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Xanaseb
01-08-2015, 06:07 PM
Period ensemble, Spiritato!, and Barts Chamber Choir are performing a wide-ranging and colourful Zelenka programme this Autumn, promoted by Bury Court Opera.
The dates are: Tuesday 20th October at St. John's Smith Square, London, and Sunday 1st November at Bury Court Barn, Bentley, Hampshire.

Here's the concert music list:
ZWV 212, Trumpet fanfare I
ZWV 61, Il Serpente di Bronzo - Opening and closing Coro
ZWV 181, Trio Sonata No.3 in B-flat major
BWV 50, Nun ist das Heil und die Kraft
ZWV 177, Il Diamante - Sinfonia, Terra's Recitative and Arias 2 and 3
ZWV 212, Trumpet fanfare II
ZWV 20, Missa Dei Filii

Eliana Pretorian is singing solo soprano, Magid El-Bushra, counter-tenor/alto, and bass & tenor solos will be taken from members of Barts Chamber Choir. Julian Perkins, harpsichordist and conductor, is directing the concerts.

The selection of pieces is quite impressive, and showcases Zelenka's joyous energy and style. I am looking very much forward to coming to the Bury Court date myself.
I hope others here might be able to come along to one of the concerts too! :)

Info & tickets: http://burycourtopera.org/events/
London link: http://www.sjss.org.uk/events/bury-court-opera

Links for:
Spiritato! - www.spiritato.co.uk
Barts Chamber - http://www.bartschoir.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=34&Itemid=152
Julian Perkins - www.julianperkins.com

All the best,

Sebastian

Rik1
18-08-2015, 07:29 PM
By extraordinary coincidence, another London group is performing the Sinfonia from Il Diamante as well in October.

The concert is Sunday 4th October at St' Peter's Church, Belsize Park.

Baroque Boom & Bust

Zelenka - Il Diamante
JS Bach - Concerto for 3 violins in D
JS Bach - Sinfonia in F BWV 1046a
Telemann - La Bourse Ouverture

Sounds like a bit of a Zelenka jamboree in London during October.

Further info here (http://www.bbosl.net/bbsite/?page_id=58)

Xanaseb
16-10-2015, 01:57 PM
Just a reminder for the two soon-to-be concerts with Bury Court Opera:

20th October (next Tuesday!) - London, St John Smith's Square (http://www.sjss.org.uk/events/bury-court-opera), 7:30pm

1st November (a Sunday) - Bury Court, Bentley (http://burycourtopera.org/events/) (near Farnham), Surrey, 5:00pm (doors open at 4pm)

A personal note:
A couple months ago I was in frequent contact with the director, Julian Perkins, to help in the sourcing of the Zelenka pieces. It took some time, but it was successful!
I drew upon the great resources of fellow jdzelenka.net forum members. It would not have been possible without the timely help and advice of all those involved.
Thank-you!

Sebastian :)

rnkt
17-10-2015, 11:37 PM
anyone know if it will be recorded (e.g. for BBC R3)? I've no chance to be on the island in the next few weeks :-(

Xanaseb
20-10-2015, 01:17 AM
I doubt there'll be a proper recording or broadcast, but I will have my phone (flight mode of course :P) microphone on, so I can send it across to anyone who'd be interested. It won't be very good audio quality sadly.
And I'll be taking quite a few photos too

Sebastian

rnkt
20-10-2015, 01:06 PM
I doubt there'll be a proper recording or broadcast, but I will have my phone (flight mode of course :P) microphone on, so I can send it across to anyone who'd be interested. It won't be very good audio quality sadly.
And I'll be taking quite a few photos too

Sebastian

Thanks, but don't go too crazy trying to get a good recording with a smartphone - I tried this a few weeks back at the (world premiere!) performance of my organ arrangement of the Quoniam from Josephi and it was too miserable to share (it was during a kids' church service, so I was asking for trouble). The main thing is, enjoy the moment, a rare moment with so much great Zelenka music being performed LIVE! Hope it will be a great concert this evening. I hope the acoustics will be better than expected - I am not sure Zelenka quite intended his works to be performed in a barn :p . And let's hope it is a springboard for even bigger Zelenka projects in the UK. A Zelenka Prom, even a late-night one, would be very nice and probably enough to tempt me over there!

(thanks also for your email - I could not reply because the system says your mailbox is full :( )

rnkt

Xanaseb
20-10-2015, 01:56 PM
Cheers for the advice and the heads up about my inbox - deleting msgs ASAP.
Nice to hear you did that Quoniam on Organ!

Tonight's concert is happening in Westminster, London, in a great English Baroque Church building, which is now just used as a regular concert venue:
http://www.sjss.org.uk/about-us

It's *next Sunday's* concert which will be at Bury Court Barn. I had a few reservations about the venue too, but the organisers reassure that the acoustics are fantastic. It is designed for more intimate concerts and operas, so it should be a nice atmosphere that suits the first half maybe more than the second half - can't wait :D

As for the springboard idea - a Prom event would be a tremendous occasion indeed. You never know :)

Sebastian

Andrew Hinds
21-10-2015, 01:54 PM
A quartet of "Discover Zelenka" people from East Sussex were in the audience and were delighted that so much Zelenka - a really good and varied programme - was given. A disappointment was that the Church was hardly half full when so much excellent singing and playing were on view.

The trumpet fanfares were excellent (or were they Clarinos!?). Special mention for the soloists, Magid El-Bushra (counter tenor) and Augusta Hebbert (soprano) who replaced the advertised soprano is hugely deserved. Both of them tackled some extraordinarily complex nusic with great skill and perfect tunefulness. The orchestra and choir were of a far higher standard than I had been expecting and kept up with Julian Perkins's sometimes relentless speeds without obvious difficulty. Inclusion of one of the Trio Sonatas was a very good idea and we all felt for the lady bassoonist almost blown to bits in the second movement that, when it was over, brought an involuntary clap from the uninitiated!

I hope that there will be a deserved full house at the second performance of this music on November 1st at Bury Court.

Thank you, Sebastian.

Andrew Hinds

Xanaseb
21-10-2015, 06:00 PM
That made my day Andrew! Thanks!
Super-glad to hear the evening was so good. Considering the short amount of time they all had to practice these multiple works, I'm glad and relieved. Sad to hear about the attendance though, I guess it needed more publicity... But at least it was a great treat for those who went ('Discover Zelenka' quartet - nice!).

"The trumpet fanfares were excellent (or were they Clarinos!?)"
...Oooh, interesting

Sebastian :)

Rik1
22-10-2015, 02:26 PM
I attended this one, well actually I attended both concerts. There were some last minute changes for the Bury Court one this week, including the cut of the Il Diamante sinfonia and one of the Il Serpente arias that they had intended to perform. I think part of the reason is that they had no plans to use flautists (there will not be room at Bury Court). Therefore the sinfonia was dropped, and the minimal flute obbligati in the oratorio were played on violins. Nevertheless, there was plenty of music and certainly no room for any more than they presented! It turned out to be a well chosen and varied programme. The trio sonata in particular was astoundingly well performed. It was very disappointing on the poor audience turn out. St John Smith Square is a very expensive venue, so I hope they didn't take too much of a loss particularly as this may discourage performance of Zelenka.

The aria from Il Diamante worked very well and showed a real operatic bravura side of Zelenka. Augusta Hebbert was wonderful singing it. The mass was fantastic, not many choirs can tackle a work like that. The natural trumpets were also welcome. What a great way to give them more to do in the concert (other than the fanfares they only played in the Bach) while presenting more Zelenka.

I think Bury Court will be a better venue and better attended I would think. It's a shame I cannot be at that one.

The other concert was nice, with a mostly Bach programme showcasing the horns and violin virtuoso players from the Royal College of Music. It had a good turn out and gave a good case for wind orientated Dresden orchestra music.

rnkt
22-10-2015, 09:18 PM
Couple of interesting reviews of Tuesday's concert:

https://bachtrack.com/review-spiritato-barts-chamber-choir-zelenka-october-2015

http://andrewbensonwilson.org/2015/10/21/zelenka-the-bohemian-bach/

Xanaseb
23-10-2015, 12:51 PM
Couple of interesting reviews of Tuesday's concert:

https://bachtrack.com/review-spiritato-barts-chamber-choir-zelenka-october-2015

http://andrewbensonwilson.org/2015/10/21/zelenka-the-bohemian-bach/

Really positive reviews, great! They give me hope about bringing more Zelenka to the people. The Bachtrack one in particular is gleaming and was such a pleasure to read :). Andrew Benson Wilson looked at the performance more critically, which is always a good thing, as it described the event very vividly.
...though I was pretty infuriated to read this, something which I've spotted other people state all too often:

"...and then, having been very briefly given the title of ‘church composer’ was then usurped in that post by JS Bach,"

I have just posted a comment to correct the error, and it's awaiting moderation. I did the same to this post (http://www.planethugill.com/2015/10/bury-court-opera-zelenka-rediscovered.html#comment-form) advertising the Bury Court recently.. amazingly, it was the same factual error! Robert Hugill replied to my comment, and what he said reveals a sad truth indeed:

"Thanks for the corrections, with such vagueness about him and so many inaccuracies it is difficult to get a correct picture of him"

...'inaccuracies' which were started a long while back, and keep on getting revived. The origin of it, whether subconscious or not, must be to do with a Bach-superiority complex - ie.) feeling the necessity to assert Bach's well-established recognition, or to Romantically (!?) show up the lack of Zelenka's. Of course, this confounding phenomenon is not restricted to the Zelenkasphere or to Bach, or even to the Late Baroque era. Music is not a football match folks!

Sebastian :)

Rik1
23-10-2015, 02:06 PM
Really positive reviews, great! They give me hope about bringing more Zelenka to the people. The Bachtrack one in particular is gleaming and was such a pleasure to read :). Andrew Benson Wilson looked at the performance more critically, which is always a good thing, as it described the event very vividly.
...though I was pretty infuriated to read this, something which I've spotted other people state all too often:

"...and then, having been very briefly given the title of ‘church composer’ was then usurped in that post by JS Bach,"

I have just posted a comment to correct the error, and it's awaiting moderation. I did the same to this post (http://www.planethugill.com/2015/10/bury-court-opera-zelenka-rediscovered.html#comment-form) advertising the Bury Court recently.. amazingly, it was the same factual error! Robert Hugill replied to my comment, and what he said reveals a sad truth indeed:

"Thanks for the corrections, with such vagueness about him and so many inaccuracies it is difficult to get a correct picture of him"

...'inaccuracies' which were started a long while back, and keep on getting revived. The origin of it, whether subconscious or not, must be to do with a Bach-superiority complex - ie.) feeling the necessity to assert Bach's well-established recognition, or to Romantically (!?) show up the lack of Zelenka's. Of course, this confounding phenomenon is not restricted to the Zelenkasphere or to Bach, or even to the Late Baroque era. Music is not a football match folks!

Sebastian :)

Yes, I noticed that bit about Bach in the review too. I think part of the problem is that it is naturally assumed that only one person could have a post of 'Church composer' when actually it isn't that simple. The first glowing review takes a lot of information from the programme notes.

Xanaseb
23-10-2015, 02:29 PM
Yes, I noticed that bit about Bach in the review too. I think part of the problem is that it is naturally assumed that only one person could have a post of 'Church composer' when actually it isn't that simple. The first glowing review takes a lot of information from the programme notes.

Ah, yes!! It could even be that simple too :o
I sort of went off on one ;)

Sebastian

Xanaseb
29-10-2015, 08:38 PM
Ah, yes!! It could even be that simple too :o
I sort of went off on one ;)

Sebastian

Also turns out I was incorrect regarding Ristori - he didn't share that same title with Zelenka, Butz and Bach. Also, Bach's title was honorary in 1736 and officially listed in 1738. I had to embarrassingly update my comments to those reviews/posts..:o
It is definitely not that simple indeed.

djdresden
01-11-2015, 01:48 AM
Dear Xanaseb,

I admire your great enthusiasm, and especially going to the lengths of trying to correct the critic in question. In order to convince him we can always send the details of the OFFICIAL documents of the Hof-und Staats-Calender, as annually published by the Dresden court from 1735-1746, to prove a) that Zelenka enjoyed the prestigious title of Church Composer until his death and b) that Bach’s position was only „tit[ular]” = honorary. If that is not enough, then the death notice in the court’s OFFICIAL documents, of "Johann Dismas Zelenka, the Royal Court Composer” as it was reported on 23 December 1745, should be sufficient. But, I think you have made your point. Also, I’ve updated the Wikipedia entry, which obviously was the source of the claims about Bach vs Zelenka „the battle of 15 rounds” – you might want to inform him of this!

I am very very pleased to read the positive reviews of the music itself – this is the most important thing. Knowing what lengths the musicians sometime go to perform the music they wish, as in this case, having followed (through Xanaseb) the director’s sometimes difficult attempts to acquire the music in question, I am always in awe of them.

Xanaseb
02-11-2015, 01:49 PM
Dear Xanaseb,

I admire your great enthusiasm, and especially going to the lengths of trying to correct the critic in question. In order to convince him we can always send the details of the OFFICIAL documents of the Hof-und Staats-Calender, as annually published by the Dresden court from 1735-1746, to prove a) that Zelenka enjoyed the prestigious title of Church Composer until his death and b) that Bach’s position was only „tit[ular]” = honorary. If that is not enough, then the death notice in the court’s OFFICIAL documents, of "Johann Dismas Zelenka, the Royal Court Composer” as it was reported on 23 December 1745, should be sufficient. But, I think you have made your point. Also, I’ve updated the Wikipedia entry, which obviously was the source of the claims about Bach vs Zelenka „the battle of 15 rounds” – you might want to inform him of this!

I am very very pleased to read the positive reviews of the music itself – this is the most important thing. Knowing what lengths the musicians sometime go to perform the music they wish, as in this case, having followed (through Xanaseb) the director’s sometimes difficult attempts to acquire the music in question, I am always in awe of them.

I wrote another comment with the info on the Wiki page and a mini review of the 1st Nov concert :). They are still awaiting approval/moderation, but I'm sure he'll see it. My bombardment might give a funny impression. I'm in danger of coming across as a ...Zealous Zelenkan... who am I kidding? :p

I talked with the conductor, Julian Perkins, after the event last night. He said that he did in fact end up hiring the full score for ZWV20 Missa Dei Filii from that ridiculously priced company. They originally quoted £960 for just hiring it. Julian, tongue in cheek, replied saying: 'Don't you mean £96...?'. They said that there must be some confusion, but he managed to heckle a lower rate from there! (he didn't say how much the final price was) Now that's desperation. He asked (pleaded) that someone gets on the case for the future, and produce a more available score for ZWV20.

Rik1
02-11-2015, 02:41 PM
I wrote another comment with the info on the Wiki page and a mini review of the 1st Nov concert :). They are still awaiting approval/moderation, but I'm sure he'll see it. My bombardment might give a funny impression. I'm in danger of coming across as a ...Zealous Zelenkan... who am I kidding? :p

I talked with the conductor, Julian Perkins, after the event last night. He said that he did in fact end up hiring the full score for ZWV20 Missa Dei Filii from that ridiculously priced company. They originally quoted £960 for just hiring it. Julian, tongue in cheek, replied saying: 'Don't you mean £96...?'. They said that there must be some confusion, but he managed to heckle a lower rate from there! (he didn't say how much the final price was) Now that's desperation. He asked (pleaded) that someone gets on the case for the future, and produce a more available score for ZWV20.

That price is completely shocking! It effectively keeps this music under lock and key, rarely to be performed. Most groups just would not contemplate hiring at those prices. However, the publisher would argue that for the money you are getting music that does not require interpretation or any other 'work' as they have done that bit for you. I would agree with this, if it weren't for the fact that the price is still outrageously high, and the fact that all musicians who play early instruments can generally interpret this music themselves without that much instruction from a publisher. For other musicians, many directors acquire good knowledge of performance practice anyway.

Did you enjoy last nights performance?

Alistair
02-11-2015, 02:46 PM
If my memory does not fail me, performing materials for ZWV 20 changed hands in Britain maybe 8 years ago, when there was to be a performance in Edinburgh or Glasgow and there had previously been one by another group in England. The details may even be somewhere on this forum or among my old e-mails (I'm not in a position to search right now).

The bottom line is that there should actually be a register or registry of performing materials that are available so that costs and frustration and minimised in the future. We just need someone who would be dedicated enough to organise this!

Xanaseb
02-11-2015, 03:55 PM
My concert report:
Last night's concert (1st Nov at Bury Court) was a great experience. I travelled there with my brother, walking from the railway station through a few miles of deep fog-laden English autumnal countryside. The setting was magical and out of the way. The Barn venue was well-designed and had a warm, stylish atmosphere.

I would like to make special mention of Julian Perkins - he was simply on fire. His conducting style reminded me so much of Vaclav Luks and his charismatic performances. I loved how he urged the Theorbist in the Cum Sancto Spiritu fugue to strum furiously during the final climaxes. He directed the superhuman choir ascents and descents as if conjuring a ladder to heaven.

His interpretation of Missa Dei Filii was unusual to my ears, more punchy than the Frieder Bernius' recording that we are all so used to hearing. As Andrew mentioned, he really got the tempi going fast, and to great effect (especially in the Qui Sedes and brief "szene" choral sections)! I can't say the same for the Il Serpente choruses however, where the tempo and ferocity was a lot lower than Adam Viktora & Ensemble Inégal, reducing the impact somewhat - part of that may have been to enable the choir to have more room to sing all that crammed in Italian. Another slight disappointment was that they reduced the Qui tollis peccata mundi aria to just the Soprano, cutting out the Bass & Tenor duet. It still worked as a whole however. Experiencing the Mass live is quite another thing from hearing it at home. My heart was thumping faster and faster the further into the finale, and I was totally taken by the way Zelenka constantly cranks up the pressure. Breathtaking stuff.

Augusta Hebbert was indeed stunning. She made the virtuoso Il Diamante aria sound like a breeze, and enticed the audience with her expression and luscious tone. She had quite an aura about her. Magid El-Bushra, the male Alto was also very engaging in the Il Serpente (he did the two Azaria arias). The emotions for those extracts were squeezed out very well in this interpretation.

To repeat other people's comments, the placement of the Trio Sonata in the middle to break up the programme worked brilliantly (an inspiration for future Zelenka programmes?). It was very intimate and entrancing. Like in London, there was another spontaneous applause for the bassoonist! The poor oboist briefly stumbled in one of the tougher parts of the last movement, getting a few sympathetic smiles from the audience.

The performance across the board was super. The lead violinist kept everything together very well throughout the night, and the violins kept great cohesion during the long tempestuous sections (ie. Terra's aria). Watching the contrabassist I got a vivid sense of Zelenka's high-quality bass lines and the tangible energy/passion needed to perform them. In fact, the same comment could be said for every 'part' in the orchestra. Although, from my angle, the back parts of the orchestra were obscured by the front. Similarly, the view to most of the choir at the back was blocked. Though the acoustics were unharmed, and very good for a old converted barn!

All in all, a great introduction to Zelenka for the uninitiated. The venue was packed, so a better turn out (bearing in mind though that it was a smaller venue). It left a big impression on the audience; there was much sustained feet stomping. A person behind me joyously told me afterwards: "This is the best thing I've heard in a long while!"

:)

Xanaseb
02-11-2015, 04:06 PM
The bottom line is that there should actually be a register or registry of performing materials that are available so that costs and frustration and minimised in the future. We just need someone who would be dedicated enough to organise this!

Oh, now that's a nice proposition! It's definitely needed. It'll be an "Inventarium de Materiem Perficientur". We should keep it more tidy and eligible than Zelenka's of course... ;)

Rik1
02-11-2015, 07:02 PM
My concert report:
Last night's concert (1st Nov at Bury Court) was a great experience. I travelled there with my brother, walking from the railway station through a few miles of deep fog-laden English autumnal countryside. The setting was magical and out of the way. The Barn venue was well-designed and had a warm, stylish atmosphere.

I would like to make special mention of Julian Perkins - he was simply on fire. His conducting style reminded me so much of Vaclav Luks and his charismatic performances. I loved how he urged the Theorbist in the Cum Sancto Spiritu fugue to strum furiously during the final climaxes. He directed the superhuman choir ascents and descents as if conjuring a ladder to heaven.

His interpretation of Missa Dei Filii was unusual to my ears, more punchy than the Frieder Bernius' recording that we are all so used to hearing. As Andrew mentioned, he really got the tempi going fast, and to great effect (especially in the Qui Sedes and brief "szene" choral sections)! I can't say the same for the Il Serpente choruses however, where the tempo and ferocity was a lot lower than Adam Viktora & Ensemble Inégal, reducing the impact somewhat - part of that may have been to enable the choir to have more room to sing all that crammed in Italian. Another slight disappointment was that they reduced the Qui tollis peccata mundi aria to just the Soprano, cutting out the Bass & Tenor duet. It still worked as a whole however. Experiencing the Mass live is quite another thing from hearing it at home. My heart was thumping faster and faster the further into the finale, and I was totally taken by the way Zelenka constantly cranks up the pressure. Breathtaking stuff.

Augusta Hebbert was indeed stunning. She made the virtuoso Il Diamante aria sound like a breeze, and enticed the audience with her expression and luscious tone. She had quite an aura about her. Magid Al-Bushra, the male Alto was also very engaging in the Il Serpente (he did the two Azaria arias). The emotions for those extracts were squeezed out very well in this interpretation.

To repeat other people's comments, the placement of the Trio Sonata in the middle to break up the programme worked brilliantly (an inspiration for future Zelenka programmes?). It was very intimate and entrancing. Like in London, there was another spontaneous applause for the bassoonist! The poor oboist briefly stumbled in one of the tougher parts of the last movement, getting a few sympathetic smiles from the audience.

The performance across the board was super. The lead violinist kept everything together very well throughout the night, and the violins kept great cohesion during the long tempestuous sections (ie. Terra's aria). Watching the contrabassist I got a vivid sense of Zelenka's high-quality bass lines and the tangible energy/passion needed to perform them. In fact, the same comment could be said for every 'part' in the orchestra. Although, from my angle, the back parts of the orchestra were obscured by the front. Similarly, the view to most of the choir at the back was blocked. Though the acoustics were unharmed, and very good for a old converted barn!

All in all, a great introduction to Zelenka for the uninitiated. The venue was packed, so a better turn out (bearing in mind though that it was a smaller venue). It left a big impression on the audience; there was much sustained feet stomping. A person behind me joyously told me afterwards: "This is the best thing I've heard in a long while!"

:)

I wish I had been there. I think Bury Court would have been a much better acoustic for this music.

And thanks for reminding me about the contrabass player. I had forgotten, but I had the same thoughts as you. The only way to play those bass lines on it is with lots of energy, which makes such a visual impact.