CD: “Fasch Orchestral Works, Volume 2”

…uniformly excellent, with precise intonation, energetic tempi, and virtuosic performances

“Johann Friedrich Fasch is one of the most ignored yet most interesting composers of the late Baroque. This disc presents premiere recordings by Philadelphia’s baroque orchestra of four delightful works in three genres: two concerti, an ouverture, and a sinfonia. The disc is accompanied by an excellent booklet by Brian Clark. The substantial concerti are richly scored, with paired woodwinds and horns, as well as a solo violin and ripieno strings. Instruments are featured in multiple combinations, giving the concerti a constantly varying color. Especially impressive is a passage for horns near the end of the first movement of the D Major Concerto. The rhythmic disruptions in the third movement of the same concerto are surprising and fresh. The playing on the disc is uniformly excellent, with precise intonation, energetic tempi, and virtuosic performances from Ngai and all of the wind soloists. We eagerly await the third volume.” Early Music America magazine, Fall 2012.

…now a decade old, Tempesta is one of America’s great period-instrument bands

“This is the second disc of Fasch released by Chandos with Tempesta di Mare, the Philadelphia Baroque Orchestra. I reviewed the first in Fanfare 32:1, noting that Tempesta “deliver(s) the goods with grace, energy, and elegance” in “performances that are fresh, vibrant, and spontaneous.” This release continues the tradition; it is full of vitality and elegance, not to mention a stylishness that is difficult to equal, let along surpass. The recordings are actual concert performances from 2010 and 2011 and are cloaked in the wonderful sonic aura of the Presbyterian Church, Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia. Now a decade old, Tempesta is one of America’s great period-instrument bands. They are regular visitors to American Public Media’s Performance Today, heard nationwide on NPR, and both of their recordings should be a part of your collection.” Fanfare 35:4, March/April 2012.

…Tempesta di Mare has staked out an important role in making Fasch’s orchestral legacy available via recording

“The Philadelphia Baroque Orchestra, Tempesta di Mare, has staked out an important role in making Fasch’s orchestral legacy available via recording. The Tempesta players are in full command of their period instruments and make some wonderfully bouncy, bubbly sounds. These performances will delight listeners who have not been convinced “Fasch-ists” before. If the first release could beget a Vol. 2, surely that Vol. 2 might lead us to expect a Vol. 3, or so we may hope.” American Record Guide, March/April 2012.

The playing of these Philadelphians is both stylish and passionate. The recording is very fine and notably 3-dimensional, making for an exciting and involving listen; now I’m going to have to chase down Volume 1!” Audiophilia, Recommended New Releases 2012, April 2012.

CD Pick of the Week, Classical WETA (Washington) — week of January 2. WETA, January 2012.

Tempesta di Mare’s musicians show they are every bit the equal of the better-known Il Gardellino

“The opening concerto is a lengthy and rich affair, scored for solo violin, two virtuoso horns, plus pairs of flutes, oboes and bassoons, strings and basso continuo. It is even more impressive and enjoyable than the other similarly grand concerto that opens [Tempesta’s first all-Fasch] disc. The horn parts are quite thrilling, here played with formidable technique by Todd Williams and Oleks Ozolins. Concertmaster Emlyn Ngai plays the solo violin part with suitably celebratory relish. The following piece, a six-movement Ouverture in A minor for strings and woodwinds, is a serious and substantial work, quite worthy to stand beside some of the best Telemann wrote in the genre. The following G minor Sinfonia shows off Tempesta di Mare’s well-drilled string ensemble. The final Concerto in G major is another richly scored work of impressive grand dimensions. Two ebullient outer movements, played by Tempesta di Mare with great zest, frame a dark and brooding Air andante. This is certainly the most profound movement on this disc. Tempesta di Mare’s musicians show they are every bit the equal of the better-known Belgian players in Il Gardellino.” International Record Review, January 2012.

…nobody does it finer than Tempesta di Mare

Philly Classics: Boasting frothy melody lines and intimate orchestrations, Baroque-era chamber music is the perfect entry drug to the world of classical. And nobody does it finer than the 22-member-strong Tempesta di Mare, the Philadelphia Baroque Orchestra. Just out, their premiere recording of “Orchestral Works, Volume 2” (A) by Johann Friedrich Fasch, an 18th-century Germanic court composer whose work bore such kinship to the better-known Georg Philipp Telemann that Fasch could pass his off as the other’s, just for fun. Several local foundations—Pew, William Penn, Beneficia and the Musical Fund Society of Philadelphia—helped in making this sparkling, high-resolution recording, captured at the Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill.” — Philadelphia Daily News, January 2012.


“Not that music history here should strive to become a sporting event, and by no means do the musicians from Philadelphia simply aim to register a score for Fasch — their recording reflects the enthusiasm for an unrecognized work, which they now introduce with pithiness, freshness, and sensitivity. Tempesta di Mare proves spectacularly how richly-colored one can play on baroque instruments. The worthy booklet accompanying the second Fasch CD von Tempesta di Mare makes this a wonderful present for those people who are convinced they have heard everything already, and who will most certainly be in for a surprise: about a wrongly forgotten composer, and about a splendidly tight baroque ensemble from the New World.” — Music & Interpretation: ★★★★★ — Codaex (Germany), December 2011.

CD of the Week, MDR Figaro (Germany)

“Tempesta di Mare is an ensemble of experts, and the musicians encounter this Fasch with pleasing serenity — without exaggerated tempi, without overreaching ambitions of the soloists. Instead they keep a beautiful balance, which suits the overall performance of these concerti and orchestral suites, and relishes in the equal treatment of sound registers and the exploration of the utmost possible color-wheel. It is wonderful to learn that there are, in far away lands, people who have seriously immersed themselves in Central Germany’s culture and history, and who are now making valuable contributions to its exploration and development. I recommend this CD of Tempesta di Mare from Philadelphia.” MDR-Figaro (Central German Radio, broadcast review for MDR CD of the Week), December 2011.

…lively and inspired

CD of the Week — “The playing of Fasch on this CD by the musicians of Tempesta di Mare is exceptionally lively and inspired, which makes you yearn for more.” MDR-Figaro (Central German Radio, website review), December 2011.

…palpible energy that only comes from enjoyment of the familiar

“As I have written previously in these pages, Tempesta di Mare is one of the world’s leading exponents of Fasch’s music; for the past few seasons, they have devoted whole concerts to giving modern day premieres of works from the famous collection in Dresden. For the present recording, they have selected two concertos, an overture suite that combines dance movements and more abstract “arias”, and one of Fasch’s four-movement sinfonias. The range of musical ideas is enormous, and illustrates the oft-quoted notation that Fasch was some sort of bridge between the Baroque and the early Classical styles—certainly his use of wind instruments to colour textures is novel for the period. Throughout the disc, the performances are first rate—from the gloriously rich opening of the Violin Concerto with its pairs of horns, flutes, oboes and bassoons, through to the end of the G major concerto “per molti stromenti” there is a palpible energy that only comes from enjoyment of the familiar. The disc is all the more remarkable for being taken from live performances. Start saving now for the projected Volume 3!” Early Music Review (UK), December 2011.