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Fux: Triopartiten / La Gioconda

Fux / Gioconda
Release Date: 04/10/2012 
Label:  Querstand   Catalog #: 1108   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Johann Joseph Fux
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La Gioconda
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 0 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

FUX Trio Partitas, K 319–23, 326 La Gioconda IMPRESSUM VKJK 1108 (60:19)

Several critics before me have lamented the unfair caricature of Johann Joseph Fux (1660–1741) as a dry pedant, based on the fact that he is far better known for his exceptionally influential treatise on counterpoint, Gradum ad Parnassus (Bach owned a copy), than for his compositions. Since none of the previous reviews of Fux CDs in the Read more style="font-style:italic">Fanfare Archive have any biographical treatment of him, that may be as good a way as any to further break the old canard as well as to add to readers’ fund of knowledge.

Fux was born to a peasant family in Hirtenfeld, a village in the Austrian province of Styria. Virtually nothing is known of his youth, but it seems likely that he received his higher education at the Jesuit university in nearby Graz. From 1685 to 1688 he served as organist of St. Moritz Church in Ingolstadt. He may also have made a trip to Italy; works of his dated to this time show a strong influence from the compositions of Corelli. Sometime during the early 1690s he moved to Vienna, where some Masses he composed attracted the attention of Habsburg Emperor Leopold I, who appointed him court composer in 1698. Fux remained in the employ of the imperial court for the remainder of his life, subsequently serving under Joseph I and Charles VI; the Gradum ad Parnassum was dedicated to the latter when it was published in 1725. In 1700 Fux made a trip to Rome, where it is presumed he gained the knowledge and veneration of the music of Palestrina and late-Renaissance counterpoint that is reflected throughout his literary magnum opus . He wrote a large quantity of music in all genres—sacred works, operas, and instrumental music—but most of it still remains unpublished.

Currently there are about 15 CDs in print dedicated solely to the music of Fux. In Fanfare 35:4 Robert Maxhan reviewed another recording of the works performed here, on the Challenge label with violinist Gunar Letzbor and Ars Antiqua Austria. That disc included two pieces not present on this release, K 331 and E 64. (Brian Robins neatly covered the different cataloging systems for Fux’s compositions in a review of a Freiburg Baroque Orchestra disc in 30:5.) Since Maxham discussed all the works in considerable detail, I will not duplicate his excellent efforts. The realization of the works there is very different than that offered here, as a lute and percussion instruments are added where needed. The playing on both discs is excellent, though the instrumental sound of La Gioconda (an Austrian female quartet) is perhaps a little more sweet and soft-grained. Since both discs sell for the same price, and the Challenge disc contains more music, that should be the first choice of anyone who wants only one recording of these pieces. But if you have money, space, and an appetite for more than one, you can’t go wrong with this disc either.

FANFARE: James A. Altena
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Works on This Recording

Sonata da chiesa, for 2 recorders (or flutes) & continuo, K. 320 by Johann Joseph Fux
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La Gioconda
Period: Baroque 
Venue:  Kartause Mauerbach, Austria 
Length: 9 Minutes 43 Secs. 
Partita a 3 in C major, K 323 by Johann Joseph Fux
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La Gioconda
Venue:  Kartause Mauerbach, Austria 
Length: 8 Minutes 34 Secs. 
Partita a 3 in D Minor, K 322 by Johann Joseph Fux
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La Gioconda
Venue:  Kartause Mauerbach, Austria 
Length: 13 Minutes 34 Secs. 
Partita a 3, K 319 by Johann Joseph Fux
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La Gioconda
Venue:  Kartause Mauerbach, Austria 
Length: 7 Minutes 15 Secs. 
Partita a 3 in D major, K 326 by Johann Joseph Fux
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La Gioconda
Venue:  Kartause Mauerbach, Austria 
Length: 14 Minutes 27 Secs. 
Triopartita in G-Dur, K 321: Rondeau by Johann Joseph Fux
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La Gioconda
Venue:  Kartause Mauerbach, Austria 
Length: 3 Minutes 53 Secs. 

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