The Czech composer Antonin Rejcha (also Anton Reicha, 1770–1836) was famous as both an experimental composer and as a teacher and theorist. His “36 Fugues for Piano” testify to this experimentalism; they can be seen as a type of
“Well-Tempered Piano of the new ages”, basing the traditional Baroque fugue on radical new fundaments.
The first edition of this unusual collection was produced in 1803 in Vienna by Reicha’s own publishing company “Au Magasin de l’Imprimerie chimique”. It included both a dedication poem to Joseph Haydn and a comprehensive foreword in which Reicha identifies the characteristics of his compositional style. The second edition (Vienna 1805) included a short theoretical text “Über das neue Fugensystem” (“On the new fugal system”) in the form of a polemic, reacting to his critics, one of whom was Beethoven. Six fugues are based on the themes of other composers (Haydn, Bach, Mozart, Scarlatti, Frescobaldi, Handel).
The musical text is a corrected reprint of the edition by Václav Jan Skora from 1973, which itself was based on the referred to edition from 1805 as well as on the later edition by Tobias Haslinger (Vienna, c. 1828).