Faà di Bruno, Giovanni Matteo [Horatio, Orazio] 83

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Filothei, Sân Agǎi Jipei

(b Mârşa-Ilfov, 1670; d Bucharest, 1726). Romanian composer and singer. He was educated at the School of Deacon Teodosie in Bucharest, and then at Áyion Óros (Mt Athos), studying theology, music and Greek. He led a monastic life in Snagov, Bucharest and Târgovişte, becoming a leading authority on Byzantine church music and an avid proponent of singing sacred music in the Romanian language, to which purpose he translated several Greek books. His principal work is the Psaltichia rumǎneascǎ [Romanian psalter] (MS, 1713, in Bucharest, Biblioteca Academici Romǎnia); its 1193 settings constitute almost the entire canon of religious songs translated into Romanian from Greek. Among Filothei’s other works are Rugǎciunea lui Filothei pentru Constantin Brâncoveanu [Filothei’s prayer for Constantin Brâncoveanu] and Canonul Floriilor [Canon of the flowers]. His work represents the keystone in the Romanianization of the nascent religious music of his time.


C. Erbiceanu: ‘Întâia carte de cântǎri bisericeşti în româneşte cunoscutǎ pânǎ acuma’ [The first known hymnbook in Romanian], Biserica Ortodoxǎ Românǎ [The Romanian Orthodox Church], xxi/3 (1897)

S. Barbu-Bucur: ‘Filothei, Sin Agǎi Jipei’, ibid., lxxxvii (1969), 1066–75

L.O. Cosma: Hronicul muzicii româneşti [History of Romanian music] (Bucharest, 1973)


Fils [Filtz, Filz], (Johann) Anton

(b Eichstätt, bap. 22 Sept 1733; d Mannheim, bur. 14 March 1760). German composer and cellist. Long thought to be of Bohemian origin, despite Marpurg's designation of him in 1756 as ‘from Bavaria’, he was found in the 1960s to have been born in Eichstätt, where his father, Johann Georg Fils, was a cellist at the prince-bishop's court from 1732 until his death in 1749. At both Eichstätt and later at Mannheim the surname is consistently spelt ‘Fils’, though ‘Filtz’ predominates in prints of his music. His principal teacher was his father. He attended the local Gymnasium in Eichstätt and in November 1753 appeared on the rolls of the University of Ingolstadt as a student of law and theology.

On 15 May 1754 Fils was appointed cellist to the electoral court at Mannheim at a salary of 300 gulden, retroactive to 1 February of that year. There he may have studied composition with Johann Stamitz; he is described as a ‘dissepolo’ of the older composer on the title page of his trio sonatas op.3 (1760). In February 1757 Fils married Elisabeth Range. The couple had at least one child, a daughter born in October 1757, and they bought a house in October 1759, by which time Fils's salary had risen to 450 gulden. His early death in 1760 at the age of 26 led not only to comparisons with Pergolesi but also to conflicting accounts of his death, the strangest being C.F.D. Schubart's statement that he died ‘as a result of his bizarre notion of eating spiders’.

Fils was extraordinarily prolific, leaving substantial bodies of orchestral, chamber, and sacred music. He is best known for his symphonies, which number at least 34. His first publication, the symphonies a 4 op.1, appeared in Paris in late 1759 or early 1760, and was soon followed by the symphonies opp.2 and 5 and an extended series published individually and in anthologies. Fils also composed some 30 concertos, primarily for cello and flute, of which only about half have survived. His chamber music, most of it published in Paris, spans a variety of genres, often featuring obbligato cello.

No autographs of Fils’s music have been identified with certainty, though the Cello Concerto in B (D-Bsb), copied at Mannheim, makes a plausible candidate. None of Fils's works can be dated with certainty, but it seems likely that at least a few of the cello concertos date from before his arrival in Mannheim, and the advanced idiom of his best-known symphonies implies a date in the late 1750s. Both the style of the latter works and the discovery that Fils was born in 1733 – two years after Christian Cannabich and Joseph Toeschi – link him with these and other composers of the so-called second generation of Mannheim composers, all students of Johann Stamitz and strongly influenced by Italian opera composers of the Galuppi-Jommelli generation. Such influence is seen in Fils's predilection for prominently placed crescendo passages, simplicity of texture, long pedal points, slow harmonic rhythm, use of stock melodic figures like the turn and sigh, and frequent omission of double bars and repeat signs. Other, more individual traits of Fils's symphonic style include cultivation of the woodwind and horns and a fondness for uneven phrase lengths and folk-like melodic materials. About 60% of the symphonies are in four movements. In his fast movements Fils is somewhat more likely than his contemporaries at Mannheim to use recapitulations that begin with the primary rather than the secondary theme, possibly reflecting Italian formal models or his Bavarian heritage. The style of Fils's concertos ranges from a fairly conservative late Baroque or pre-Classical idiom to a fully Classical one reminiscent of his later symphonies. The form of the fast movements is the standard one at Mannheim of four ritornellos framing three solo sections, the last solo section generally serving as a recapitulation. Notable in the cello concertos is the exceptional virtuosity of the solo parts, which demand great facility and range; these parts provide the only evidence of Fils's abilities as a performer.

Opinions about Fils's music after his death were divided. Conservative critics complained that his instrumental music was superficial and presented an incomprehensible mixture of serious and comic styles. More positive was the opinion of writers such as the Romantic C.F.D. Schubart, who eulogized him as follows:

His spirit and his works … have long made him immortal. I consider him the best composer of symphonies who ever lived. Splendour, sonority, the powerful, overwhelming rush and rage of the harmonic torrent; novelty in his ideas and transitions [Wendungen]; his inimitable pomposo, his inventive Andantes, his ingratiating minuets and trios, and finally his fleet, jubilant Prestos … have assured him universal admiration even to the present day.


printed works published in Paris unless otherwise stated

Syms. [thematic catalogue in DTB, iv, Jg.iii/1 (1902), and xiii, Jg.vii/2 (1906)]: 6 as op.1 (1759–60), 1 ed. D. Townsend (New York, 1987); 5 as op.2 (1760) [no.3 is by J.C. Bach], ed. in MAB, xciv (1960), 2 ed. in DTB, iv, Jg.iii/1 (1902); 6 as op.5 (1763); 7 pubd separately (1760–63) [1 lost, but MS in D-Mbs], 2 ed. in DTB, iv, Jg.iii/1 (1902), and xiii, Jg.vii/2 (1906), 2 ed. in The Symphony 1720–1840, ser. C, iv (New York, 1983), 1 ed. A. Carse (London, 1937); 4 pubd in anthologies (1761–2) [incl. 2 also pubd separately], 1 ed. in TCMS, i (1990); 6 in MS, CH-Bu, D-BE, DO, HR, Rtt, US-Wc; 3 others, doubtful, CZ-Pnm, D-RH, S-Skma; 10 others (incl. 2 partitas) of questionable authenticity known only from 18th-century thematic catalogues

Concs.: 1 for vc (London, n.d.), arr. kbd (London, 1774); 6 for vc, A-Wgm, SEI, D-Bsb, Eu, 1 ed. H. Klug (Wiesbaden, 1971); 1 for fl in 2 concerti … composti dal Signor Filtz & Bauer Smitch [Bauerschmidt], op.2 (n.d.), ed. in MAB, xviii (1954); 1 for fl (London, c1775 [attrib. Vanhal]), ed. in EDM, 1st ser., li (1964); 4 for fl, D-Bsb, KA, Rtt; ?1 for fl, attrib. to Fils in Breitkopf catalogue, to Toeschi in BFb; 1 for ob, Rtt; 13 lost concs. listed in Breitkopf catalogues: 1 for vn, 5 for vc, 4 for fl, 1 each for ob, hn, hpd

Chbr [thematic catalogue in DTB, xxviii, Jg.xvi (1915)]: 6 sonate a 3, 2 vn, b, op.3 (1760), 1 ed. in DTB, xxviii, Jg.xvi (1915); 6 sonates en trio, hpd, vn, b, [op. 4] (1763), 1 ed. in DTB, xxviii, Jg.xvi (1915); [3] sonates, vc/vn, bc, op.5 (1763), facs. (Béziers, 1990); 6 sonates en trio, fl, vn, b, op.6 (1764); 6 sonata da camera, vc, fl/vn, b (1762 or before), nos. 1–5 ed. N. Pyron and P. Foster (London, 1983–6); qt for fl, vn, va, b, pubd as Simphonia, no.6 (1764); 6 sonatas, 2 fl, vc, bc, op.2 (London, c1775); Trio for vc, vn, b, Duetto for vn, vc, Sonata for vc, b, Bsb; 6 trios, 2 vn, b, op. posth. (1768), lost; 6 trios for fl, vn, b listed in Breitkopf catalogue [4 lost, 2 attrib. elsewhere to Stamitz]

Vocal [thematic catalogue in DTB, new ser., ii (1982)]: 2 masses, A-Wm, CZ-Pnm, Bm, D-Bsb, BAR, DS, FRu, LEm, MÜs, TRb, I-Fc; 5 masses, 1 mass frag. of questionable authenticity, CZ-Pnm, D-Fru, MÜs; Cantata pastoralis, F; Veni sancte spiritus (off), EB; Dixit Dominus and Magnificat, 5 vesper psalms and Magnificat, Litaniae Lauretanae, CZ-Pnm; ?Litaniae, D-MÜs; Salve regina, Mbs; Cant., 2 S, F



C.F.D. Schubart: Ideen zu einer Ästhetik der Tonkunst (Vienna, 1806/R)

R. Sondheimer: Die Theorie der Sinfonie und die Beurteilung einzelner Sinfoniekomponisten bei den Musikschriftstellern des 18. Jahrhunderts (Leipzig, 1925)

R. Münster: ‘Vier Musiker der Mannheimer Schule’, Musica, xiv (1960), 488–91

R. Fuhrmann: Mannheimer Klavier-Kammermusik (Marburg, 1963)

W. Lebermann: ‘Biographische Notizen über Johann Anton Fils, Johann Anton Stamitz, Carl Joseph und Johann Baptist Toeschi’, Mf, xix (1966), 40–41

P. Vít: ‘Kompositionsprinzipien der Sinfonien des Anton Fils’, SPFFBu, H7 (1972), 43–52

E.K. Wolf: The Symphonies of Johann Stamitz: a Study in the Formation of the Classic Style (Utrecht, 1981)

H. Holzbauer, ed.: Johann Anton Fils (1733–1760): ein Eichstätter Komponist der Mannheimer Klassik (Tutzing, 1983)

C.M. Lewis: The Cello Concertos of Anton Fils (1733–1760): a Critical Study and Transcription (thesis, RNCM, 1983)

H. Unverricht: ‘Johann Anton Fils (1733–1760), der angebliche Böhme aus Eichstätt: seine Bedeutung in Wissenschaft und Praxis’, Musik des Ostens, x (1986), 57–67


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