This album was originally released in 1970 (recorded 1969), hence the programme is 48 minutes long to fit onto a single LP. The most surprising thing about this CD is how accomplished and fresh this recording still sounds. Firstly, the digital transfer is very good mainly because the original recording is in good condition and retains the close-miked sound. The Concentus gives an excellent performance that wouldn’t disgrace any current period orchestra. Harnoncourt and the Concentus were true pioneers of the historical instrument movement and this CD shows just how they paved the way for today’s period bands.
Fux is a significant Viennese composer, most active around 1700. The Serenada is a substantial and rousing piece of ten movements scored for a pair of trumpets and orchestra: the trumpets here sound quite distinctive and may be true natural trumpets without (modern) finger-hole intonation correction. The Rondeau is a short piece at only four minutes. The Sonata a 4 has a very unusual scoring of violin, dulcian (an early form of bassoon), trombone and cornett (with organ continuo). The music is quite conservative and is reminiscent of the previous generation of south German composers (Schmelzer and Biber), especially the Sonata a 4. Other works by Fux show the French influence of Lully, but these do not.
In conclusion, don’t be put off by the age of the recording (actually ADD) or by the relative obscurity of the composer – this is a thoroughly worthwhile purchase and at a bargain price too.