now deemed to have been the greatest Baroque composer, made manuscript copies of a number of Fasch's pieces. Yet nowadays, most music-lovers scarcely know the names of Fasch or his son, Carl Friedrich Christian (1736-1800), who was also a composer.
Fasch traveled throughout Germany, became a violinist in the orchestra in Bayreuth in 1714 and held court posts in Greiz and Lukavec. In 1722 he was appointed Kapellmeister at Zerbst, a post he held until his death. His works include cantatas, concertos, symphonies, and chamber music. None of his works was printed in his lifetime, and much of his output, including four operas, has been lost. In retrospect, he is today considered to be an important link between the Baroque and Classical periods.
During Fasch's life, his music was played all over the German-speaking world, from Hamburg and Danzig (now called Gdansk) in the north, to Bavaria and Vienna in the south. Fasch's melodic and harmonic gifts are evident in the charming and eloquent works on this CD, which contains two concertos (for ensemble), a Symphonia, and an Overture. It must be remembered that in the Baroque era little distinction was made between a suite and an overture. This A-minor Overture, comprising six movements, bears comparison with orchestral suites by J. S. Bach and Handel.
The performances are crisp and precise, and the recording is excellent. Recommended for those interested in the music of a contemporary of Johann Sebastian Bach.
Ted Wilks
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