Wolfgang Horn RIP

  • Dear friends,

    it is with a heavy heart that I report the tragic death of Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Horn, one of the great Zelenka scholars.

    Horn’s dissertation “Die Dresdner Hofkirchenmusik 1720–1745" was published in 1987 and stands as one of the landmark academic publications on the sacred music of the Dresden baroque, and Johann David Heinichen and Zelenka. He was also one of the main editors of the groundbreaking two-volume publication “Zelenka-Dokumentation” (1989), which brought together all source materials that were available at the time, transcripts of documents, timeline of Zelenka’s life, and discussion of his complete works in the form of what we all know as ZWV. In addition, Horn published a number of important articles on Zelenka, including his absolutely brilliant study on Zelenka’s main copyists. Most importantly, Horn prepared numerous choral editions for publishers like Breitkopf und Härtel and Carus-Verlag, thus making the works of our composer accessible to musicians all over the world and their listeners.

    When Adam Viktora announced that Horn was going to give a paper at the first Zelenka Festival-Conference in Prague in 2015, we were all thrilled. It was there were many of us first met the kind and warm person who we admired so much for his contribution to Zelenka’s research and revival. After the concerts and conferences in 2016 and 2017 we all listened in the restaurant Konírna with great attention to Horn, when he spoke of how he went about acquiring copies from the SLUB in the early 1980s, at a time when Germany was still divided. Horn, then an university student in Tübingen in West Germany, established a trusting connection with the late Wolfgang Reich in the SLUB in Dresden, who warmly welcomed Horn’s approach and passionate interest in Heinichen, Zelenka and the baroque music holdings of the library; the two went on to swap materials over a period of time, thus enabling Horn to finish his study and during the process becoming the leading authority on Zelenka’s music alongside Jan Stockigt. The whole story is nothing short of remarkable and one that must not be forgotten.

    When first meeting Horn in 2015 I sensed that he was pleasantly surprised but also very excited to see a new generation of scholars working on Zelenka. He sincerely felt that he still had much to give, and I for one was looking so very much forward to share with him my recent research and findings, which heavily rely on and complement his study on Zelenka’s copyists.

    Horn’s death at the age of 63 is a huge loss to Zelenka research and publication. On behalf of the members of the Zelenka Forum I send his family our deepest condolences.


  • This is tragic.

    I've only had brief contact with Prof. Horn, around the release of the ZWV 6 CD. He struck me as an overwhelmingly nice person. To share with everyone that little glimpse at what kind of man he was that was my honor to experience, here is the file he sent me afterwards: a nice message followed by an extremely clear reduction in his own hand of (fragments of) ZWV 6: https://www.dropbox.com/s/p1y9…WV6Exzerpt_WHorn.pdf?dl=0

  • I remember his insightful analysis of Zelenka's Mass compositions at the 2016 conference. For example, he pointed out that in his Masses, Zelenka almost never composed arias for a quartet of voices, but for a trio of voices at most. Then afterwards at the pub he was great and company with many stories, indeed.
    Zelenka research and performance would have been a lot poorer without his contributions - Rest in peace, Prof. Wolfgang Horn.

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