Despite a tragically short life, Baroque composer Anton Fils was incredibly prolific, leaving behind 30 concertos – mostly for cello and flute – as well as at least 34 symphonies, chamber music, various compositions for cello, and a certain creepy-crawly secret…

Fils was born in 1733 in Eichstätt, where his father – and his primary teacher – was a cellist at court. Fils diligently studied law and theology and at the age of 20 he was appointed cellist to the electoral court at Mannheim, joining the orchestra then led by Johann Stamitz. The title page of Fils’s Opus 3 trio sonatas, published in 1760, describes him as a disciple of Stamitz, suggesting that he studied composition with the older composer. Records show that Fils married Elisabeth Range in 1757 and the loved-up pair had a child that same year. The couple bought a house in 1759 but alas, by the following year the composer was dead at the age of 26. His First Symphony was published four months later.

Despite his premature demise, Fils became an important figure in the second generation of the so-called Mannheim school renowned for its virtuosity, innovations in symphonic writing and its dramatic tutti crescendo –...

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