Website's future

  • Dear members,

    The forum has never before been frequented by so many enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and serious-minded people. It started in 2006, and the Discover Zelenka website started 4 years earlier, in 2002. Personally, I feel that my contribution to the Zelenka revival has been fairly substantial (in a modest sort of a way), but next year I will be retiring -- which means that things must change. Either the whole operation will be closed down, or a new chapter in the history of the site must begin...

    If the website and forum are to continue in any shape or form after the spring of 2018, they must be taken over (and paid for) by someone else. That person must have a burning desire to further the music of Zelenka, must be comfortable with internet technology (especially new developments), must be willing to keep a rather precious database of recordings up to date, must be willing to oversee all contributions to a forum or similar medium, and must be willing to finance (or find a source of revenue for) the running of the operation.

    Technically, the forum rides on the back of the Discover Zelenka website, so at the moment it is one operation. The timetable is as follows:

    The domain "" expires on 26 May 2018, which has a fee for DNS redirection.
    The domain "" expires on 22 May, 2018.
    The whole website is paid up until 17 July, 2018.

    Personally, I feel that both the website and the forum need a facelift, and the easiest way for someone to do that would be to start from scratch with a new site that opens shortly after July 2018. If that sounds appealing, I can supply a (then) very recent "dump" of the recordings database (in MySQL) and a similar dump of the forum entries (also in MySQL). I might add that vBulletin has a service whereby they can get a new version of the forum up and running for you at a modest cost, given a dump.

    I see this as a happy announcement, as nothing is forever and life moves on. At this juncture, it is in no way a disaster or crisis situation -- so please, everyone, please put on your thinking caps and come up with a good idea for a new Zelenka site. Or perhaps even for two separate ones!

    I will be happy to help wherever possible.


    p.s. I can be reached at

  • Hello everyone,

    By Royal Decree (of course!):

    I would like to announce that Discover Zelenka has found a new ruler in the magnanimous King Maximilian, Holy Roman Emperor, forever August; King of Germany, of Hungary, Dalmatia, Croatia; Archduke of Austria; Duke of Burgundy, Brabant, Lorraine, Styria, Carinthia, Carniola, Limburg, Luxembourg, Gelderland; Landgrave of Alsace; Prince of Swabia; Count Palatine of Burgundy; Princely Count of Habsburg, Hainaut, Flanders, Tyrol, Gorizia, Artois, Holland, Seeland, Ferrette, Kyburg, Namur, Zutphen; Margrave of the Holy Roman Empire, the Enns, Burgau; Lord of Frisia, the Wendish March, Pordenone, Salins, Mechelen, etc. etc. -- these days also known simply as King Max.


    Of course, there is inevitably some sadness in such a moment when Discover Zelenka, a fruit of the loving labour of Alistair (and everyone who helped him along the way), is taken over by another person; however, one can also look at this as a renewal which will continue the long-standing efforts and tradition dedicated to spreading the word about the truly magnificent music of Jan Dismas Zelenka.

    My immediate plans are to look into options for re-hosting the forum and the site itself before May next year, and also to determine if a better software platform exists for running the forum. I will also be looking to modernize the design of (e.g. making it mobile-friendly). If this sounds a little unsettling, have no fear -- I won't be introducing any new taxes :p -- I want to reassure everyone that I will try to keep to a "Baroque web" aesthetic. As to the content, I will be looking to preserve what is already on the site: about Zelenka's life, his music, recordings, everything really! I certainly appreciate that in many ways the contributing authors of the Discover Zelenka content as a whole are you, members of the Zelenka forum who contribute news, ideas, etc. In this way I hope that together we will continue the work that Alistair started 15 years ago.

    It will take some time for the site's new design to be settled and implemented and for the forum to be transferred. A "preview" version might be available before the middle of next year (when Alistair plans to retire), but I won't make any promises. No reasonably diplomatic king can do that! ;)

    In the meanwhile, if you have any suggestions for the Discover Zelenka site or forum (e.g. any features you would like to see), please let me know by PM. The vBulletin courier will deliver it to me in person in my royal palace. :cool:

    Best wishes to all,
    -- King Max

  • Terrific news indeed - and a relief! does hold something very special and rare, and, as Alistair said, the forum is lucky to have people who give it such a buzz. I'm glad that things can be worked forwards into a future, and I'm sure it will be a great one. Zelenka lives on.

    Thank-you King Max for taking up the mantle, I pledge my fealty in your reign...

    ...seriously though, rest assured you'll have help and support in this :)

  • Thank you, everyone, for your support, I really appreciate it! At the moment I am looking at where the best place to host the site is (in terms of cost, ease of migrating the forum, etc.), what tools to use for the site's design, and roughly how the design will look like. I will get in touch when this change-over is complete. In the meanwhile, if there are any ideas for new features or new content on top of what is already included on the Discover Zelenka site, then please let me know or simply post your ideas here -- it will be great to work together on implementing them and thus add to Alistair's wonderful work.

  • Well, time does go by quickly! But then, ruling over a whole empire is not an easy task :rolleyes:.

    I wanted to let everyone know that, after a long wait, the time has come to finally transfer Discover Zelenka: first the "background" of and the forum (you won't see any changes at all initially), and then transitioning to a new look and new forum software. I should add that the "new look" site is not ready yet, however, this week-end (June 23/24) the "background" of the site will be moved over to a new web hosting provider, so there may be some downtime -- both of the site and the forum. Hopefully not for too long though! I will write again and place my seal on the letter when this is complete... :)

    This also marks the end of Alistair's last efforts in maintaining Discover Zelenka, which he has been continuing to do quietly while I have been busy with wars, conquering countries, building palaces, etc. :p I would like to take this opportunity to thank Alistair for all his efforts, not only in creating this wonderful site (of course!) but also continuing to make small adjustments over the last year.

    And now, let's all hold tight while the ship sails forward...

  • Thanks, King Max!

    I am sure that I speak for all of us when I wish you luck in doing the transfer, and in continuing to look after what I started 16 years ago. It has been a lot of fun, and very educational, to be part of the reincarnation of the great Zelenka in the 21st century.

    A special thanks also to all the contributors to the forum who continue their intellectual input, and to all the truly great artists who have recorded Zelenka's music over the years -- keeping his name green both here on Earth and on the platform of the stars (to quote Kittel).

    I'll be around on the forum for a while yet, but KingMaximillian has taken a weight off my ageing shoulders and we all owe him a big Thank You!

  • I have a matter for exploration about Zelenka which could be an early subject for research under our new Ruler.

    In the UK, I have listened to and been impressed on BBC Radio 3 with Clemency Burton-Hill. Her musical knowledge is most impressive and I usually have liked her choices and the quality of the performances that she has presented - and her charming way of providing listeners with new insights into the music.

    I have bought her excellent book "Year of Wonder - Classical Music for every day" that has 366 pieces of music with a page of comments by Clemency Burton-Hill about the music chosen for that day. I have told my friend David Nelson (who passed it on to Alistair Kidd) about the entry for 12 March. This is Zelenka's 1738 Miserere in C Minor and Alistair shares my immediate reaction that what Clemency has suggested cannot possibly be a main reason why Bach was so anxious "to get an appointment at the same court - (i.e. at Dresden) - just to be closer to his hero".

    What I am sure about is that there can have been very few people who could match JS Bach's musical intellect and Zelenka - if not quite a "hero" - could still have been very special to Bach for that reason alone. Perhaps "hero" is going a bit far but I like to think that exchanges between Bach and Zelenka could have been very rewarding to both men.

    Andrew Hinds

  • This is Zelenka's 1738 Miserere in C Minor and Alistair shares my immediate reaction that what Clemency has suggested cannot possibly be a main reason why Bach was so anxious "to get an appointment at the same court - (i.e. at Dresden) - just to be closer to his hero".

    That's great that Zelenka made the book. But, it would be a shame if new myths like this caught on because of a backlash to the previous ones - too often are opinions or general statements taken as fact rather than speculation. Part of the problem is that people researching on Zelenka don't know where to turn to without paying some extra time & effort. The newest version of the Wikipedia page (updated by djdresden a year or so ago) went some way to addressing this, but it is no where near perfect.

    I would speculate that, being one of the main people responsible for the Dresden Catholic Church music program during the late-1720s-30s, Zelenka would have in the very least indirectly affected J.S. Bach, due to the great contemporary and older pieces collected and kept by him for use by the Court. Does this mean that Bach would have at some point(s) attended Masses & services in Dresden...? Or would he have come across them in other ways? Where did he get is apparent enchantment with the Catholic Mass composition form (the book 'Exploring Bach's B-minor Mass' ed. Yo Tomita goes some way into discussing this - Dr. Stockigt's chapter, especially)? As for your speculation, Andrew, I reckon that that would make sense. Many of these top composers were in touch with each other. Telemann for eg.), a mutual contact. No doubt they would have had very interesting exchanges, indeed.


  • Hello everyone,

    After a long period, injuries sustained from various campaigns, and many adventures, the new Discover Zelenka has been released (see ;)). Although some sections are still under construction (and will be for at least a little longer), the site's re-design has been accomplished. If you notice anything anomalous as you browse through, or if you wish to express your admiration (or conversely), please write an honourable letter on parchment and address it to me at "The Online Summer Palace of King Maximilian the First" -- i.e. just send me a quick e-mail :D.

    It would be great to see the site's content translated into several other languages in the future, e.g. German, French and Dutch. The task is not as onerous as it may seem... Probably using Google translate and fixing the errors would be sufficient to produce something that, while maybe not ideal, would nonetheless be better than what visitors would receive by relying solely on Google. Please let me know if you would be interested in doing this.

    Over the coming weeks I hope to migrate the forum also. Please save any Personal Messages (PMs) you may wish to keep as soon as you can, as unfortunately these cannot be transferred.

    Viva Zelenka!

    Best wishes,
    -- King Max

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