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Thread: Zelenka's greatest hits

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2006
    East Sussex UK

    Default Zelenka's greatest hits

    There have been some wonderful performances recently from Adam Viktoria and others that twenty years ago could not have been hoped for. "Hitherto unimaginably fine performances" would fairly describe what has been achieved.

    There is just one amazing piece of music from an old CD from 1993 or even earlier that deserves to be issued again or given a new performance. It would be in my top three of Zelenka's greatest hits.

    It is on Panton's 1993 CD 80 0331-2911 and it is track 8 - Exurge, Providentia from Zelenka's 1723 Prague Coronation music (for Ferdinande). It lasts for 6 minutes 46 seconds and is a bass aria sung by a bass singer with a huge deep voice. Unfortunately the sleeve notes tired at the end of track 6 so that the name of the wonderful singer is not given. He deserves to be famous!

    Those of you who don't have access to this old recording can listen instead to track 26 on the 2 CD set SU 3520-2 232, the Supraphon 2001 World premiere recording of the complete work which I have praised elsewhere on the Forum but with reservations about the deep bass's performance, fine voice though he has.

    May I put out a plea for another version of that bass aria to be recorded if, but only if a bass with a deep, deep voice and sufficient musical skills can be found. Not an easy task!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Lewes, UK

    Smile Re: Zelenka's greatest hits

    The bass which Andrew refers to is Karel Hanuš who was one of Prague's leading operatic basses during the 1960's - I think he was born around 1929/30 but don't know whether he is still alive. He appeared on several Supraphon complete Smetana opera sets for example. The whole disc was a Zelenka "sampler" recorded as early as 1972 - a real pioneering effort.

    The record also includes In Exitu Israel ZWV 83 from the Kuhn Mixed Choir plus Hanuš and the venerable tenor Beno Blachut. At 12 minutes this is a more substantial setting than ZWV 84 and I had never heard it until Andrew shared the disc with me. It is a wonderful work and would make a superb fill up to a mass dating from the early 1720's: the only other recording which our website lists appears to be no longer available, at least in the UK[ORF/Casinos Austria. Cat. No. LID 1994/2/3.]

    So here's another request to be included in future recording projects!

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