The legacy of the imperial court Kapellmeister Johann Joseph Fux (?1660–1741) has been framed in terms such as “the Austrian Palestrina,” “a dry contrapuntist,” and “a master of the strict phrase.” The longevity of his music-theoretical text Gradus ad Parnassum, supported in part also by the music-pedagogically motivated Fundamentals of Singing, supported this view. But to the contrary, his musical creations display an unsuspected richness: they contain by no means only polyphonic or church-musical works, but include also instrumental compositions and dramatic works which show that Fux also created compositions in all of the late Baroque styles in the south German and Austrian region, inlcuding works for the church, the chamber, and the theater.
Now for the first time since 1872, when Ludwig Ritter von Köchel published his “Thematic Register of the Compositions of Johann Josef Fux,” the œuvre of the imperial court Kapellmeister is revealed in its totality. For the present register a specific and philologically sound solution was developed to provide an proper appreciation of authorship, conditions of transmission, and principles of organization. This first volume of the Register includes Gradus ad Parnassum and the Fundamentals of Singing, together with the composer’s spiritual and secular dramatic works and also instrumental compositions.
Thomas Hochradner (born in 1963) is Docent for Historical Musicology at the Mozarteum University Salzburg and since 2014 head of the Musicology Department and of the focus group for the Music History of Salzburg. His lectures and publications deal with musical history from the 17th to the 20th centuries.