Allan Fast (countertenor)
[March 27, 1954 - May 1995 Montreal, Canada]
tragically cut short by his early death." ---Daniel Taylor, 2002
Late Allan Fast studied at the University of Western Ontario, and sang for several years with the USA based Waverly Consort before returning to Canada in the late 80s. In 1986, Fast became the first prize winner of the International Opera Competition of the Belgian Royal Opera. He also gave private lessons for 16 year old Daniel Taylor at around the same year. In 1988, Fast made his only solo recording "Buxtehude: Alto Cantatas and Sonatas" with the McGill Collegium Musicum and participated with Joshua Rifkin's Bach cantata recordings.
He did numerous recitals and ensemble programs for Radio Canada, toured throughout North America, and taught early music voice at McGill from the early 90s till his death. Fast also co-directed the above mentioned McGill Collegium Musicum with Mary Cyr, who is currently a professor at University of Guelph.
In 1994, Fast taught at the McGill Historical Performance Academy between May 29 and June 5, but was too ill to sing in the staff recital held in that summer. He passed away in May, 1995 at the age of 41. The world has seen a tragic loss of a glorious voice that day.
Thanks are due to the following people who shared their memory of Allan Fast and admiration of his glorious voice.
Prof. Mary Cyr (University of Guelph)
Prof. Hank Knox (McGill University)
Valerie Kinslow (McGill University)
Prof. Julianne Baird (Rutgers University)
Jennifer Lane (Stanford University)
Special thanks to Michael Jaffee (Waverly Consort) who kindly provided me with those precious pictures of Allan Fast.
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Allan Fast's voice is simply magnificent in this one and only solo recording he left for us. The sound of period ensemble, McGill Collegium Musicum is smooth and has very little sharp edges. Regretfully, excessive resonance in the recording does not help one to appreciate complexity and depth of expression of Fast's voice. Accompanying booklet has an informative explanation for each tracks by Mary Cyr. It also contains lyrics with translation and of course everything is bilingual (English and French). A nice added Canadian touch.
Buxtehude wrote very few solo alto cantatas and those included in this CD are indeed meant for alto voice. For the complete listing of Buxtehude works, see Music and Musicians website.
The last track, BuxWV 118 is a rare secular cantata Buxtehude wrote for the wedding of daughter of Luebeck's mayor. According to the booklet, Buxtehude wrote only 10 secular cantatas (all are wedding arias) while he left total of 112 sacred cantatas. Of those sacred cantatas, one quarter is for solo voice and only three are alto cantatas (BuxWV 64, 107 and 59, that is).
The performing score for this recording was prepared not only consulting with the printed editions but also with manuscripts held at the university library in Uppsala, Sweden. Very authentic and academic approach. It should be, as this recording was made by the university scholars after all.
Joshua Rifkin is an
of the "one-voice-per-part theory". This notion is still a
issue but I am glad he proceed accordingly in this recording. It gives
a chance to listen Fast's voice more clearly. The sound quality of
is excellent. One would appreciate very complex timbre of Allan Fast
this recording. His voice is full of subtleties and nuances. It is pity
that he only sang one short recitative and a duet, although they both
*denotes the year Fast participated in recordingAllan Fast sings following solo and duet arias:
CD 1-16 Recitative "Nun, der von Ewigket geschloßne Bund"
CD 1-17 Arie "Wenn des Kreuzes Bitterkeite"
from "Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan" BWV 99 (duet with soprano Julianne Baird)
Allan Fast in Bach-Cantatas site