Historical (Rare) Recordings

Historical (Rare) Recordings


The uniqueness of Zelenka's music means that it will live on as long as there are people in this world who take pleasure in the quest for the unheard and the unheard-of. (Wolfgang Horn)


First German Recording of Zelenka's Church Music (1979)

The first-ever German recording of Zelenka's religious music, on the Carus label. The master tape was analogue and modern instruments were used. This recording was only issued in LP form (cat. no. FSM 63 108).

Ute Fruhhaber (S),
Dorothea Brinkmann (A),
Alejandro Ramirez (T),
Hanns-Friedrich Kunz (B),

Marburger Bachchor,
Hessisches Bach-Collegium
conducted by Wolfram Wehnert.

Psalmen (ZWV 83, ZWV 72, & ZWV 75), Magnificat (ZWV 108)

First Recording of a Zelenka Mass (1981)

The first-ever recording of a Zelenka mass, on the Carus label. The master tape was analogue and modern instruments were used. This recording was only issued in LP form (cat. no. 53.126/7).

The fact that Carus-Verlag has since issued another version by Frieder Bernius on period instruments probably means that the first recording will never be re-released. Very collectable, not only for vinyl freaks!

Barbara Martig-Tuller (S),
Mechthild Georg (A),
Karl Jerolitsch (T),
Albrech Ostertag (B),

Marburger Bachchor,
Hessisches Bach-Collegium
conducted by Wolfram Wehnert.

Missa Dei Patris (ZWV 19)

Second Recording of a Zelenka Mass (1982)

The second-ever recording of a Zelenka mass, on the Swiss Pan label (cat. no. 10013). The master tape was analogue and modern instruments were used.

There were 1,514 LPs made altogether, in three batches (January 1983, February 1984 and March 1985). There was also a CD issue (1,097 examples altogether in two batches: January 1987 and February 1990).

Helga Spatzek (S),
Clara Wirz (A),
Rudolf Leuenberger (T),
Arthur Loosli (B),

Thurgauer Kammerchor,
Thurgauer Barockensemble
conducted by Raimund Ruegge.

Missa Circumcisionis (ZWV 11)

First Belgian recording of Zelenka's Church Music (1982)

This recording from June 1981 was an early encounter between Paul Dombrecht and Zelenka's music. Among other Zelenka works, he later recorded De Profundis with Il Fondamento.

Bernadette Degelin (S),
David James (CT),
Jan Caals (T),
Marc Meersman (Bar),
Kurt Widmer, Palle Fuhr Jörgensen (B),

Paul Dombrecht (Ob),

Westlaams Vocaal Ensemble
Musica Polyphonica
conducted by Louis Devos.

Magnificat (ZWV 108), De profundis (ZWV 50), Lamentatio I (ZWV 53), In Exitu Israel (ZWV 83)

An American recording well ahead of its time (1960s)

Even before the recordings of Heinz Holliger and friends of Zelenka's trio sonatas and orchestral music in the 1970s, Newell Jenkins and his orchestra had introduced the American record-buying public to 2 orchestral pieces (ZWV 184 and ZWV 189) on this surprisingly well-played and superb-sounding Decca LP (stereo cat. no. DL 710141), Music for the Saxon Court. This man was a graduate from Yale Music School who had previously studied in Germany. Apart from touring Europe for several years with his own chamber orchestra, he was - not surprisingly - a musicologist. Sadly and ironically, this is one of the very few Zelenka recordings to be produced in the US. Well worth seeking out!

The Clarion Concerts Orchestra
conducted by Newell Jenkins.

Capriccio (ZWV 184), Sinfonie à 8 Concertanti (ZWV 189)

The first Czech recording of a Zelenka piece? (Early 1960s)

This LP from France on the A. Charlin label was issued with two different covers, the one shown here and one in black and gold (both with cat. no. CL 43). It was recorded in stereo in the Rudolfinum in Prague. Vaclav Smetacek was a very early proponent of Zelenka's music. A very refreshing interpretation, and perhaps not as dated as one might expect!

Prague Symphony Orchestra FOK
conducted by Vaclav Smetacek.

Suite en Fa Majeur (Ouverture à 7 Concertanti) (ZWV 188) together with a work by Rejcha.