... czech and slovak music guide ...

Fratinsek Xaver Brixi

born: 1732-01-02
died: 1771-11-14
birthplace: Praha
diedplace: Praha

one of the most important Czech composers of the 18th century. Son of the famed Prague Organist and composer Simon Brixi. In the age of 5, however, his father died. Mother was related to Bendas, another famous Czech musical family. In 1744-1746 he studied at the piaristic music-oriented college in Kosmonosy (close to Mlada Boleslav). After finishing studies, he played organs in several churches of Prague (also St. Nicholas at Mala Strana). He soon became a reputable and hardworking composer. An evidence of that are numerous compositions played between 1758-1771 every year on midsummer night celebrations held on the boats close to Charles Bridge. In 1959 he became the bandmaster at St. Vitus Cathedral which was the most prestigious musical position in Prague. He remained in the position until he died in 1771. As a composer he became famous abroad. He was one of the most played authors of church music in Poland, Austria and Germany. The jesuit monks of Munich ordered music for spiritual dramas from him for several years. Copies of 167 of his works are stored in the cistercian monastery in Ottobeuren.

Brixi's music partly comes from the baroque pathos and polyphony but it brings new elements characteristic for the starting period of classicism: brightness of the expression, brisk rhythmical feeling and elaborate structure, attractive melodies sometimes influenced by traditional music. His compositions were full of internal tension, combining various rhhythmical structures, irregularities and complex harmonies. His techiques were a source of inspiration for the young W.A.Mozart. Brixi had composed an enormous number of compositions, mostly spiritual (over 100 masses, 263 hymns,motets and offertoriums, 5 requiems, psalms, arias,christmas pastorales, cantatas, oratorios, 5 organ or cembalo concertos, chamber and organ compositions). In Bohemia as well as many other European countries his compositions were played more often than any other author's in the second halfo of 18th century.

Work: (Selected works)
  • Missa integra d moll
  • Opus patheticum de septem doloribus Beatae Marae Virginis
  • Concerto in D major
  • Judas Iscariothes - Oratorium pro die sacro Parasceves
  • Missa solemnis D dur - mass for solos, choir, orchestra and organ
  • Litanie de seto Benedieto
  • Confiteor Tibi Domine
  • Sinfonia in D
  • Battle sinfonia
  • Fuga in A minor
  • Pastorale in C major
  • Preludium C Dur
  • Regina coeli


CVs online (Czech only)
Mala encyklopedie hudby (book by dr. Jar. Smolka; &kolektiv, Supraphon 1983)
Kniha o hudbě (book by V.Holzknecht a kol., Orbis 1964)


Fugue in D Major (MP3) (Jirina Pokorna organ, CD Czech Organ Music, Music Vars 1997)

Last update 2012-07-03