Fux: Oratorium Germanicum De Passione
Label: PAN CLASSICS
St Florian Boys' Choir; Ars Antiqua Austria; Gunar Letzbor, direction
Johann Joseph Fux (1660-1741)
The Oratorium Germanicum de Passione, composed in 1731, is the only oratorio in the German language by the Viennese court composer Johann Joseph Fux. The work was long considered lost; aside from a handwritten textbook in Kremsmünster Abbey, no other sources appeared to have been preserved. In 2004, a score from Ottobeuren Abbey incorrectly attributed to Antonio Caldara could be identified as identical to the Fux oratorio believed to have been lost; this work has now been recorded for the first time by Gunar Letzbor, his Ensemble Ars Antiqua Austria and soloists of the St. Florian Boys' Choir. The ancient myth of Andromeda and Perseus is interpreted by the librettist Heinrich Rademin as an allegory of the Passion of Christ: the daughter (Andromeda) must make atonement for the guilt of her mother (Cassiopeia); she is ultimately freed by Perseus and taken as his wife. In the Christian interpretation, this signifies the forgiveness of original sin through the death of Jesus Christ and his marriage with the human soul, to which the final chorus refers in all clarity. Fux’s oratorio, which can probably be regarded as one of the master's final compositions, is truly state of the art. This elaborate work offers convincing proof, once again, that its creator was probably one of the best contrapuntists of his time.