View Full Version : Homage visits

Andrew Hinds
04-09-2010, 11:36 AM
Please could Forum members tell us their Zelenka homage visits.

To help kick this off, my visit was a holiday with my wife in August 2007 and included homage visits to locations known to J. S. Bach and G.A. Homilius too - as well as an Anton Zimmermann visit to see Bratislava (Pressburg in his time).

My wife was promised a walking holiday in the High Tatra mountains in Slovakia but to get there by car meant that we had to see Eisenach, Bach's birthplace where Martin Luther earlier had lived. We also had to see St Thomas's Church in Leipzig where Bach spent much of his life as well as the wonderful Baroque church nearby, St Nikolas Church, where Homilius spent a year or two as organist. If Homilius was Bach's last pupil, he would only have had a five minute walk to go for his lessons.

In reaching Dresden, we passed through "Saxon Switzerland" as it is nicknamed where Homilius was born and spent his childhood. Then we saw the fantastic restoration of Dresden and the dominant church where Homilius as Director of Protestant music for over 30 years in the town played the organ, wrote fine organ music and produced his 200 Cantatas, his St Matthew Passion, his St John Passion and his St Mark Passion (much thanks to Carus) now in the process of rediscovery - and what a revelation it can be for us! Not quite a Zelenka but fascinating and often subtle and beautiful music - as close as is possible, I feel, to what J S Bach might have moved to if he had inhabited the Age of the Enlightenment. It is a tribute of a kind (a bit back-handed) that some Homilius was given BWV numbers!

But Dresden for me was my mission - to see where Zelenka had lived and worked for the last 30 years of his life and to go into the churches that he had known and to see the central area where he had also lived.

Then we travelled into the Czech Republic and to Prague where we saw the Jesuit buildings close to the famous bridge before going south to Lounovice to see the village where Zelenka had spent his childhood and to walk in the church and to see the plaque commemorating the village's greatest son.

I had had my holiday by then but the walking was yet to come!

On our return journey via Budapest and before Salzburg (where it was impossible to park) we saw a marvellous performance in the opera house in Bratislava of Mozart's "The Marriage of Figaro" because I wanted to see the environment in which Anton Zimmermann (1741 to 1781) had worked. He wrote 41 symphonies of which I have only heard the one which has a hauntingly beautiful slow movement containing a variant of the "Twinkle, twinkle little star; how I wonder what you are" tune as one of its themes. Naxos also had a CD of 3 splendid string quartets of his in their catalogue a year or two back. Another very good composer worth exploring!

I hope that some others will have their stories to tell. The website needs more activity.

Andrew Hinds