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Fasch: Concerti And Sinfoniae / Main-barockorchester


Release Date: 06/06/2006 
Label:  Aeolus   Catalog #: 10017   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Johann Friedrich Fasch
Performer:  Meike GüldenhauptMartin JoppHenriette GrögerChristian Leitherer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Frankfurt Baroque Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 3 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

While it would be premature to talk of a full-scale revival of the music of Johann Friedrich Fasch (1688–1758), recent years have witnessed a respectable interest in the composer. The attention is unquestionably justified, since while Fasch rarely sought profundity, his music is unfailingly well crafted, highly inventive, and effortlessly conforms to one of the most important tenets of 18th-century orchestral music—to entertain.

Stylistically, Fasch’s orchestral works span the transition from the late Baroque to the pre-Classical style. This is clearly apparent in the three contrasted sinfonias on the present disc, in particular the B? Sinfonia, one of only three of Fasch’s 19 surviving pieces in this form to add a pair of
Read more oboes to the strings. In the infectiously bright opening Allegro, the advanced leanings of what sounds like a thoroughly mature work are in evidence in the periodic phrasing, and contrasts of dynamics and color (Fasch is fond of imitative exchanges between high and low strings, also in evidence in the first movement of the G-Minor Sinfonia). The succeeding Cantabile is a gem, a sinuously lovely and highly expressive movement in siciliano rhythm that also displays its modern credentials by using the oboes to bind the texture. The dramatic intensity of the first movement of the G-Minor Sinfonia depends on the contrast between the harsh triple chord heard at the outset (and used as a motto throughout the movement) and the quieter answering phrase. The glowingly lyrical Andante that follows is in the major, after which comes a contrapuntal movement that starts as a four-part fugue (significantly marked by Fasch in stile antico), and a finale notable for its major/minor ambiguity. The Sinfonia in A Minor is perhaps marginally less noteworthy than its fellows, the highpoint being the delicately pastoral Andantino scored for muted strings. Main-Barockorchester Frankfurt is one of the younger German period-instrument ensembles (it was founded in 1998), with this being its debut recording. On this evidence, it is a body that needs fear no comparison with better-known rivals; quicker movements are played with a bright-eyed élan and tonal finesse, while Fasch’s eloquently melodious slower movements are given just the right degree of expressive warmth.

All three of the sinfonias appear to be new to the catalog, as are two of the concertos. The odd man out is the concerto for chalumeau, which has received two previous recordings, one by the English Concert, the other on an Accademia Daniel disc that was the subject of a feature review in Fanfare 23:6. The rustic liquidity of this precursor of the clarinet seems to have particularly appealed to Fasch, who included it in a number of his works. He certainly wrote idiomatically for the instrument, exploiting its ability to “sing” a cantabile aria in the opening Largo of the B? Concerto, a movement of Handelian breadth, in addition to playing flexible passagework in allegros. This beguiling work well deserves its relative popularity, and is splendidly played here by Christian Leitherer. In outer movements, Fasch’s concertos conform to the basic principles of Venetian ritornello form, but their material is invariably more closely integrated. The opening Allegro of the D-Minor Violin and Oboe Concerto is a particularly striking example, the distinctive material of both ritornello and the solo episodes constantly developed as the movement progresses. The writing here, as in the central Largo—another of Fasch’s memorably melodic cantabiles—is notable for eschewing showy work for the soloists in favor of concertante-writing. The Violin Concerto in A is a more overtly solo work, including some fairly demanding decorative passagework, but again features a long-breathed Largo with Lombardic rhythms (another Fasch favorite) that is well negotiated by Martin Jopp, the odd moment of slightly sour intonation excepted.

The attractions of this irresistible disc are further enhanced by superb sound. It is rare for a first recording to achieve such distinction, and I greatly look forward to hearing the Hertel disc subsequently recorded by Main-Barockorchester Frankfurt.

FANFARE: Brian Robins
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Works on This Recording

1.
Concerto for Violin and Oboe in D minor, FWV L:d4 by Johann Friedrich Fasch
Performer:  Meike Güldenhaupt (Oboe), Martin Jopp (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Frankfurt Baroque Orchestra
Date of Recording: 01/2003 
Venue:  Petruskirche, Giessen, Germany 
Length: 8 Minutes 30 Secs. 
2.
Sinfonia for Strings and Basso Continuo in A minor, FWV M:a1 by Johann Friedrich Fasch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Frankfurt Baroque Orchestra
Date of Recording: 01/2003 
Venue:  Petruskirche, Giessen, Germany 
Length: 9 Minutes 37 Secs. 
3.
Concerto for Violin in A major, FWV L:A2 by Johann Friedrich Fasch
Performer:  Martin Jopp (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Frankfurt Baroque Orchestra
Date of Recording: 01/2003 
Venue:  Petruskirche, Giessen, Germany 
Length: 12 Minutes 8 Secs. 
4.
Sinfonia for 2 Oboes, Strings and Basso Continuo in B flat major, FWV M:B2 by Johann Friedrich Fasch
Performer:  Meike Güldenhaupt (Oboe), Henriette Gröger (Oboe)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Frankfurt Baroque Orchestra
Date of Recording: 01/2003 
Venue:  Petruskirche, Giessen, Germany 
Length: 8 Minutes 57 Secs. 
5.
Sinfonia for Strings and Basso Continuo in G minor, FWV M:g1 by Johann Friedrich Fasch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Frankfurt Baroque Orchestra
Date of Recording: 01/2003 
Venue:  Petruskirche, Giessen, Germany 
Length: 12 Minutes 19 Secs. 
6.
Concerto for Chalumeau, 2 Oboes, Strings and Basso Continuo in B flat major, FWV L:B1 by Johann Friedrich Fasch
Performer:  Christian Leitherer (Chalumeau)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Frankfurt Baroque Orchestra
Date of Recording: 01/2003 
Venue:  Petruskirche, Giessen, Germany 
Length: 11 Minutes 18 Secs. 

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