Psalmi Vespertini III

  • Here's a list I've put together for Zelenka's third cycle of Psalmi Vespertini, in anticipation of Inégal's next recording (also see the great comments by l'infastido in this thread:(

    Full list of settings c. 1728, as listed by the 'Inventarium':
    (extant psalms in bold)

    ZWV 69 - Dixit Dominus (F major) - SATB strings & 2 Oboes - MISSING
    ZWV 79 - Laudate Pueri (A minor) - SSATB 'stromenti ad libitum' - MISSING
    ZWV 106 - Magnificat (A minor) - SSATB 'Instrumenti ad libitum' - MISSING
    ZWV 89 - Laetatus sum (D major) - SATB strings & oboes ad lib - MISSING
    ZWV 93 - Nisi Dominus (A minor) - SATB strings & ?ad libitum - MISSING
    ZWV 103 - Lauda Jerusalem (D minor) - SATB strings & oboes ad lib - MISSING
    ZWV 70 - Confitebor tibi Domine (A minor) - SATB & strings
    ZWV 84 - In Exitu Israel (G minor) - SATB 'Instrumenti ad libitum' *

    ZWV 77 - Beatus Vir (D minor) - SATB & strings - MISSING
    ZWV 91 - Inconvertendo (G minor) - SATB & strings
    ZWV 87 - Laudate Dominum omnes gentes (F major) - SATT(solo)B & strings *
    ZWV 94 - Beati Omnes (G minor) - SATB & strings
    ZWV 100 - Confitebor Angelorum (B-flat maj) - SATB & strings
    ZWV 98 - Memento Domine David (E-flat maj) - SATB & strings *
    ZWV 101 - Domine probasti me (F major) - SATB & strings

    * As far as I know, only these three psalms have been recorded on CD before!

    Jan Stockigt discusses a number of the existing psalms in her book. That makes me look forward to them! They all cleverly suit the texts, but are mostly pretty compact, as l'infastido notes. If you want to get a glimpse, the best way is through SLUB & You can also hear a couple on the 'audio' section of

    Missing Psalms

    Out of all of the cycles, this one has suffered the most missing manuscripts. The history of those missing pieces is interesting, as according to the 1765 catalogue compiled under Schürer, the autographs were already missing. Only the parts still survived (which therefore presumably still made them playable for the Hofkapelle). That is why we no longer have them, because almost all part-books were taken from the city in 1945 during the Soviet 'liberation'.

    These missing psalms together could technically make a complete 'Vespers for the Blessed Virgin' ('della Beata Virgine' like the famous set by Monteverdi). Interesting to note is that the Dixit and Magnificat are both in minor keys, which is different to previous cycles. Also, the Magnificat is SSATB and 'instrumenti ad libitum'. The loss of this set of psalms is so tragic and tantalising to fantasise about... if and when these are recovered from their hiding place in Russia, they should make a nice stand-alone recording!

  • The war loot taken from Dresden in 1745-46 was split between the different institutions in the former Soviet Union. So the music removed from the SLUB, including the missing vesper psalms listed above, likely ended up in the music collections of city and university libraries all over the country. For example, the Russian State Library in Moscow holds what seems to be items from Zelenka’s collection with the letters A (Aldrovandini, Allegri, Ariosti etc.), and other materials as well. These can now be viewed in the online-catalogue of the library.

    This library also holds a large chunk of the missing libretto collection of the SLUB, which always was thought to have perished in 1945. This is of importance for Zelenka research as well, because he would have prepared many of the little labels affixed to these, as a part of his cataloguing and custodianship of the royal music library in Dresden. Moreover, a lot of these librettos are manuscript copies and likely in the hand of the Dresden court poets (Pallavicini etc.), and hold vital information for the authorship of texts of missing works, names of performers, and possibly comments of August III or Maria Josepha on the contents – as we have seen in the few existing Dresden librettos in the SLUB and in the Berlin State Library. This is a major study for which I have already done much work by partly reconstructing the long lost catalogues assembled by Zelenka, but one that can only be finalised with a visit to Moscow.

    The Glinka Museum in Moscow also holds items from the SLUB. In preparation for my article on the secular vocal collection of Zelenka I asked the music director and conductor Nikolay Khondzinsky, who we know for his spirited performances of Zelenka, to visit the museum to look at a volume of cantatas which I suspected to include music from Zelenka’s collection. In spite of several attempts he found it was practically impossible to get access, and this is the problem in a nutshell. The war loot is still a delicate issue in Russia and it is likely that the parts from the Zelenka collection are still kept under lock and key in the largest cities in the country, and in the former territories of the Soviet Union. Unfortunately, the window of opportunity that was open for a short period during the rule of Boris Yeltsin, and allowed for the return of the Sing-Akademie collection from Ukraine, was firmly shut when Putin took office.

    The cataloguing of the Sing-Akademie collection is long finished and by now well documented in several publications. And our Zelenka was well presented, as I reported on here in 2007. It has proved to be a near bottomless treasure trove, which still is revealing its secrets through the many anonymous works, as I have found out during my ongoing study of Johann Joseph Adam, prince of Liechtenstein and patron of Vivaldi.

    When it comes to the missing works of Zelenka, the situation is this as I see it: we desperately need a very, very wealthy patron burning with passion for the composer, who would be willing to donate large amounts of money to fund a long-standing systematic search in Russian libraries and archives. Anyone, please:)?

  • I prefer to order from the original source - Nibiru:

    I am sure many (including me) would have loved to order it from Nibiru and support this great label "at the source". However, it took nearly a week from the CD being already available at (after being pre-advertised there since early December I should add) until the nibiru online shop was updated to include the new disc. If anyone here has a connections at Nibiru maybe they can suggest to have future discs online earlier, even before release as a "placeholder", like at

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