Willem de Fesch was born in Alkmaar in 1687. He deserves an honorable place alongside greats such as Vivaldi and Handel, as his works sound at least as colorful, playful, inventive and sparkling as those of his contemporaries.
Sometime after 1700 his parents returned with him to Amsterdam. By then, the city had become an epicentre of music publishers. Many Italian composers published their work in the city; Vivaldi made public appearances and in 1729, Pietro Locatelli even opted to move there.
In 1708, De Fesch was appointed violinist in the orchestra of the Amsterdam City Theatre. He composed a lot of music for stage performances himself, such as the concerts in C and A minor on this album. As far as we know, orchestral works only started to appear again in 1741: the audibly matured Opus 10, also recorded on this album.
TracklistPlease note that the below previews are loaded as 44.1 kHz / 16 bit.
Total time: 01:00:04
|Original Recording Format
|March 4, 2021
The music of seventeenth century Dutch composer Willem de Fesch is quite a surprise: fresh, witty, complex and entertaining. I’ve not heard of Willem de Fesch before this album. And now I am delighted to have come to know some of his music…
What I hear in these performances by this smallish group of a dozen musicians who comprise La Sfera Armoniosa is a set of concerti grossi and concertos that are stylishly entertaining and played with immense artistic skill. It is a pleasure to hear these period instruments played with a skill that one sometime associates only with performance on modern instruments. For here is a generation of musicians who have lived most of their lives with early music, they appear to virtually breathe this aesthetic. There is no “translation” occurring of modern into “historic.” The musical performance flows from them naturally, as if born to this aesthetic.
And De Fesch’s music shimmers and dances in their hands. It is such a pleasure listening to this music so delightfully performed.
In this recording, La Sfera Armoniosa is joined by the baroque violinist, Lidewij van der Voort, co-founder of the Dutch baroque orchestra Holland Baroque Society where she was concertmaster for many years. And quite a nice contribution she makes as we hear in the solo violin parts of the Concerto in A-minor, track 5, as well as solo violin and violin leader segments in other works. This is a very lovely and gratifying album. I highly recommend it.
And did I mention the sound quality? Outstanding—another excellent recording from Bert van der Wolf. This is a live recording, but the audience is completely inaudible except at the very, very end of the final track where enthusiastic applause is retained on the album. Supremely natural, excellent detail. The timbre of the instruments as captured in the recording is a joy to hear.
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