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View Full Version : Canada: April/May, Missa Omnium Sanctorum ZWV 21, Toronto Tafelmusik



Xanaseb
03-03-2016, 08:20 PM
In January 2016, the famous period-performance group, Tafelmusik (Toronto) (same as the legendary 1989 recording of Missa Dei Filii/Litaniae Lauretanae 'Salus Infirmorum') held a competition for upcoming vocal soloists. They had to sing a selection of arias from Handel, Bach and Zelenka. The winners were announced, and they will be singing in a concert of Bach & Zelenka, along with the great Baroque specialist soprano Dorothee Mields (http://www.kdschmid.de/artistdetail/items/dorothee-mields.html) (her first time with our Czech master?), and conducted by Ivan Taurins.

Here's more info for the April/May concerts:
http://www.tafelmusik.org/concert-calendar/concert/zelenka-bach

:)

Benna9
01-05-2016, 11:30 PM
Attended the performance of last night - it was superb. The Tafelmusik chamber choir and Dorothee Mields specially impressive, and the three young soloists - who unfortunately don't have a lot to sing - were up to the mark. Sadly, they don't seem to have plans to record.

The transcription from the original MS. was new for this performance. Can't find the programme note about it online, but the transcriber complained humorously about Zelenka's abysmal handwriting.

Elwro
02-05-2016, 03:47 PM
Great to hear it was superb! It would be very nice if the transcriber put his work on the IMSLP so that more people would benefit from his or her work :-)

Xanaseb
02-05-2016, 05:55 PM
Good to hear it went down so well! Here's a positive review that recently came out online:

http://www.musicaltoronto.org/2016/04/29/scrutiny-tafelmusik-dorothee-mields/

Alistair
02-05-2016, 08:29 PM
It's mind-blowing that these performances are just taking off all over the place. Jan Dismas, your time has finally come!

I also like to think that it might have something to do with OUR little website and forum. And I do mean ours! Special thanks to Xanaseb for keeping a watchful eye over what is coming up in the near future in terms of performances (quite apart from your input on the other sections of the forum).

Best wishes.

Alistair

rnkt
03-05-2016, 01:21 PM
Good to hear it went down so well! Here's a positive review that recently came out online:

http://www.musicaltoronto.org/2016/04/29/scrutiny-tafelmusik-dorothee-mields/

Great review, though not sure I agree with this:

"Zelenka was the loser in the tussle of courtly politics in Dresden, and, in his final years, sat down to show why he didn’t deserve to be slighted. He poured every drop of creative ink he could muster into a set of grand Mass settings he knew could never be performed in his lifetime...... We know that Zelenka never heard this music in his lifetime because there was a 45-minute limit on the length of Mass settings in Dresden, and his Missa Omnium Sanctorum lasts for more than an hour."

Can we really 100% conclude that these works were not performed? I thought I read somewhere that ZWV 17 and 18 must have been performed and these are longer than 45 mins. Of course it sounds very nice to say that he composed only for himself and God in the last years. But throughout his career Zelenka also seems to have been quite a pragmatist, dishing up top quality music for this or that occasion, but there always was an occasion. And I think he enjoyed being different and wrote in his idiosyncratic way in order to be heard. I do believe these works (also ZWV 19-21) were heard, but in a setting which meant the occasion was not recorded. Perhaps a commission from outside of Dresden and the corresponding copy and parts have gone missing. Obviously I am speculating, but I think so are the people who say these works were never performed.

Benna9
03-05-2016, 03:10 PM
Found the reference - the transcriber was Tafelmusik's harpsichordist and librarian Charlotte Nediger. I'll email her to draw this to her attention.

Benna9
03-05-2016, 03:28 PM
I can't agree that conductor Ivars Taurins' style is "awkward" - quite the opposite. I find him graceful and a pleasure to watch (the music is so strong he doesn't distract). He's a little bit of a ham* but he has excellent control. The results are impeccable, so I don't think a lot of listeners have any problem with it.

*One of Toronto's annual pleasures is Tafelmusik's amazing sing-along Messiah, which he conducts dressed as Herr Handel in full give-'un-guts mode. No, it really has good results, not tacky - look at the YouTube clips if you don't believe me.

Xanaseb
03-05-2016, 03:32 PM
Great review, though not sure I agree with this:

"Zelenka was the loser in the tussle of courtly politics in Dresden, and, in his final years, sat down to show why he didn’t deserve to be slighted. He poured every drop of creative ink he could muster into a set of grand Mass settings he knew could never be performed in his lifetime...... We know that Zelenka never heard this music in his lifetime because there was a 45-minute limit on the length of Mass settings in Dresden, and his Missa Omnium Sanctorum lasts for more than an hour."

Can we really 100% conclude that these works were not performed? I thought I read somewhere that ZWV 17 and 18 must have been performed and these are longer than 45 mins. Of course it sounds very nice to say that he composed only for himself and God in the last years. But throughout his career Zelenka also seems to have been quite a pragmatist, dishing up top quality music for this or that occasion, but there always was an occasion. And I think he enjoyed being different and wrote in his idiosyncratic way in order to be heard. I do believe these works (also ZWV 19-21) were heard, but in a setting which meant the occasion was not recorded. Perhaps a commission from outside of Dresden and the corresponding copy and parts have gone missing. Obviously I am speculating, but I think so are the people who say these works were never performed.

I saw those comments too, but looked past them with a brief roll of the eyes :rolleyes:.

You raise some radical points - but I'd like to think they're not so implausible! The argument that ZWV19-21 were never performed is mainly because of the lack of evidence. But, that means that the door can be left open to the possibility, however unlikely. I also recall that Missa Votiva ZWV 18 was performed. It was suggested by the new(ish) evidence from the Bautzen Diocese Archives. The Jesuit Diaries said a 'sacrum novum' was produced by Zelenka in 1739.
Here's the thread (http://www.jdzelenka.net/forums/showthread.php?109-New-source-on-Zelenka-s-last-years&highlight=bautzen) about it. And I quote this from djdresden:

"I guess deep inside I was hoping to see some reference to the three last masses but it was not to be and the question remains open if they were performed at the time. It will be exciting to see when the musicologists start working with this info for further evaluation and interpretation."

I find it really interesting that Zelenka used material from the ZWV 21 Missa OS Christe Eleison for the first Aria in ZWV 151 Litaniae Lauretanae 'Consolatrix Afflictorum'. And, that the ZWV 140 Christe Eleison may have been a replacement. Maybe he did plan to have it performed at some point, why else would he go to such a length?

Part of why they are considered so mystically is because of the long dedication that he gives. Obviously, everything Zelenka wrote he dedicated with AMDG etc. or LJC, but the Intro-title that he gives to Missae Ultimae is something else!
Super-fascinating stuff.

@Alistair: My pleasure! :)

Seb

Xanaseb
03-05-2016, 04:59 PM
I can't agree that conductor Ivars Taurins' style is "awkward" - quite the opposite. I find him graceful and a pleasure to watch (the music is so strong he doesn't distract). He's a little bit of a ham* but he has excellent control. The results are impeccable, so I don't think a lot of listeners have any problem with it.

*One of Toronto's annual pleasures is Tafelmusik's amazing sing-along Messiah, which he conducts dressed as Herr Handel in full give-'un-guts mode. No, it really has good results, not tacky - look at the YouTube clips if you don't believe me.

Yeah, I thought that was a bit of a strange comment about his style. I absolutely love that Herr Handel stuff on the Youtube vids.
I'm really impressed with Tafelmusik's activity in general. They do educational outreach, which is fab.