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Thread: Jan Smolka

  1. #1
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    Default Jan Smolka

    I have another question for the forum. Has anyone read the following article: Smolka, Jaroslav. "Profiles: Jan Dismas Zelenka." Czech Music 2 (2005)?

    In this article Smolka makes the following comment about Zelenka's ealry years in Prague, "After the young musician moved to study in Prague he did or said something that was considered very wrong. Was this transgression something to do with doctrine, or did it reveal (Zelenkas’s) homosexual orientation...”

    Does anyone know on what Smolka basis this argument? He cites nothing to back up this claim and I assume there would be some letter within the Clementinium that backs this up?

    Thanks,

    Hunter

  2. #2
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    Default

    I would suggest you to buy and read a book Jan Dismas Zelenka by Jaroslav Smolka. Namely the first chapter deals with this subject in detail. For this you need to learn czech...a very difficult task indeed...(only joking!).
    The fact that Zelenka might have been a homosexual is a pure speculation made by Wolfgang Reich in his "Zwei Zelenka Studien - Ein Ungeliebter Componist?" (1987) through deciphering Zelenka's first three triosonatas. Smolka himself is rather sceptical to this claim. What we know for certain is that our composer was christened Jan Lukáš (Lucas) Zelenka. Then after nearly 30 years he emerged as Jan Dismas Zelenka. For those who do not know: Dismas was one of the two thieves crucified together with Jesus. Dismas was the one willing for salvation. Smolka thinks that something must have happened in the Zelenka's youth...for his ever strong feeling of guilt and submissiveness.
    30 years of total obscurity...he might have been imprisoned in his youth. But this is all just a speculation.

  3. #3
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    Default Jan Smolka

    Thanks. I will check that book out. Although if it is in Czech I am up a creek...

  4. #4
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    Default Jan Smolka

    "for his ever strong feeling of guilt and submissiveness".

    Hmm. I'm not sure that there is any evidence that he felt guilty or submissive, except that from financial frustration he was forced to ask for more money from his employer. And this was the way everyone wrote such letters to their employers in those days, especially the ones with power.

    Let's face it. We just don't know why he changed his name from Lukas. Perhaps he didn't like his own name "Lukas", perhaps he liked the name "Dismas" because it was exotic, or perhaps it gave him a religious buzz to have a biblical name (even though it can't even be found in the bible). People often try to make sweeping conclusions from things like this, and there is absolutely no evidence one way or another.
    Last edited by Alistair; 13-01-2010 at 11:06 AM.

  5. #5
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    Default Jan Smolka

    "for his ever strong feeling of guilt and submissiveness".

    Hmm. I'm not sure that there is any evidence that he felt guilty or submissive, except that from financial frustration he was forced to ask for more money from his employer. And this was the way everyone wrote such letters to their employers in those days, especially the ones with power.

    Let's face it. We just don't know why he changed his name from Lukas. Perhaps he didn't like the name "Lukas". Or perhaps he particularly liked the name "Dismas" because it was exotic, or perhaps it gave him a religious buzz to have a biblical name (even though the name can't even be found in the bible). People often try to make sweeping conclusions from things like this, and there is absolutely no evidence one way or another.

    As for his sexual orientation, apart from Wolfgang Reich nobody else seems to be particularly interested in this when there is nothing at all explicitly documented.

  6. #6
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    There is another interesting theory about the change of name to Dismas by alexwent in the main forum under the thread "Zelenka's name".

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