Fasch, Carl Friedrich Christian


The founder of the Singakademie at Berlin, and the son and pupil of Johann Friedrich Fasch in organ and theory. Studied the violin under Hockh and Strelitz and the other branches under Hertel. He became accompanist in 1756 to Frederick the Great, his duties being to play alternately with Emmauel Bach, the harpsichord to the King's flute. From 1774 to 1776, Fasch directed the Court Opera, and in 1792, out of the choral reunions which had been begun two years before, he founded the famous Singakademie, the prototype of many such institutions all over Germany. He was its first director and was succeeded by Zelter. It rapidly developed to a state of great prosperity and today enjoys the highest fame, exercising a great influence upon the musical life of the town. Fasch, from his earliest years studied composition zealousjy and became a skilful contrapuntist. He was a conscientious worker, and would send nothing forth that he believed to be unworthy. Shortly before his death he caused to be destroyed many of his compositions written previous to his famous mass for sixteen voices, which he composed in 1783 and which is generally regarded as his masterpiece. He accomplished a great deal as composer, teacher and director, with but scant instruction in the musical art. Only a few of his compositions survive, including the mass mentioned before, the others being an opera, Vasco da Gama; chorals; psalms; a requiem; funeral   cantata; canons; and harpsichord pieces. Of his oratorio, Giuseppe riconsciuto, performed in 1774, one terzetto remains, all the rest having been destroyed. A part of his mass-music is in the Berlin Royal Library, and his principal works were published by the Singakademie in 1839. Grove says: "As a master of composition in many parts, Fasch is the last representative of the great school of sacred composers which lasted so long in Italy, and his works are worth studying. They combine the severity of the ancient forms with modern harmony and a fine vein of melody, and constitute a mine which would repay investigation." Zelter, who succeeded Fasch as director of the Singakademie, wrote a short biography of the composer in 1801.