Zelenka-inspired works in the archives

  • It seems that work which is not by Zelenka but which is possibly or obviously inspired by him has not been discussed much. To get us started I have transcribed a rather grand "cum sancto spiritu" fugue from a mass in the digitized archive. A "midi" performance can be heard here. I am not smart enough to get the computer "choir" to sing words but I think you get the main idea! Obviously Zelenka is lurking large behind this fugue and one gets hints of both the equivalent section of ZWV 14 and even some of the great fugues of the last masses. So who wrote this? Before I tell all would anyone like to make an educated guess? Hint: it was written after 1729 (so that rules Heinichen out). I'll give you about a week ;)

    And please post any Zelenka-inspired works you know of!

  • This was quite mind-blowing to hear, even as a midi. A case of 'I can't believe it's not Zelenka'! Very exciting :cool:
    I'm going to guess it was one of his students, colleagues or successors, let's say... Schürer? Though, a quick look at his style in Masses on SLUB say that I'm aiming too late in time period.

    I have nothing in terms of the Sacred to suggest, but I do think Zelenka's instrumental music might have rubbed off on others, particularly the Trio Sonatas. You can hear this in some J.J Quantz oboe-bassoon pieces, and being a student of Zelenka makes this link more possible. Here's a recent CD promo for 'Dresda 1720' by Ensemble Zefiro, and you can hear a clip of one of these Quantz sonatas towards the end. Even the Fasch piece at the start of this video has some resonances with Zelenka to my ears... Then there are the Sonatas á Quattro by Califano (a prominent cellist at the Court who would have been in contact with Zelenka from the 1730s) which give some impression of Zelenka's sonatas occasionally. For eg.) this performance, amongst a few others available on YT, by the San Souci Ensemble. Dresden seemed to be the hub for this wind ensemble and 'Bassoon obbligato quartet' (see pg. 110 of J. Stockigt's book, referencing Stephen Zohn). But, perhaps it is difficult to disentangle the influences within this distinctive Dresden wind-ensemble style, especially if the dating for Zelenka's own sonatas isn't completely certain yet! Djdresden may want to chip in here, as I know he has some very interesting opinions on this topic... ;)

    Also, someone on YouTube once compared Buffardin's Concerto á 5 in E minor (whose composition date I can't find anywhere...) with the Kyrie of Missa Votiva ZWV18, but I can only slighlty hear it. Here it is performed by Musica Antiqua Köln. And here is a manuscript on imslp

  • I believe I have discovered that it is Gottlob Harrer.

    There is so much unrecorded and neglected music on archives like Slub. I hope someone records it all someday, even if only in amateurish productions. People are so fixated on the chosen few. Maybe midi technology will gets so good we can replace actual performers.

    I sing and play violin and keyboards so I could contribute to an amateur performance.

  • ... and we have a winner!

    Andrew4handel has correctly identified our mystery fugue as coming from a mass by Gottlob Harrer! He has been rewarded for his efforts with a very rare edition of a portrait of Zelenka, signed by the big man himself (jealous anybody?)

    Harrer's mass can be seen at the SLUB digital archive here. The manuscript is dated 1735. So that's after the final mass that Zelenka composed for such forces and at a time when he was probably working on the great ss. trinitatis mass and the two big oratorios. When I wrote that Zelenka seemed to be lurking behind Harrer's fugue I meant it literally. According to the RISM entry there are several corrections and suggestions in Zelenka's hand throughout the manuscript. It would be interesting to know if this was just an exercise piece by his student or if the work was actually performed. Perhaps Johannes or someone familiar with the relevant records can enlighten us. In any case it seems to be a fine work. Given that Harrer was transcribing Zelenka's music since the 1720s it is no surprise that his style seems very much in the mould of his master. I shall be midi-fying more of it in due course so we can get an impression. But Andrew4handel is right - this is just one of many great works in the archive yet to be performed.

    Thanks also to Xanaseb for reminding me of Schürer - at a first glance his works are also very much worth a look to find Zelenka influence. The hints about instrumental music are very interesting too.

  • In 2007 I wrote the following here in the Forum, on Zelenka’s student:

    "Harrer, a vital piece in the Zelenka puzzle, is an important link for the distribution of Zelenka's music outside of Dresden. When he passed away his musical library was sold to the Breitkopf firm who then offered it for sale in their famous catalogues, including a number of Zelenka's works which Harrer had copied in his years in Dresden as a Kapellmeister of Count Brühl and as an assistant to Zelenka. A recent book on Harrer gives a good impression on their working relationship and the way they collaborated, f.e. on Harrer's Mass which Zelenka entered in his Inventory. Harrer's Miserere is one of the most extraordinary manuscripts in the Dresden library. Not only is the final fugue probably composed by Zelenka, it also has tempo assignments by Hasse who very rarely directed works by other composers during his time in Dresden. It must have been quite a work! Harrer also copied many of the works in Zelenka's library.”

    The Mass in question was definitely performed in Dresden as was the Miserere, since parts for both works once existed in the Catholic church music archive.

    The Harrer Mass has some wonderful moments, great fugues, and is of course very Zelenka like. I have an excellent live recording from Dresden of this work – email me for a copy.

  • Thanks djdresden for showing me up for the fraud that I am! This work was indeed already performed - please forget my ignorant statement to the contrary in a posting above. The recording (highly recommended) confirms this to be a fine work and almost totally in the style of Zelenka! One number in the piece seems to stand out as not being so much influenced by him: the Qui tollis - an aria for soprano, strings and obbligato oboe. It's a Siciliano, a very fine one at that. Judging by Zelenka's usual highly satirical treatment of folk/dance-music in mass settings (see the Laudamus Te and Quoniam of ZWV 14 for prime examples) I am quite sure he rolled his eyes at Harrer's highly sentimental Siciliano but probably let it pass through because the lad did churn out some great fugues and used typical Zelenkan ostinatos in his Credo setting.

    I have to admit I fell immediately for Harrer's Siciliano and have already arranged it for piano - you can download it (plus a recording): here

    Listening to this you can imagine it played on a lute. Maybe Harrer heard Sylvius Leopold Weiss play this and decided to incorporate it into his mass. Discuss!

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