Personalities | Johann Joseph Fux | Late Baroque | Classical
(Yo’-han Yo’-sef Fooks) 1660–1741
German composer, organist and theorist
There are large gaps in the biographical knowledge of Fux. It is almost certain that he was born into a peasant family somewhere in Germany, but precisely where he acquired his musical skills remains a mystery. Real knowledge of the composer begins from 1698, when Emperor Leopold I appointed Fux Hofcomponist (‘head composer’) at the Vienna court. In 1700 Fux travelled to Rome, and there he studied with Bernardo Pasquini (1637–1710). In 1705 he was created Vice-Kapellmeister – and later Kapellmeister – of St Stephen’s Cathedral, Vienna. A year later Leopold appointed him court Vice-Kapellmeister and in 1715 Kapellmeister. Fux composed Italian oratorios, around 80 Masses, motets and other church music, and Italian operas; Costanza e Fortezza (‘Patience and Fortitude’, 1723) was performed in Prague at the coronation of Emperor Charles VI as king of Bohemia. Concentus musico-instrumentalis (‘Instrumental Collection’, 1701) contains some of his most ambitious orchestral suites (partite). His Latin treatise on counterpoint, Gradus ad Parnassum (‘Steps to Parnassus’, 1725), was studied by all the great composers of the following era, including Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven, and remained influential until the turn of the twentieth century.
Overtures, Il Fondamento (dir) Paul Dombrecht (Passacaille)
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