Concerto for Trumpet and Orchestra
Johann Friedrich Fasch, 1688-1758
Scored for 2 oboes, solo trumpet, strings, and continuo

Biographical Info

Johann Friedrich Fasch is an example of that all-too-common phenomenon in music, the forgotten innovator. A contemporary of Bach (1685-1750), Fasch was a prolific Baroque composer, writing among other things over 90 suites, 16 masses, 4 operas, 61 concertos, and 19 symphonies. He was well known in his own time, but the 19th-century rediscovery of Bach’s music caused Fasch to fade into obscurity. Even today, much of his output remains unpublished and known only to the most dedicated musicologists.

Fasch formed an important bridge between Bach’s relatively intellectual works and the much more emotional symphonies of Haydn and Mozart. He was much more willing than most to experiment with different combinations of instruments, and was especially fond of the wind family, as shown in the present concerto, where he accents the relatively muted tones of the strings with a pair of oboes to form a typically pleasing accompaniment for the solo trumpet.

Suggested Equipment

Piccolo trumpet, or (for the brave) natural trumpet.

I recorded the clip below using an Eclipse Bb/A piccolo trumpet.

Practice/Performance Tips

Fasch mvt 1

Movement 1 should be thought of as an “elegant” allegro; not “impress-you-with-my-technique” fast.  There are two other things to consider in this movement.  One is know when you are melody and when you are “tympani-like” accompaniment and play as such.  Use more lyricism in your line when melody and absolute strict rhythm and soft dynamic when accompaniment.  Another consideration is pay attention to Fasch’s dynamics.  There are a couple of moments where the stark dynamic contrast makes for an interesting echo effect.

Fasch mvt 2

Movement 2 is very short and sweet with a nasty last two measures.  The tempo of this movement is marked Adagio but the tempi of the recordings I have vary greatly (from Andante to Dirge), so I’m not sure if the Adagio refers to the eighth or quarter note.

Fasch mvt 3

Movement 3 is surprisingly difficult to put together with the accompaniment (for a Baroque piece).  It is written in 3 but rarely actually feels like triple meter.  There are a few trumpet entrances that feel like you’re interrupting the ripieno melody.  However, when it comes together the combination creates a wonderfully complex mixture of lines.  The A theme material returns in the last third of the movement and Fasch repeats the initial material pretty much verbatim.  The first recording I heard of this piece was Wynton’s and I fell in love with his ornamentation of this section.  Most of what I play in the above excerpt is his ornamentation with a few additions of my own.  Those of you that are interested can download a pdf of the “ornamented” third movement under the “Shop” tab of this site.  It’s free!

Suggested Recordings

Maurice Andre, Wynton Marsalis, Niklas Eklund (natural trumpet), George Vosburgh, Ludwig Guttler