You will not find any reference to Fasch in either of the current Penguin or Gramophone Guides, so a few notes to place him in context will not be out of place. Fasch trained under Kuhnau at the Thomasschule in Leipzig; as a student, he founded the collegium musicum that is now considered to be the ancestor of the famous Gewandhaus Orchestra. On the death of Kuhnau in 1722 he was approached by the Leipzig authorities to apply for the post of Kantor. Having just received a lucrative position as Kapellmeister at Zerbst, he declined the offer and the post was offered to Telemann. When his Hamburg employers refused to release Telemann, Graupner became the candidate of choice. Graupner, too, found it impossible to obtain his release and the post eventually went to one Johann Sebastian Bach. Both Telemann and Graupner received substantial financial and other improvements to their contracts as a result of their being denied the Leipzig position.
Though the Leipzig authorities rated Bach only fourth-best, they were certainly right to think Telemann then the best qualified candidate and they appreciated Bach’s worth – the story that they thought him ‘mediocre’ is based on a misunderstanding – so there is no reason to believe that they were wrong in their high opinions of Fasch and Graupner. Certainly neither deserves to have disappeared almost without trace. Fortunately the recording companies are doing something to redress the balance.
This recording of the Suites is of a large number of such pieces which both Fasch and Telemann produced: the Telemann Suites and, arguably, those by Fasch, influenced Bach’s four Orchestral Suites. (Bach transcribed some of Fasch’s Suites for his own collegium musicum in the 1730s.) His works are not quite in the same league as Bach and Telemann's – it’s best in this respect to try to forget that he was their contemporary – but they are attractive, often looking forward to the classical style, and are fully orchestrated with wonderful melodies and sparkling rhythms.