Charles Luython: Fuga suavissima#
Like many other musicians at Hapsburg courts in this period, Charles
Luython (1557/58 Antwerp - 1620 Prague) came from the Low Countries. He
served Maximilian II and then Rudolf II starting in 1570 first as a boy
singer, then as a chamber musician and finally as court organist.
Luython died in poverty because Rudolf's successor, Emperor Matthias,
never paid him the pesion that had been promised to him. As a result,
he was forced to sell his famous harpsichord which had special keys for
sharps and flats as well as a moveable keyboard. Luython's Fuga
suavissima for four voices has three parts, each of which is based on a
new theme. His treatment of the fugue is masterful but he only
introduces virtuoso figurations in the closing sections of each part.
The illustration shows Rudolf II. (E. Stadler)