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Thread: Change of style

  1. #1
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    Default Change of style

    I read about the change of style, even here at the forum for the ZWV15 and 16, and I wander if I may I have a little explanation of his change of style.

    Thanks in advance.
    Beppe

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by gippo
    I read about the change of style, even here at the forum for the ZWV15 and 16, and I wander if I may I have a little explanation of his change of style.

    Thanks in advance.
    Beppe
    Hi Beppe,

    From the 1730's until his death, Zelenka's music tended to be influenced by the Neopolitan Style which had been recently developed in the Naples, Italy and imported to the Dresden Hofkapelle by the newly arrived opera composer, Adolph Hasse (1699-1783). This style featured amongst other characteristics, florid ornamentation and simple melodic and harmonic progressions. (See the Forward by Vratislav Belsky to Lamentationes Jeremiae Prophetae, Musica Antiqua Bohemica, pp XV-XVI)

    Although Zelenka was clearly dissappointed at Hasse's appointment as Kapellmeister over himself, (See the Forward by Oldrich Pulkert to Composizioni per Orchestra, Musica Antiqua Bohemica, pp xxxiii-xxxiv) it can be concluded that Zelenka was nevertheless keen to incorporate elements of the latter's style into his own compositions.

    This assertion can be substantiated by reference to the Holy Trinity Mass (Missa Sanctissimae Trinitatis) ZWV 17 (Erbe deutscher Musik, Band 103, Breitkopf, 1987). In this work, Zelenka composed movements in both the stile antico, the Neapolitan style and a combination of both which, upon listening to the work, contributes to its drama, vitality, intensity and charm. (C.f. Recording by Musica Florea cond. Maryk Stryncl, Studio Matous, 1994)

    The "Christe Eleison" for example is written in the Neapolitan style. The same can be concluded about all the remaining arias with the exception of the first "Agnus Dei".

    The second "Kyrie" is a fugue written in the stile antico which is ingeniously based upon the bass line of the first "Kyrie". Another exempla is the opening fugue of the "Qui Tollis".

    For an example of a movement including elements of both the stile antico and the Neapolitan stile, have a look at the "Et Vitam Venturi Saeculi" which begins with a fugue based upon stile antico (sounding very similar to the "Gratius/Dona Nobis Pacem" from J.S. Bach's B Minor Mass BWV 232) which opens up into operatic florishes in the Neapolitan style as the fugue progresses. Furthermore, the "Credo" from the Missa Votiva ZWV 18 opens with an orchestral ritornello in the Neapolitan style which is followed by a cantus firmus which is parodied throughout the choral voices and accompanied by the orchestra and the other choral voices in the Neapolitan style of the opening ritornello.

    Hope this helps Beppe. Correct me if i'm wrong anyone.

    Cheers,

    Shaun
    Last edited by Shaun Wigley; 29-01-2007 at 12:53 AM.

  3. #3
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    Thank you very much for your clear explanation.
    Are there similar style considerations for his instrumental works?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by gippo
    Thank you very much for your clear explanation.
    Are there similar style considerations for his instrumental works?
    As far as purely instrumental music is concerned, in my view the answer is no. This is firstly substantiated by the fact that the last Capriccio ZWV 190 was composed in Dresden 1729, two years before the arrival of Hasse in Dresden in 1731. Secondly, there does not appear, judging from what I have observed, to be any notable stylistic differences between the earlier Viennese Capriccio's ZWV 182-185 (1717-1718) and the previously mentioned Dresden Capriccio ZWV 190. (See the Forward by Oldrich Pulkert to Composizioni per Orchestra, Musica Antiqua Bohemica, pp XXXIII-XL and the following musical scores generally) Any differences in opinion are welcome.

    Cheers,

    Shaun

  5. #5
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    Default Change of style

    Thanks Gippo for getting Shaun to provide two such excellent and succinct explanations!
    If you want to get a feel for lots of style varieties, try Supraphon's Psalmi CD - you can get it via Psalms & ZWV 57 in the CD listings. It is the only CD that contains the Czech language in a version of Psalm 150 which is full of music pictures by Zelenka reflecting the words. The second psalm is the wonderful ZWV 57; the third psalm has a delightful duet in the new operatic style and the first part of the final psalm could have been by Handel.
    It is amazing that this man (whose picture has yet to be found) should have written nothing which has survived before he reached the age of nearly 30 and has managed to embrace the new style of the 1730's when he was over 50. Zelenka is such a star! No one who was so full of wit and humour in his music can have been the morose misery suggested by the ignorant critic who so annoyed Alistair! I think that he must often have had a twinkle in his eye.
    Andrew

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    Default Change of style

    I hope that you won't mind (Shaun Wigley) me quoting what you sent in our private e-mail exchange on the subject initially of ZWV 17 back in January. It followed on from your comment about finding it hard to pick a best movement as there are so many in ZWV 17. Shaun went on to say that he has a liking for the second "Agnus Dei" in the Stryncl recording with the homophonic choral voices and the triplets in the basso continuo. I thought his comment which has general relevance to a great deal of Zelenka's works (as follows) should reach a wider audience:
    "I always love how in many of Zelenka's slow movements, there is an omnipresent rhythmic pulsation which appears to be absent in the works of Vivaldi and Telemann. In my view, this contributes to the emotional intensity of his music."
    Andrew Hinds
    Last edited by Andrew Hinds; 28-03-2007 at 06:07 PM.

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