Jcf Fischer: Musicalischer Parnassus (The Daughters of Zeus)

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COMPOSERS: Jcf Fischer
LABELS: Dabringhaus und Grimm Scene
WORKS: Musicalischer Parnassus (The Daughters of Zeus)
PERFORMER: Mitzi Meyerson (harpsichord)
CATALOGUE NO: MDG 605 0977-2
Johann Caspar Ferdinand Fischer was an important figure in the development of German keyboard music. His working life was spent as Kapellmeister at Schlackenwerth on the edge of the Erz mountains, first to the Margrave of Baden, then to his grandson. Though a generation and more senior to Bach, Fischer lived to be a very old man, dying in 1746 at the age of 90. The Daughters of Zeus is not the title which Fischer gave to these very beautiful suites, but one derived from it, presumably to drum up sales. The collection is in fact called Musicalischer Parnassus and was Fischer’s last keyboard publication, issued in 1738. Its nine Suites bear the names of the nine Muses; each Suite contains a wide variety of French dances prefaced in all but one case by inventive and skilfully crafted preludes. The odd one out is the French overture which introduces the Second Suite (Calliope). Mitzi Meyerson has thrown herself into the spirit of this music with commendable zeal and with an authoritative stylistic aplomb. As I have already implied, the music is immediately and, in many instances, irresistibly alluring. Some readers will recognise the splendid Passacaglia which concludes the Ninth Suite (Urania). It’s been a favourite with performers ever since Wanda Landowska recorded it with stentorian vigour half a century ago. Nicholas Anderson