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German baroque

Sonatas by
Johann Friedrich Fasch -
appreciated by

'... an extremely talented and well-balanced ensemble ...'

Johann Friedrich Fasch - Trio Sonatas for two oboes, bassoon and basso continuo. © 2000 harmonia mundi

The eighteenth century was a particularly good time to be a composer in the Germanic countries. Every little princedom had to have its resident orchestra (and opera house, if possible) and a steady stream of new music. In the last forty years we have gradually rediscovered many of the provincial composers who supplied the need. Kuhnau, Stamitz, Quantz, Hasse and Graupner are among them, and Johann Fasch (1688-1758) is a recent addition to the group. After the customary years as a student and journeyman, Fasch took up the position of Kapellmeister in Zerbst, near Magdeburg, where he remained for thirty-two years. There he produced cantata cycles, orchestral music and chamber music as required, just as Bach was doing in Leipzig at the same time.

This disc presents a selection of his chamber works for double reeds. Fasch himself, like any good baroque musician, would have said four of the sonatas are for two oboes, bassoon and continuo and the other three for two oboes and continuo; and he would have expected the continuo to consist of a chordal instrument, probably harpsichord, and a melodic instrument.

That melodic instrument would often have been viola da gamba but it could also, especially in the case of a sonata for oboes, have been a bassoon. The performers here, being very good baroque musicians indeed, have deployed a variety of continuo combinations: harpsichord or lute with violone, gamba, double bass or bassoon.

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Copyright © 29 August 2004 Malcolm Tattersall, Townsville, Australia


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