Johann Joseph Fux

The new edition Johann Joseph Fux – Werke started in 2015 as OeAW long-term project. The critical edition presents a reliable musical text for music research and performance practice alike. Each volume contains a scholarly introduction, literary-historical explanations of the libretti, and a critical report.

Johann Joseph Fux (c. 1660–1741) was a highly influential figure in music history as the author of the theoretical work Gradus ad Parnassum (Vienna 1725). Generations of composers learned the basics of counterpoint according to his method. Until the 20th century, Fux was regarded as a composing theoretician, given that only a few sacred works in the historicising “stile antico” were known.

This simplified image, however, was only formed after his death. For the contemporaries, by contrast, as imperial court chapel master he was the highest-ranking musician in the Holy Roman Empire, whose music contributed significantly to the representation of the Habsburg dynasty. With more than 600 surviving works, covering all the secular and sacred genres of his time, Fux is the most important Austrian Baroque composer. Notwithstanding his humble social background, Fux systematically worked his way up from various engagements as organist and chapel master at St Stephen’s Cathedral and at court, and finally to that of a Hofkapellmeister. In the latter position, as the composer and “manager” of court music, he left his mark on the Viennese, Austrian and Central European music history for over a quarter of a century.

In 2015, the new edition of Johann Joseph Fux – Werke has been installed at the Austrian Academy of Sciences, where the staff unit was formed in 2008. The critical-historical edition very much considers the fact that the Fux transmission is often complex due to a wide range of sources or uncertain chronology. Moreover, there are only a few extant autographs; sometimes the diverse reception history is reflected in multiple recensions. 

The platform  Fux Online offers comprehensive information on the life and work of Johann Joseph Fux. The website provides an overview of digital sources and other materials. Furthermore, there are references and additions to the print edition Johann Joseph Fux – Werke as well as to other editions. The bibliography is constantly updated. A special focus is on performance material (open access) in the series Fux concertato. Thus, concerts with church music and an oratorio in Vienna and especially the opera performances of the styriarte Festival in Graz (2018–23) are realised on the basis of the material prepared at the OeAW, which subsequently shall be made available on Fux Online. A database on the works and the sources of the church music, based in part on the team' s own research, will provide practical musicians and scholars with an overview of the composer' s extensive oeuvre. Current news about Fux reception complete the portal.

The department has a source and microfilm archive, a reference library, as well as scores and recordings. Further research focuses on the life and work of Fux in the dynastic context at the Habsburg court. In addition, the acoustic representation of the edited works through targeted promotion of reception is a further focal point. The research group welcomes all artistic and scholarly questions.