Fasch: Orchestral Suites (CD review)

Pal Nemeth, Capella Savaria. Dynamic DM8029.

Who?  German violinist, composer, and kapellmeister Johann Friedrich Fasch (1688-1758) was another of those artists that audiences and critics respected during his lifetime but whose music soon faded into obscurity after his death. Remember, there were no phonograph records and no radio or television to keep the musical arts alive, and with changing attitudes in music, changing instruments, and changing orchestral sizes, older ideas often died or got lost along with their composers. Critics of Fasch’s day thought so much of the man, they would often hold his music in the same regard as that of Bach and Telemann. The present disc contains three of his orchestral compositions representative of his work.

The Suite in F major, a six-movement suite, starts with a typically French-sounding overture. Played by the Capella Savaria, a Hungarian period-instruments ensemble under the directorship of Pal Nemeth, the suite displays a pleasing and lively spirit. After the overture, there continue the usual dances and interludes: airs, bourrées, gavottes, plaisanteries (amusing pleasantries), and, of course, minuets, which end each suite.

For me, the most-delightful work on the program is the little Suite in D major, also in six movements. It has a most-regal and stately overture that is quite fetching. Nemeth then infuses the rest of the suite with an equal charm. The music is light and flowing, never raucous, edgy, or annoying in any way, the airs particularly lyrical and sweet, especially the second one.

The disc concludes with the longest of the selections, the Suite in A minor, containing ten movements. If one is listening to the album straight through, yet another of these sets may be a bit much, but taken one suite at a time, they can be quite satisfying. Anyhow, the A minor Suite starts in a more serious fashion than the others, finally giving way to a breezier, rhythmic pulse and more courtly moods. As before, the Capella Savaria play with vigor and finesse, and Maestro Nemeth’s direction appears impeccable.

Recorded at Saleszianer Theater, Szombathely, Hungary in 1999 and re-released by the Dynamic label in 2012, the sound is warmly and spaciously vibrant. The theater exhibits a rich, resplendent resonance, and together with the engineers capturing a good left-to-right and front-to-back image, the sonics are as lifelike as possible. The idea here was not to reproduce the most-transparent midrange but the most-realistic overall impression.  In this regard, one must count the recording a success.


No comments:

Post a Comment

John J. Puccio

John J. Puccio

About the Author

Understand, I'm just an everyday guy reacting to something I love. And I've been doing it for a very long time, my appreciation for classical music starting with the musical excerpts on The Big John and Sparkie radio show in the early Fifties and the purchase of my first recording, The 101 Strings Play the Classics, around 1956. In the late Sixties I began teaching high school English and Film Studies as well as becoming interested in hi-fi, my audio ambitions graduating me from a pair of AR-3 speakers to the Fulton J's recommended by The Stereophile's J. Gordon Holt. In the early Seventies, I began writing for a number of audio magazines, including Audio Excellence, Audio Forum, The Boston Audio Society Speaker, The American Record Guide, and from 1976 until 2008, The $ensible Sound, for which I served as Classical Music Editor.

Today, I'm retired from teaching and use a pair of bi-amped VMPS RM40s loudspeakers for my listening. In addition to writing the Classical Candor blog, I served as the Movie Review Editor for the Web site Movie Metropolis (formerly DVDTown) from 1997-2013. Music and movies. Life couldn't be better.

Mission Statement

It is the goal of Classical Candor to promote the enjoyment of classical music. Other forms of music come and go--minuets, waltzes, ragtime, blues, jazz, bebop, country-western, rock-'n'-roll, heavy metal, rap, and the rest--but classical music has been around for hundreds of years and will continue to be around for hundreds more. It's no accident that every major city in the world has one or more symphony orchestras.

When I was young, I heard it said that only intellectuals could appreciate classical music, that it required dedicated concentration to appreciate. Nonsense. I'm no intellectual, and I've always loved classical music. Anyone who's ever seen and enjoyed Disney's Fantasia or a Looney Tunes cartoon playing Rossini's William Tell Overture or Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 can attest to the power and joy of classical music, and that's just about everybody.

So, if Classical Candor can expand one's awareness of classical music and bring more joy to one's life, more power to it. It's done its job.

Contact Information

Readers with polite, courteous, helpful letters may send them to pucciojj@gmail.com.

Readers with impolite, discourteous, bitchy, whining, complaining, nasty, mean-spirited, unhelpful letters may send them to pucciojj@recycle.bin.

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa