Ensemble Marsyas / Pamela Thorby / Peter Whelan

J.F. Fasch: Quartets; Concertos

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German composer Johann Friedrich Fasch held a variety of prestigious posts during his lifetime, but his output, aside from an attractive trumpet concerto, has been little investigated by performers. He was born just three years after Bach, but on the evidence of the works here he lived in a later and more progressive stylistic universe. The five four-movement mixed-instrument quartets heard here are predecessors of the Classical-period divertimento. The most important practitioner of the form was Telemann, whose "Quadri" Fasch's somewhat resemble. The movements are short, mostly binary-form pieces that develop interest through shifting instrumental effects, most persuasively in the Horn Quartet in F major, FWV N:F3, which is not a miniature horn concerto but a sort of study in horn accompanimental sounds. The bassoon and especially the recorder concertos on the album are something else again: genuine virtuoso works in the vein of Vivaldi's from the last part of his life, when the Baroque opposition between tutti and solo was beginning to break up. The recorder work of British virtuosa Pamela Thorby is spectacular. That of bassoonist Peter Whelan is a bit harder to gauge, since his instrument disappears somewhat into the spaces of London's Wigmore Hall, an odd choice for this chamber music. In general, though, Scotland's Ensemble Marsyas has an attractive sympathy for this style, and one hopes to hear them in other repertory of the middle 18th century. Recommended especially for those who like the gray area between Baroque and Classical.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Quartet in B flat major, FWV N:B2
1 2:16
2 2:21
3 1:51
4 3:47
Horn Quartet in F major, FWV N:F3
5 0:56
6 2:15
7 1:38
8 2:08
Quartet in G minor, FWV N:g1
9 2:13
10 2:40
11 1:59
12 2:36
Bassoon Concerto in C major, FWV L:C2
13 3:27
14 2:13
15 3:24
Recorder Concerto in F major, FWV L:F6
16 3:02
17 2:14
18 2:59
Quartet in F major, FWV N:F2
19 2:07
20 2:59
21 2:09
22 2:37
Recorder Quartet in B flat major, FWV N:B1
23 2:29
24 1:45
25 2:36
26 2:37
Quartet in D minor, FWV N:d2
27 2:04
28 2:06
29 1:43
30 1:50
blue highlight denotes track pick