Most of the published works of Anton Filtz appeared posthumously, when his music became fashionable in Paris and elsewhere. He was a most prolific Mannheim Symphonist, having composed sixty symphonies (e.g. six symphonies à 4 parties op. 1), many trio sonatas and solo (mainly cello, flute, violin) sonatas and various concertos; further some Masses.
One of his works, a Concerto for Violoncello and Orchestra in G major, is recorded by the Camerata Bern, directed by Thomas Füri, with orchestral compositons by five of his colleagues in the Mannheim School, on “Die Mannheimer Schule — Music of the Early Classical Era” (Archiv, catalogue no. 2723 068).
Anton’s father was apparently also a cellist at Eichstätt (a prince-bishopric bordering, later in, Bavaria) and probably was his first music instructor. In 1754 Johann gained a position as second cellist in the Palatine Electorate (Kurpfalz)’s court orchestra, then Germany’s finest, commonly known after its residence as the Mannheim Orchestra, also the focal point of the so-called Mannheim School (qv). He studied further (probably counterpoint and harmony) with Johann Stamitz (qv), remaining at Mannheim until his death, aged twenty-six, and burial there.
A 19th Century dictionary quotes one of the legends arising from Fils’ early death and the lack of information about his life: alledgedly he died from his habit of eating spiders, assuring his shocked contemporaries they tasted just like strawberries.