Notes and Editorial Reviews
Ouverture in d,
Passio Jesu Christi,
Mary Térey-Smith, cond; Mária Zádori (sop);
Zoltán Megyesi (ten);
Péter Cser (bs);
Schola Cantorum Budapestiensis;
Capella Savaria Baroque O
NAXOS 8.570326 (71:24)
Since the turn of the 20th century, when musicologist Hugo Riemann drew attention to the long-neglected work of Johann Friedrich Fasch (1688–1758), the critical estimate of this Weimar-born composer has steadily grown. His prolific and original
illustrates the stylistic evolution from the high Baroque to the classicism of Haydn and Mozart. More than 60 extant concertos attest to Fasch’s imaginative and resourceful instrumentation, especially remarkable in his writing for winds. Having languished so long in the shadow of Bach, Fasch now can be counted among Bach’s more interesting German contemporaries.
This fascinating new Naxos release pairs an orchestral suite or Ouverture with what may be the first recording of Fasch’s Passion setting (
Mich von Stricke meiner Sünden
) to a text by Brockes. They are presented in compelling and heartfelt performances by Hungarian ensembles and soloists under the direction of the conductor and musicologist Mary Térey-Smith. The sound of the Capella Savaria (an original-instruments ensemble established in 1981 in Szombathely, western Hungary) is unusually rich. Their stylish performance of the Ouverture, FWV K:d5 compares favorably with the justly praised recording by Paul Dombrecht and Il Fondamento (Fuga Libera 502).
Passio Jesu Christi
survives in two divergent manuscript copies, one held at the Leipzig Städtische Bibliothek and the other at the University of Chicago. Both were consulted by Térey-Smith to prepare the performing edition recorded here. Less rigorously polyphonic than Bach’s Passions, the power of Fasch’s setting is achieved with smaller gestures and lighter textures. The beautifully blended and translucent sound of the Schola Cantorum Budapestiensis is gracefully supported throughout by Capella Savaria. The tessitura of the Daughter of Sion role lies a bit high for soprano Mária Zádori, whose upper register develops a piercing edge in some instances. On the other hand, the young tenor Zoltán Megyesi acquits himself brilliantly as the Evangelist. His agility in the challenging, quasi-Handelian “Verwegene Rotte, was fängest du an?” is exhilarating, while the tender simplicity he brings to “Brich, mein Herz, zerfliess in Tränen” (accompanied by pizzicato strings and continuo with traverso obbligato) is stunning. Térey-Smith’s fine ear for detail is everywhere evident, though never limiting the fluent pace and momentum of these beautiful scores.
This recording was made in Szombathely in October 2006. Balances are acute and the presence rich. Nigel Springthorpe provided the informative notes. Recommended.
FANFARE: Patrick Rucker
Works on This Recording
Overture in D minor by Johann Friedrich Fasch
Savaria Baroque Orchestra
Written: 18th Century; Germany
Length: 23 Minutes 34 Secs.
Passio Jesu Christi, FWV F:1 "Brockes-Passion" by Johann Friedrich Fasch
Zoltán Megyesi (Tenor),
Mária Zádori (Soprano),
Péter Cser (Bass)
Schola Cantorum Budapestiensis,
Savaria Baroque Orchestra
Length: 47 Minutes 50 Secs.
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