Fasch: Wind Concertos; Suite in G minor

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COMPOSERS: Fasch
LABELS: Archiv
WORKS: Wind Concertos; Suite in G minor
PERFORMER: Mark Bennett (trumpet), Paul Goodwin, Lorraine Wood, Sophia McKenna (oboe), Alberto Grazzi, Sally Jackson (bassoon), Colin Lawson (chalumeau), Andrew Clark, Christian Rutherford (horn); English Concert/Trevor Pinnock
CATALOGUE NO: 449 210-2
Johann Friedrich Fasch was a pupil of Kuhnau and in 1722 applied to succeed his teacher as Kantor at Leipzig’s famous Thomasschule, but the job eventually went to Bach. Though he was a highly regarded composer, Fasch’s work remained unpublished in his lifetime; after his death in 1758, it was largely forgotten. In the early 1900s musicologist Hugo Riemann, recognising Fasch as an important figure in the transition from Baroque to Classical styles, initiated a revival of interest, but to date little of the composer’s voluminous output has appeared on CD.

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These delightful orchestral works, played with stylish élan by the English Concert, exemplify Fasch’s personal synthesis of ‘modern’ elements within more traditional forms. So the B flat Concerto, though cast in the old, four-movement sonata da chiesa style, is the first-known solo concerto for the chalumeau; and the orchestral suite, while based on the traditional French overture and dances, also incorporates more abstract airs and gives the winds unusual prominence. Fasch’s particular liking for pairs of winds is evident in the Concerto in D, which features two horns, two oboes, and two bassoons. This is bold, characterful music, expertly played: time perhaps for Fasch to come back into fashion. Graham Lock