WORKS: Suite in G minor for 3 oboes, bassoon & strings; Violin Concerto in D; Missa brevis in B flat
PERFORMER: Catherine Martin (violin), Linda Perillo (soprano), David Gould (alto), Neil MacKenzie (tenor), Simon Birchall (bass); Linden Baroque Choir & Orchestra/Walter Reiter
CATALOGUE NO: CDE 84373
Johann Friedrich Fasch was a close contemporary of Johann Sebastian Bach, who admired his music enough to transcribe some of it for his concert organisation Collegium Musicum in Leipzig. Ironically, Fasch had competed for the post of Cantor at the Church of St Thomas in Leipzig when Bach was awarded the post in 1723. His own style, however, is often more modern than Bach’s, with elements that point forward towards the early Classical period.
All the music here shows great facility. The D major Violin Concerto is grandly Vivaldian in manner, the Suite for three oboes and bassoon vividly and at times dramatically characterised and the Mass expertly written, often in a language that prefigures Haydn. But the musical ideas are rarely arresting in themselves, which is why Fasch, though an interesting and worthwhile figure, is in the final analysis a minor composer.
The performances benefit from the firm yet flexible direction of Walter Reiter, though the playing of the Linden Baroque Orchestra is occasionally lacking in technical proficiency. The choir and vocal soloists are capable. The sound is bright and airy, though in their Suite the oboes and bassoon are overpowered by the strings. George Hall