Fame is a strange thing. Although Johann Friedrich Fasch was highly esteemed by his contemporaries and the generations of musicians who followed him, in the concert repertoire of today he is grouped together with many minor masters who wrote a lot of works that sadly communicate very little. Yet music scholar Johann Adolf Scheibe put Fasch into the same class as Telemann, and J.S. Bach possessed copies of several of the composer's works. This release therefore aims to expose the genius of Fasch, and in doing so to help restore appreciation for what has become a largely forgotten corpus of deftly written, utterly absorbing music.
Fasch made his name largely through his overtures, works which in the 17th and 18th centuries referred to a series of dance movements prefaced by an extensive introduction of pompous gravity. Two are explored in this release - the Overture in D minor and the Overture in B flat 'a due cori', arranged by M. Fechner and E. Steinsdorff respectively - and they are followed by a selection of Fasch's sonatas for two oboes and bassoon, with and without basso continuo, works whose details (such as free, fantasy-like episodes to be played at a slow pace) reveal a rich field for experimentation. A Concerto in D and a Sonata for 2 oboes and 2 bassoons also feature, and overall one is struck by this composer's highly personal style of chamber music -- a stark contrast to the ingratiating melodies and harmonic suavity of his large-scale instrumental pieces.
Recorded during 1986--87, the overtures and Concerto in D are played by esteemed ensemble Virtuosi Saxoniae (all members of the Staatskapelle Dresden) under the directorship of renowned trumpeter Ludwig Güttler. The sonatas complete the all-German line-up of musicians; renowned oboists Burkhard Glaetzner and Ingo Goritzki feature among others.