Johann Friedrich Fasch Sacred Works on par with Bach’s

This release features a thoughtful program of music by Johann Friedrich Fasch. Two major choral works are separated by an instrumental suite.

The Mass in G major is fascinating. Fasch breaks the text down almost to its component phrases. He then seems to treat each phrase differently, moving seamlessly from choral contrapuntal passages to vocal quartet. The choir and instrumental ensemble exchange phrases, and soloists weave in and out.

Johann Sebastian Bach admired Fasch. Both composers wrote with a high degree of complexity. And yet Fasch’s seems more accessible. Even when the choir, soloists and instrumental ensemble all seem to go their own ways, the polyphony remains light and transparent.

Das Kleine Konzert turn in a refined, almost understated performance of the Orchestral Suite in A major, FWV K.A3. It provides a welcome relief from the almost overwhelming sonics of the mass. I thought their performance both elegant and charming.

The 1732 cantata “Ich danke dem Herrn von ganzem Herzen” is an imaginative setting of Psalm 111. Fasch uses every technique at his disposal. There’s a fair amount of word-painting, especially in the recitatives. Fasch’s choral polyphony is thinner than that of the mass, but still dazzling (as the liner notes hints it was meant to be).

For anyone who enjoys the High Baroque, these works are not to be missed. The performances are top-notch, and the recording quality does them justice.

Johann Friedrich Fasch: Sacred Works
Missa in G major; Suite in A major; Cantata “Ich danke dem Herrn von ganzem Herzen”
Veronika Winter, soprano; David Erler, countertenor; Tobias Hunger, tenor; Matthias Vieweg, bass
Rheinische Kantorei; Das Kleine Konzert
Hermann Max, director
CPO 555 176–2

More Recent Posts