Harmonia Early Music

Commemorating Fasch

On Harmonia this week, we’re commemorating the life of composer Johann Friedrich Fasch. Plus, we’ll review a recent release by Ensemble Battistin.

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photo of dresden church

Photo: Stuck in Customs

A view of the Dresden Frauenkirche. Johann Friedrich Fasch looked to late-Baroque Dresden for inspiration.

The year 2008 is unusually special for German baroque composer Johann Friedrich Fasch.  Two hundred and fifty years ago he passed away in 1758 at the ripe old age of seventy, after a long life as a noted composer and Kapellmeister.  We can then commemorate his life this year by exploring the works of a man who is considered to be one of the most important German contemporaries of J.S. Bach.

Of his surviving compositions, it is his instrumental music that far outnumbers his vocal music and was inspired by the late baroque style made fashionable in Dresden.

Though his surviving cannon includes mostly instrumental music, Fasch was a prolific composer for the voice.  With the exception of oratorio, he flourished in every vocal genre found, including masses, cantatas, operas, and serenatas.

The most famous Fasch composition performed today is the concerto in D major for trumpet, two oboes, strings, and continuo, as it has been part of the standard trumpet repertoire for decades.

Our new release of the week comes from the Australian label ABC Classics.  Ensemble Battistin is featured in a program of French baroque cantatas by Montéclair and Stuck.

Here’s a video of Fasch’s concerto in D major for trumpet, two oboes, strings, and continuo, performed by trumpeter Giuliano Sommehalder and the Basel Chamber Orchestra:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sslzAjVFkIM

The music heard in this program was performed by Katharina Arfken, Il Fondamento, Accademia Daniel, and The English Concert.

Music Heard On This Episode

Michel Pignolet de Montéclair: from La mort de Didon
Ensemble Battistin, Fiona Campbell, soprano — French Baroque Cantatas (ABC Classics, 2007)
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Michel Pignolet de Montéclair: from La mort de Didon
Ensemble Battistin, Fiona Campbell, soprano — French Baroque Cantatas (ABC Classics, 2007)
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Johann Friedrich Fasch: Quadro in F major
Katharina Arfken and Friends — Johann Friedrich Fasch: Trios and Quadros for Two Oboes, Bassoon, and Continuo (HMC, 2000)
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Johann Friedrich Fasch: from Ouverture in G major for three oboes, bassoon, strings and continuo, FWV K: G 15
Il Fondamento, Paul Dombrecht, dir. — Johann Friedrich Fasch: Ouvertures (FU, 2004)
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Johann Friedrich Fasch: Laetatus sum (Psalm 121), FWV D:J1
Klaus Mertens, baritone, and Deborah York, soprano, with Accademia Daniel, Shalev Ad-El, dir. — Johann Friedrich Fasch: Cantatas (CPO, 2000)
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Johann Friedrich Fasch: New Year’s Cantata
Klaus Mertens, baritone, with Accademia Daniel, Shalev Ad-El, dir. — Johann Friedrich Fasch: Cantatas (CPO, 2000)
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Johann Friedrich Fasch: Concerto a 8 in D major, FWV L:D1
The English Concert (Trevor Pinnock, dir.) — Johann Friedrich Fasch: Concertos and Orchestral Suite (Archiv, 1996)
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Jean-Baptiste Stuck: Céphale et Aurore
Taryn Fiebig, soprano, with Ensemble Battistin — French Baroque Cantatas (ABC Classics, 2007)
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Bernard Gordillo

Bernard Gordillo was born in Managua, Nicaragua, and raised in New Orleans. He holds degrees from Centenary College of Louisiana, the Early Music Institute at Indiana University, and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama (London). Bernard also writes and hosts the Harmonia Early Music Podcast.

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