Fasch: Quartets and Concertos

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COMPOSERS: Fasch
LABELS: Linn
ALBUM TITLE: Fasch: Quartets and Concertos
WORKS: Quartet in B flat, FWV N:B2; Horn Quartet in F, FWV N:F3; Quartet in G minor, FWV N:g2; Bassoon Concerto in C, FWV L:C2; Recorder Concerto in F, FWV L:F6; Quartet in F, FWV N:F2; Recorder Quartet in B flat, FWV N:B1; Quartet in D minor, FWV N:d2
PERFORMER: Ensemble Marsyas; Peter Whelan (bassoon), Pamela Thorby (recorder)

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Johann Friedrich Fasch was one of three composers – his teacher Christoph Graupner and Telemann were the others – who applied for the position of Leipzig’s Thomaskantor which, in 1723 was secured by JS Bach. Fasch returned to his recent appointment as Kapell-meister at the court of Zerbst where he remained until his death in 1758.

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Fasch may be less familiar to us than Telemann and Graupner but his skill in creating rewarding wind textures is being more and more widely recognised. Wind players, and indeed all of us who respond to the rich textures and warm colours of this music, will find much here that’s delightful. As well as concertos for treble recorder and bassoon respectively, there is a quartet for horn, oboe, violin and continuo, another for recorder, oboe, violin and continuo with a sensuous opening Largo, and four quartets for two oboes, bassoon and continuo. These last-mentioned are splendid compositions, full of playful contrapuntal ideas and energetic passagework. Bassoonist Peter Whelan with oboists Josep Domènech Lafont and Molly Marsh provide a well-balanced texture bringing poignancy to slow movements and virtuoso flourishes to faster ones. Pamela Thorby’s playing in the two works with recorder is fluent and sensitively articulated. All is carefully documented and sympathetically recorded – this music positively flourishes in the hands of the Ensemble Marsyas. Nicholas Anderson