View Full Version : Zelenka, Vivaldi and Riepel

23-10-2009, 12:30 AM

Excerpt from the book "Tonal space in the music of Antonio Vivaldi" by
Bella Brover-Lubovsky :

"The stimulating variety of Vivaldi's tonal strategies seems to have
served as a possible source of inspiration for Joseph Riepel's original
concept of key relationships and tonal procedures, as expounded in
the second and third books of his monumental study of the elements
of musical composition, Anfangsgründe zur musikalischen Setzkunst.
There is no testimony to personal contact between the two musi-
cians. Nevertheless, Riepel's long sejourn (1739-45) in Dresden, the
center of Vivaldi's German followers, and his association with
Zelenka (from whom he reportedly took daily lessons in 1745) puts
his awareness of Vivaldi's music beyond mere speculation. As a vio-
linist, moreover, Riepel must have become closely acquainted with
the Dresden Hofkapelle repertory, in which Vivaldi's music occupied a
prominent, though not a central, position."


23-10-2009, 03:27 PM
Riepel was considered one of the major theorists in the second half of the 18th century and was hugely influential. He had great praise for Zelenka, who taught him for at least five years - saying about his experience: ".. at that time in Dresden I enjoyed being around the most excellent Master (Zelenka) every day." He also took lessons from Ristori - and Pisendel also gave him good advice.

It must be possible to mirror Zelenka's teachings in the works of Riepel, but to the best of my knowledge this hasn't been studied in detail. Emmerig's biography on Riepel quotes many letters and writings of Riepel which show the influence of Dresden on his works and theories. As Kai Köpp's book on Pisendel shows Riepel shared many ideas of Quantz - another Zelenka student.

The Dresden scholar Gerhard Poppe lists the following as Zelenka's students:
Quantz - the famous flutist and musical companion of Frederick the Great in Berlin.
Harrer - Kapellmeister of Saxon Prime Minister Count Brühl and later Bach's successor in Leipzig.
Riepel - composer, violinist and theorist, worked for 30 years as a Kapellmeister to Prince of Turn and Taxis in Regensburg.
J.G. Röllig - composer and vice Kapellmeister in Zerbst where he taught princess Sophie, who would later become Catherine the Great of Russia.
Schaffrath - keyboard player and composer, later at the Berlin court where he was in the service of Princess Anna Amalia, Frederick's sister.
W.F. Bach - Bach's son...
J.G. Schürer - church composer at the Dresden court for decades.
Peter August - composer, organist and harpsichordist at the Dresden court, teacher and musical companion to Saxon Elector Friedrich Agust III.

All the above are major players in the late baroque and early classical periods. To this list we can now add Dresden church composer Butz, as can be seen in the Virtuosen poem. And there surely were others as well.