View Full Version : Prohibitive costs of hiring scores

18-03-2006, 10:10 AM
With a performance of Missa Dei Filii in Glasgow (UK) this evening, a Zelenka evening with Heinz Holliger and friends on 8th April (Lucerne), a performance of Missa Omnium Sanctorum in Exmouth (UK) in May, and a performance of the Miserere in Hoorn (the Netherlands) in September, the Zelenka revival seems to be gaining momentum.

One serious concern, which several correspondents to the Discover Zelenka website have expressed, is the very high cost of hiring performance material from the existing publishers. This is a potential stumbling block to performance of Zelenka material, as concerts have to break even or turn in a profit.

Does anyone have any bright ideas as to how this problem can be solved in a legal fashion?

Shaun Wigley
01-10-2006, 02:25 AM
Hi Alistair,

Perhaps an online public domain library similar to the Choral Public Domain Library (see www.cpdl.org) could be established on this site. You can currently download Zelenka's Laudate Dominum ZWV 87 from this site.

If you are able to place more scans of Zelenka's manuscripts on the webpage maybe a few of us (with permission first sought from the Sächsische Landesbibliothek) could band together and typeset a number of works into Sibelius etc. Sure, works like the Missa Dei Filli are large works but if several of us work on them, and we do a movement or two each, then it may not take that much time.


Shaun Wigley

02-10-2006, 09:41 AM
Hi Shaun,

Great to hear from you again. I think your suggestion has a great deal of merit, but there are complications:

1. Many of Zelenka's big works (e.g. the final masses) have already been published by world-renowned German publishers, and there might be copyright issues. I am not sure whether they own all the rights to copying/transcription/printing of these works. Perhaps someone can tell us.

2. The music department of SLUB in Dresden photographs (not scans) the individual pages and charges per page. One is not allowed to photograph individual manuscripts oneself. Thus, if this was done in bulk, someone (I?) would have to fork out a whole lot of money - which of course everyone else could gain from.

3. The head of the music department of SLUB is a very busy man and is not always communicative. I am busy trying to organize more manuscript pages for the Discover Zelenka website, but I don't know yet if it will happen.

By the way, the link to CPDL is www.cpdl.org

My question back to you would be: if one Zelenka work can land on CPDL, why can't others? What is it that determines whether a work can be included in that database of sheet music? Is it only unpublished works?

Shaun Wigley
02-10-2006, 02:46 PM
Hi Alistair,

The Laudate Dominum ZWV 87 is already a published work, in fact I have it in front of me now! :) (Editio Supraphon, Thesaurus Musicae Bohemiae Seria B, 1999, pp 135-155)

My gut feeling is that these large publishers own the copyright only for their editions and not the manuscripts themselves. The copyright of the manuscripts is with the SLUB. This is only my gut feeling so I might be wrong as I'm no expert at copyright law.

I have two Zelenka manuscripts at home from SLUB from my undergraduate studies, the Concerto a 8 Concertanti ZWV 186 (Photocopy) and the Sinfonia to the oratorio Gesu al Calvario ZWV 62 (Microfilm).

If you like, I may be able to forward you a copy of the Concerto for you to put on this site but I would first need to seek permission from SLUB before this can occur.


Shaun Wigley

03-10-2006, 07:01 AM
I don't know what the law in Germany states about old material being in the "public domain". It would be great if someone out there could enlighten us on the subject.

Shaun Wigley
07-01-2007, 07:47 AM
Hi all,

Another concern that I have is the lack of piano reductions available for Zelenka's works. For example, to the best of my knowledge, there is no piano reduction of the Lamentationes pro hebdomada sancta ZWV 53. If there were more piano reductions available, we might begin to hear movements from Zelenka's vocal works being performed at university student recitals. Furthermore, choirs that cannot afford the services of an orchestra will then be able to perform movements from Zelenka's choral music with piano accompliment.



Steven Loy
01-04-2007, 01:47 AM
Hello Everyone!

My first post. Has been a pleasure reading everyone else's extremely enlightening posts on this amazing composer.

An internet library for scores is a great idea, some already exist:

as well as the already mentioned CPDL.org

All of the music available on these sites is entered into music engraving software by volunteers. For potential performers, after the initial euphoria of getting music free and easily the disadvantage is that one never knows how reliable the edition is, and often they are filled with mistakes.

As far as I know, copyright law in Europe extends for 75 years after the death of the composer, in the US and other countries 90 years. Zelenka of course falls into the public domain. What is copyrighted of his are the published editions, so it is illegal to use a printed edition (either old or currently in print, if it falls in the "75-90" copyright range) and re-input the music into music engraving software since the source is legally protected. I do not recommend this at all, but it is true that sometimes it is difficult to prove something was copied from a particular printed edition. With Zelenka, however, it may be trickier since so few editions exist of his music - tracing the source of something might not be hard, exposing the perpetrator to prosecution for copyright infringement. Putting it up on the internet for all to see 24 hours a day also makes it easier to find. I have to restate firmly that this is illegal and do not recommend this.

A legal route is to do transcriptions from printed editions which fall outside copyright protection (so, in Europe, editions of Zelenka's music published before 1932 - is there anything?) or from autographs (or facsimiles, scans, photos of autographs - none of which are protected from such transcription). This is ideal, however a good scholarly eye and a lot of knowledge is needed to decipher all the information in a manuscript. I haven't seen a Zelenka autograph, so I don't know how messy his handwriting was, but sometimes this can be really challenging.

Having said that, I do know that some facsimile editions are not as expensive or as daunting as one would think ( a great source is http://www.omifacsimiles.com although I haven't found any Zelenka in their catalogues).

Personally, if somebody finds a legal source, I am happy to volunteer to input something into Sibelius.

Greetings to everyone, and another huge thank you to Alistair for his dedication to this site.