Johann Friedrich Fasch (1688 – 1758) was a German
violinist and composer born in the town of Buttelstedt,
11 km north of Weimar, the eldest child of schoolmaster
Friedrich Georg Fasch and his wife Sophie Wegerig, from
Leißling near Weißenfels. After his father's death in
1700, Fasch lived with his mother's brother, the
clergyman Gottfried Wegerig in Göthewitz, and it was
presumably in this way that he came made the
acquaintance of the Opera composer Reinhard Keiser.
Fasch was a choirboy in Weissenfels and studied under
Johann Kuhnau at the St. Thomas School in Leipzig. It
was in Leipzig in 1708 that he founded a Collegium
Musicum. in 1711 he wrote an opera to be performed at
the Peter-Paul Festival in Naumburg, and a second one
for the festival in 1712.
In 1714, unable to procure aristocratic patronage for a
journey to Italy, Fasch instead travelled to Darmstadt
to study composition for three months under his former
Leipzig prefect Christoph Graupner and Gottfried
Grünewald. He then traveled extensively in Germany,
becoming a violinist in the orchestra in Bayreuth in
1714, was an amanuensis in Gera till 1719 and from 1719
until 1721 held a court post as organist in Greiz.
His next major post was Prague, where he served for two
years as Kapellmeister and court composer to Count
Morzin,. In 1722, he "reluctantly accepted the
position" of court Kapellmeister at Zerbst, a post he
held until his death. (The organist Johann Ulich was
his assistant.) Also in 1722, he was invited to apply
for the position of Thomaskantor in Leipzig at his alma
mater, the St. Thomas School, but he chose to withdraw
his name from the competition. The Leipzig opening was
eventually filled by Johann Sebastian Bach, who had
considerable esteem for Fasch.
Although formerly attributed to J. S. Bach, this work
has been determined to have been composed by Johann
Friedrich Fasch, a Bach contemporary. In fact, it is
often called the Fasch Trio in concert performances and
on recordings, even though it is still listed in many
catalogs of Bach's compositions. The work likely dates
to the early 1700s, when both composers were still
finding their stylistic ways. It consists of two
movements, an Adagio of three-and-a-half minutes'
duration or so, and an Allegro, two-thirds that length.
The first movement opens gently and dreamily in the
upper ranges, the theme serene and contented. It
exhibits quite the kind of melodic material and mood
heard in many Bach organ works, but the contrapuntal
writing lacks the imagination generally associated with
that master's finer keyboard works. The Allegro opens
at a lively but hardly breakneck pace, its mood
brighter but still divulging that sense of ethereality
from the opening panel. Again, contrapuntal features,
while well-crafted enough, are not particularly
inspired. Still, this gentle piece will have appeal for
both Bach and Baroque-era enthusiasts.
Although originally composed for Organ, I created this
Arrangement of the Trio Sonata in C Minor (BWV 585) for
String Trio (Violin, Viola & Cello).