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rnkt
01-09-2015, 11:32 PM
It is about time that Zelenka's apparent omission to write for the keyboard is rectified. A first attempt has been uploaded to IMSLP here (http://imslp.org/wiki/Missa_Sancti_Josephi,_ZWV_14_(Zelenka,_Jan_Dismas) ). It is a transcription of the wonderfully quirky almost waltz-like Quoniam from his totally brilliant Missa Sancti Josephi (ZWV 14). Kindly Zelenka included two copies of this number (anyone know why?) so where there was damage (or simply his dreadful handwriting!) in the manuscript there was always a second opinion at hand. I hope someone enjoys playing it!

-RNKT

Elwro
02-09-2015, 04:37 PM
Awesome work! Please do more! :-)

rnkt
03-09-2015, 12:07 AM
Thanks! My current projects are another Quoniam, this time from ZWV 20 (this will be *really* fun to play - actually sounds rather like beethovenian scarlatti once the strings figurations are converted to something that works on the keyboard ) and the Cum sancto double fugue from ZWV 30, mainly because it is one of my most favourite Zelenka works, though sadly not yet (professionally) recorded. I'll probably return to ZWV 14 at some point to do the quite miraculous Cum sancto fugue as well but I have serious concerns that I won't be able to play it :D.

-RNKT

Elwro
03-09-2015, 10:40 AM
Transcribing unrecorded works is a great idea; some fugues are fantastic, even though they really seem to be vocal :-) Have you taken a look at the ZWV 2 Credo: http://burrito.whatbox.ca:15263/imglnks/usimg/7/74/IMSLP371894-PMLP600603-ZWV_2.pdf ? With its triple fugue at the end? Skiaouros had made a pdf of it a few years ago, and it was downloadable from this site, but somehow I cannot find it here now.

Xanaseb
03-09-2015, 10:27 PM
Transcribing unrecorded works is a great idea; some fugues are fantastic, even though they really seem to be vocal :-) Have you taken a look at the ZWV 2 Credo: http://burrito.whatbox.ca:15263/imglnks/usimg/7/74/IMSLP371894-PMLP600603-ZWV_2.pdf ? With its triple fugue at the end? Skiaouros had made a pdf of it a few years ago, and it was downloadable from this site, but somehow I cannot find it here now.

Here's the MP3 file [the ones Skiaouros synthesised from the score] from the E-download section of that Et Vitam triple fugue. Great to read the music and listen at the same time (though this score version doesn't include the 3 Trombones found in the full mass). A definite wow, is this one: http://jdzelenka.net/Public/ZWV%202/ZWV%202%20mp3s/ZWV%202-17%20Et%20vitam.mp3

Also, that 'Credo della Messa' title page looks stunning!! Zelenka doodling, who'd have thought!

rnkt
03-09-2015, 11:20 PM
Here's the MP3 file [the ones Skiaouros synthesised from the score] from the E-download section of that Et Vitam triple fugue. Great to read the music and listen at the same time (though this score version doesn't include the 3 Trombones found in the full mass). A definite wow, is this one: http://jdzelenka.net/Public/ZWV%202/ZWV%202%20mp3s/ZWV%202-17%20Et%20vitam.mp3

Also, that 'Credo della Messa' title page looks stunning!! Zelenka doodling, who'd have thought!

Thanks guys for introducing me to that. I didn't get down to low ZWV numbers yet :-) That fugue is indeed stunning and the choir on the mp3 does a good job to keep up ;) ;). I listened to some of the other MP3s in the ZWV 2 folder and was surprised to hear that the Gloria setting is the same as ZWV 30 (the one I am currently transcribing). However, on IMSLP there is only the credo posted. Also ZWV 2 was supposedly composed in 1714 and ZWV 30 ten years later. So, my question, is ZWV 2 a complete mass of just a credo fragment?

- RNKT

Xanaseb
04-09-2015, 12:19 AM
Thanks guys for introducing me to that. I didn't get down to low ZWV numbers yet :-) That fugue is indeed stunning and the choir on the mp3 does a good job to keep up ;) ;). I listened to some of the other MP3s in the ZWV 2 folder and was surprised to hear that the Gloria setting is the same as ZWV 30 (the one I am currently transcribing). However, on IMSLP there is only the credo posted. Also ZWV 2 was supposedly composed in 1714 and ZWV 30 ten years later. So, my question, is ZWV 2 a complete mass of just a credo fragment?

- RNKT

Ah, interesting! I had similar thoughts :confused: - Maybe Skiaouros can help answer, I think he was the one who compiled these files.

On another note, related to the thread topic - - I have been doing a little Zelenka-Keyboard project of my own which I should be recording and releasing on YouTube some time soon.

His 9 Canons for the Hexachord (Zwv 191), 'in imitation of the most highly esteemed Master' Johann Joseph Fux - are actually really nice to learn for the piano, and are just about playable, even though they are for three voices (three instruments?). The bass-line is very very simple (C, D, E etc.- - -> A, A, G - - - > C), and the other lines are OK to read once you have got used to the different Clefs. They are interesting because you can see a rudimentary base for Zelenka's music. Jan Stockigt mentions in her book that he uses these canons as compositional tools.

Here is the score: http://imslp.org/wiki/9_Canons,_ZWV_191_(Zelenka,_Jan_Dismas) (http://imslp.org/wiki/9_Canons,_ZWV_191_(Zelenka,_Jan_Dismas))

Xanaseb
02-10-2015, 12:02 AM
This person created a "Zelenka Suite" for the organ, out of some of his orchestral works: http://imslp.org/wiki/Zelenka_Suite_(Mekelburg,_Frauke)

If I were an organist or had access to an organ, I would gladly give it a go!

rnkt
14-11-2015, 11:02 AM
Next instalment in my Zelenka keyboard transcriptions project is a reworking of the Amen fugue from the psalm motet "In Exitu Israel" (ZWV 83). It's a beautifully chromatic work, the first section of which toys precariously with atonality. It is well suited to the piano. It also provides a foretaste of the greatly anticipated CD by Ensemble Inegal covering the first psalm cycle, which includes ZWV 83.

My transcription can be downloaded here (http://imslp.org/wiki/In_exitu_Israel,_ZWV_83_(Zelenka,_Jan_Dismas)).

RNKT

djdresden
18-11-2015, 01:17 AM
Great to hear of all this activity. It would be very nice if recordings of these transcriptions could be uploaded so we can hear how this sounds.

I’ve uploaded a PDF file to my Dropbox, with scans of the earliest known piano arrangements made of Zelenka’s music. These were done by the musicologist Otto Schmid-Dresden and published in 1904. I can’t recall if this has been discussed here in the Forum so here we go. The pieces are:

1. Largo from ZWV 186.
2. Menuet I & II from ZWV 190.
3. Canarie and Aria from ZWV 183.

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/kzct794zvbuppx7/AADQRTmv5ZAX-2EnH0ADfd8Qa?dl=0

I would be grateful if a kind soul would play these pieces on the piano and upload a recording: it doesn’t have to be professional but just so we can hear how these first transcriptions are.

Elwro
18-11-2015, 09:22 AM
Thank you very much rnkt for your work! I'll try to play this though I'm a complete amateur. And also thanks djdresden for the scans, I had no idea these transcriptions existed... they seem really done with a grand piano in mind.

rnkt
18-11-2015, 11:34 PM
Dear All,

Thanks for your appreciative words and thanks especially djdresden for sharing the earliest known piano transcriptions. I also thought the little bio of Zelenka in German was great and showed that 100 years ago none of this "old misery guts Zelenka" stuff was going on - I like how it stresses that yeah, he did not get the job he hoped for, but still the Queen valued him greatly. Anyway, I bashed through them and they are quite fun to play and sound good. But of course these are not transcriptions of Zelenka's finest works. My personal objective in my transcriptions is to showcase his idiosyncratic style and so I am prioritising the transcription of works, which, when I was getting to know Zelenka over the past years, had moments when I thought, did he really write that? I think if such works become more accessible to amateurs who can tinkle away at them at home then I think the awareness of the uniqueness and significance of our composer will surely increase. I personally see extremely strong influences of Zelenka on CPE Bach and both Haydns, perhaps more so than that of JS Bach, Handel etc. I am hoping the keyboard transcriptions will help promote that thinking further!

My first transcription was of the Quoniam from Missa Sancti Josephi, not because it is my absolute favourite Zelenka work but because it is kind of dance-like (though in a kind of satirical way, almost as if he was poking fun at his Leipzig colleague whose entire output can be summarized as dance music and chorales :cool:) and quirky in terms of sudden dynamic changes and so probably well suited to the keyboard.

My second transcription has been the amen fugue from In exitu Israel (ZWV 83), mainly because I heard it for the first time a few months ago and haven't been able to expunge it from my head since. It is one of the only 18th century works which comes very close to atonality and is much less tacky than the rather overhyped ouverture by Rebel. I managed to get a copy of the score (manuscript not yet scanned at SLUB) and was quite pleased to see how easily and well the music transcribed. There were three problematic bars which simply did not sound good in the direct transcription so I had to change them a little bit (see if you can spot them - hint - one of them includes a jazz chord which Zelenka did not use, but one could easily imagine him doing so :cool:)

One of my current projects is a transcription of the Quoniam from Missa Dei Patris - anyone who disagrees that Zelenka was at all influenced by folk tradition better hear this. In the original version it sounds funky, in the piano version, it is basically like Haydn or early Beethoven. But I still have some way to go with that. I am also doing the double fugue (Cum sancto) from ZWV 30 because it is one of the most grand, climatic works he wrote, especially if you hear the raw, but full-blooded performance posted by the Russian conservatory posted on youtube (it is also begging for a professional recording - please, someone do this!!).

I see from your responses that you would like to hear how these transcriptions sound. I am not a strong pianist (any more) due to lack of time for playing. I also don't have good recording equipment. However, I will try to post recordings. To get us started, I recorded the ZWV83 transcription this evening. You can download it here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/27k9ixyp4fpwtuz/Zelenka_ZWV83_fugue_pno.mp3?dl=0. It is not a great performance and the sound quality is rubbish but I hope you get the idea, especially of the other-worldly opening section. The work stands up well against the best keyboard fugues of Bach and shows Zelenka's mastery in engineering great climaxes and releases in his contrapuntal writing, techniques he employed to wonderful effect in the immense fugues from his late works.

-RNKT