View Full Version : Zelenka manuscripts - lost and found!

18-06-2007, 06:36 AM

in the thread about the Dresden music kept in Russia I mentioned the collection of the Sing Akademie that was returned to Berlin in 2001 from Ukraine after having been lost since WWII.

This huge and incredibly important collection of more than 5000 manuscripts is being catalogued and I have just received the section with Oratorios, Masses, Sacred and Secular Cantatas, Arias and Lieder. It lists the following previously unknown sources:

ZWV 4 Missa Sancti Spiritus - 2 sources, one incomplete
ZWV 7 Missa Paschalis
ZWV 12 Missa Divi Xaverii - 3 sources, all incomplete
ZWV 16 Missa Purificationis - only Cum Sancto Spiritu
ZWV 28 Kyrie d-Moll
ZWV 107 Magnificat
+ Zelenka's arrangement of Sarri's Mass in d-Moll.

Here ZWV 28 Kyrie is unique. The parts are no longer in Dresden so this is the only source, so far.

In addition to this list there is also Cum Sancto Spiritu from ZWV 4, which can be found in the earlier released catalogue section of the Bach sources in the collection. Interestingly, Eitner, in his groundbreaking catalogue of music manuscripts in European libraries (1905), only gives ZWV 57 and ZWV 55, nr. 24 as being a part of the SA collection but these are not to be found here.

This is of course a miracle. As for the Kyrie, it is always such an inspiring moment in the mass (or the litanies/requiems) for Zelenka. He is welcoming us into his house. The different versions come to mind, the grand ZWV 13 with it's majestic trumpets and timpani, ZWV 17 with it's dark, exciting colour and tempo, the short but peaking and relentless ZWV 21, and ZWV 19 with it's brilliant and almost hypnotizing opening, luring one into the most powerful piece of music I have ever heard.

For more about the collection of the Sing Akademie zu Berlin and the circumstances around it's discovery and return I recommend Christian Wolff's (the Bach scholar) excellent video talk which you can watch through the Harvard website: http://athome.harvard.edu/dh/wolff.html - it's an hour well spent. He says a few words about it's founder Carl Friedrich Fasch (1736-1800) and those who've read Jan Stockigt's book will recall the moving story when he as a young man visiting Dresden, heard a mass by Zelenka.

25-06-2007, 02:20 AM
Very interesting lecture, thank you for the link.

Andrew Hinds
25-11-2007, 07:56 PM
It is a wonderful discovery - all that Zelenka choral music in Russia. It is the most thrilling aspect so far for me in being part of this Forum - and there have been three or four other exciting moments!

You may have noticed that I have spotted a reference to Zelenka's keyboard music in the editor's section of Volume 14 of Supraphon's Musica Antiqua Bohemica (Classici Boemici - Piano) where it says that "Zelenka's compositions for the solo instrument, which were compared for their remarkable qualities with Bach's Wohltemperiertes Clavier, have not come down to us". (I've started a separate thread for this but wanted to visit yours!)

Just on the off chance that Russia holds yet another secret, would it be possible for you to make a further enquiry? You had no reason to be looking for keyboard music in your previous contact with Russia. Would it now be possible for you to see if they have any keyboard music that is by Zelenka, please?

Music from the appropriate time by "Anonymous" but recognisable as in one of Zelenka's styles is also worth enquiring about if that is at all feasible.

Perhaps this is a long shot but wouldn't it be splendid if it brought results!

All best wishes,

Andrew Hinds

26-11-2007, 10:37 PM
Dear Andrew,

I guess we all dream about lost and unknown Zelenka works suddenly appearing and who knows what will happen one day. After all, the discovery of a manuscript in Bach's hand he copied as a teenager has just recently surfaced, radically changing our knowledge about his learning and background.

But still we have to be very careful and in this instance I'd like to ask if there is any reference in MAB given to a) Which compositions and b) Who compared them to Bach's? In other words where does this come from? I am sceptical of this information until the source is given. There is no mention of any solo works in the pre WWII literature, that is Furstenau 1862 or Schulze in 1944, nor the ZWV list, and this isn't mentioned in Jan Stockigt's book, nor in any Dresden literature I am aware of, please correct me if I'm wrong.

That is not to say that he didn't write keyboard or solo music, but we simply don't know. Until there are hard sources or facts, we can only fantasise which of course is always good fun.

The publication of the Chamber and Keyboard Music sources from the Sing Akademie collection is scheduled for next year on microfiche, with the catalogue in book form coming later. Regarding the Dresden sources still in Russia, there will certainly be surprises there, anonymous works and the lot, but we'll have to wait patiently until more access is gained, works catalogued etc. This will take years I am afraid.

So I am again careful talking about all this since we don't have anything solid. The cover of the french Zelenka book is one example, how can we believe it is him when there is no source given?

However on a more positive note I might add that in light of my own experience in working the archives, there is still a wealth of information on the lives of the Dresden composers including Zelenka to be discovered and could be just around the corner.

Best wishes,

Andrew Hinds
02-12-2007, 01:33 PM
Dear Johannes,

I share your optimism about information lurking in the archives in Dresden and elsewhere awaiting retrieval.

I have tried to get access to "MAB Zelenka" to follow up your point but the various websites provided by Google will not let me in. I'll go searching if you can tell me how to set about it, please?

Don't talk about the so-called Zelenka picture on the cover of that French book! From Alistair's research, it seems that it is false. I am incensed and I expect that you are too.


03-12-2007, 12:01 PM
Dear Andrew,

I wonder who was the editor for the edition in question and what year this was published? And regarding MAB, perhaps our czech friends here in the forum can make some inquiries? Is it still in operation?

And that picture.. well that's bad I agree and that's why I took it as an example. Another example of wrong/false info that sticks in my mind comes from Oxford's Companion to Baroque Music, a recent 1998 edition. The article about Zelenka says that most of his church music was destroyed in 1945 which of course wasn't the case, but imagine my horror when I read this after having discovered Zelenka and wanted to know everything about him. Most of his church music destroyed! I was devastated. The small article goes on to say that his 9 Orchestral Concertos from 1733 (!) were fashionably inscribed and fared well because they were published (!) during his lifetime and survived in multiple copies. I've often wondered where on earth this fiction came from..