Johann Caspar Fischer (1656-1746) was born in Bohemia and throughout his life, he occupied many prestigious positions which led him to command great respect and admiration from his fellow musicians. J.S. Bach is said to have possessed some of Fischer's manuscripts and was also inspired by him, while others considered him as the most perfect composer of the age. He was also much admired as a leading keyboard player and composer.
His output is profuse, but he seemed more inclined to writing orchestral works rather than sacred ones as he feared the latter might lead to financial instability. This disc presents both sides of the coin in the shape of the Suite #1, a short 6-movement work full of attractive dance music, reminiscent of the baroque period, and two settings of the "Ordinarium missae", of which he composed about a dozen examples.
The "Missa contrapuncto" calls for unusually modest forces of four vocal parts and thorough bass whilst also including chorales. "The Missa Sancti Michaelis" is on a much broader scale with five vocal parts, strings and three trombones. The music is very much in the mould and style of the period, but there are enough original touches to mark Fischer out from most of his contemporaries.
Homburg and his forces display a natural feel for these pieces, and performances are lovingly executed. The splendid sound and informative essay complete an invaluable addition to the Fischer discography.
Copyright © 2008, Gerald Fenech