(b c1540; d Munich, 1603). Flemish composer, active in Germany. The name suggests that he was a native of Fosses (in the province of Namur), a small town dependent on the principality of Liège. When he copied Guyot’s Te Deum he stated explicitly that he had been his pupil; he may well have studied under him at Liège for Guyot was choirmaster of St Paul there from 1546 to 1554 and of the cathedral from 1558 to 1563. Several musicians with the name ‘de Fossa’ figure in the archives at Liège; none, however, is called Johannes. A Johannes de Fossa is nevertheless mentioned in a letter from Duke Philibert of Savoy dated 12 January 1557. The first precise information known about Fossa is that in 1569 he was appointed second Kapellmeister at the Munich court. In 1571 he became master of the choristers and continued in the service of the Dukes of Bavaria until his death. After the death of Lassus in 1594 Fossa took responsibility for the chapel music and in 1597 he was given the official title of first Kapellmeister. On his retirement in 1602 he was succeeded by Ferdinand de Lassus, eldest son of Orlande.
Proske noted that in his compositions Fossa was influenced by Lassus, as one might expect, though not lacking a style and charm of his own.
Edition: Johannes de Fossa: Collected Works, ed. E.M. Ennulat, RRMR, xxviii–xxix (1978)
all MSS in D-Mbs
6 masses, 4, 5vv
3 antiphonae ante et post processionum dominica psalmarum, 4vv
Vidi aquam, 4vv
2 litaniae BVM, 4vv
Magnificat II modi ‘Vivre ne puis sur terre’, 6vv, after Antonius Galli’s 6vv chanson
(b Genoa; fl 1628). Italian composer. He is known only by his Arie ad una et a più voci with continuo (Naples, 1628). In a verbose dedication and preface he said that he was still a young man and that he and his family had enjoyed the favour of the father of the dedicatee, G.B. Serra, Prince of Carovigno (which is near Brindisi). The book contains 25 pieces (which he said had been circulating for some time and been performed to great applause), including 15 trios, partite for two voices over the Ruggiero and romanesca, and an ‘aria variata’ for solo voice.
E.Hilmar: ‘Ergänzungen zu Emil Vogels “Bibliothek der gedruckten weltlichen Vocalmusik Italiens, aus den Jahren (1500–1700)”’, AnMc, no.4 (1967), 154–206, esp. 186
(b Chicago, 23 June 1927; d Washington DC, 23 Sept 1987). American choreographer, director and dancer. He made his professional début at 13, tap-dancing in vaudeville and burlesque houses; at 15 he choreographed fan dancers in a night club act. These experiences influenced his later work far more than the conventional dance training he had received as a child. After dancing in the Broadway revue Dance me a Song (1950), Fosse made several appearances in Hollywood musicals, most notably in Kiss Me, Kate (1953), before being invited by George Abbott to choreograph The Pajama Game (1954), which established Fosse as Broadway’s most sought-after stager. In the hit number ‘Steam Heat’ he deployed many of the features that would become his trademark: a small group of dancers in abstract costumes, frequently using hats, and performing tight, angular steps in a vigorous, acrobatic combination. He abandoned the fluid lines of the ballet-influenced tradition of Broadway dancing for a jerky style which flaunted itself with pelvic movements and an overt sexuality. The hit shows Damn Yankees (1955), Bells Are Ringing (1956) and New Girl in Town (1957) consolidated Fosse’s reputation, and in 1959 he directed the musical Redhead, after which he rarely choreographed without the overall control which directing gave him.
His greatest success came with Sweet Charity in 1966, conceived as a vehicle for Gwen Verdon, then his wife. More than in any other dance musical a character was explored through choreography. His subsequent successes, Pippin (1972) and Chicago (1975), were triumphs of his ingenuity over mediocre material. Although his cinematic version of Sweet Charity (1968) was a disappointment, his devotion to the sleazier side of show business made him the ideal interpreter of Kander and Ebb’s Cabaret (1972), for which he won an Academy Award. His only other musical film, All That Jazz (1979), was a bizarrely accurate prediction of the circumstances surrounding his own death. Fosse’s last success in the theatre, Dancin’ (1978), was essentially a dance revue with no book or new score, and demonstrated his growing inability, or unwillingness, to collaborate.
K.Boyd Grubb: Razzle Dazzle: the Life and Work of Bob Fosse (New York, 1989)
M.Beddow: Bob Fosse’s Broadway (Portsmouth, NH, 1996)