Thursday, April 28, 2011

Fasch: Concertos, Orchestral Suite - TEC, Trevor Pinnock

Johann Friedrich Fasch
Concertos, Orchestral Suite
The English Concert, Trevor Pinnock
Archiv 449 210-2

In comparison with their contemporary, Telemann, German composers such as Fasch, Graupner, Heinichen and StOlzel enjoy a dimin ished profile among present-day concert-goers and music enthusiasts. None of them, admittedly, was anything like so prolific as the Hamburg Director Musices but they all had one thing in common - a fascination with woodwind instruments whose role in concertos and suites was imaginatively developed in their hands. Early on in life Fasch took Telemann as a model, on at least one occasion successfully passing off a piece of his own music as that of the elder composer.

Trevor Pinnock and The English Concert have assembled an engaging programme of four concertos and an orchestral suite which, taken together, demonstrate something of the variety and range of Fasch's style. Three of the works, a Concerto in D for trumpet and two oboes, another in C minor for bassoon with two oboes, and a third, in B fiat for chalumeau, have been previously recorded but the remaining pieces, to the best of my knowledge, are new to the catalogue. Fasch, more than Telemann or Graupner, for instance, forges a link between the late baroque and early classical styles. In movements such as the Allegro finale of the Chalumeau Concerto or that of the concluding D major Concerto on the disc, we are not far away from the galant minuets of the early Mannheim symphonists, while innovative ideas in the deployment of the wind instruments themselves often serve to underline a progressive vein in Fasch's music.

While Fasch is more up-to-date than Telemann in his concept of the three-movement Venetian concerto, his Ouverture-Suites more closely resemble those of the latter. But if the woodwind writing is sometimes more adventurous and forward-looking than that of Telemann it frequently lacks the melodic charm that lends distinction to so many of Telemann's beguiling vignettes. There is, for instance, a slight feeling of aimless meandering in the oboe writing of the first Aria of the G minor Suite. But, almost throughout the remainder of the work, Fasch maintains a sufficiently high level of interest to capture the attention of all but the most indolent of listeners. If in doubt, try the second Aria.

As well as consistently clean and lively ensembleplaying by The English Concert there are also strong solo contributions from oboists Paul Goodwin and Lorraine Wood, bassoonist Alberto Grazzi, chalumiste Colin Lawson and trumpeter Mark Bennett. Recommended.

NA, Gramophone Magazine 1997

No comments:

Post a Comment