Credo ZWV 31 premiere, Collegium 1704

  • Friends,

    earlier this month Vaclav Luks and Collegium 1704 performed at the Smetana Festival in Litosmysl. The exciting program included what is announced as the modern day premiere of Credo ZWV 31, which Zelenka wrote as an insert into his reworking of Caldara’s Missa Providentiae. This Credo is yet another brilliant piece from the pen of our composer, with a haunting Crucifixus and wonderful Amen fugue. Jan Stockigt dates the Credo from c.1728, the remarkably rich “Psalmi Vespertini” period, and there are certainly some echoes to those settings.

    The excellent concert of Collegium 1704, which also included a beautiful Kyrie for two choirs and a Crucifixus by Caldara, in addition to a fine setting of Dixit Dominus by Galuppi, can be heard through this link:


    The website of Collegium 1704 announces a string of truly mouthwatering Prague concerts in the upcoming season. As is expected, Zelenka is well represented, for example with the Miserere ZWV 56, which one hopes will be recorded for release sooner rather than later. The real highlight for me is the concert of Telemann’s Brockes Passion (1716), which is the finest setting of the famous text. The music is incredibly powerful from start to finish as heard on the fantastic 3CD recording of Nicholas McGegan on Hungaroton. So I am hoping this April 2021 concert will be broadcast at some point.


  • And, to add to the entry above, this is not to be missed at any cost: Luks and Collegium 1704 performing Zelenka’s arrangement of Caldara’s stunning Missa Matris Dolorosa, from the masked Sepultura Domini session last April, as first introduced by MSL in April here in the Forum:

    I have four fine recordings of this Caldara Mass but this live performance tops it all. Zelenka figured the bass line and added dynamics sometime after 1725, according to Jan Stockigt. Judging by certain words/letters as written by the hand of Zelenka's still mysterious copyist ZS 0, I would place the Dresden manuscript close to, or soon after, 1730, as indeed reflected by its position in Zelenka’s Inventarium at Nr. 34 (Missa Xaverii ZWV 12 (1731/32) is the next entry at Nr. 35).

    The great Caldara was much performed in Dresden, not only by Zelenka but also by Heinichen, who had at least three works of the Italian composer in his collection. In my 2019 Zelenka conference paper on the Dresden Hofkapelle bass player and Zelenka's student/colleague/assistant Johann Samuel Kaÿser, I suggested that our composer used Caldara’s music to instruct Kaÿser in the art of composition, as demonstrated by their jointly copied manuscript of Caldara’s Missa dicta Reformata. Hopefully, Luks will perform that work one day, or the similarly fascinating Zelenka arrangement of Caldara’s Missa Quia mihi et tibi, whose multi-layered parts are still preserved in the Dresden Library (SLUB), documenting a performance history of several decades.


  • That was a sublime, top-class performance. Each showed a different facet to the jewel of 18thC sacred music. These three composers were absolute masters of that field, the music clearly shows.

    Again Zelenka surprises with this Credo! The sudden breakdown at 'at homo factus est', an extended and interesting 'crucifixus' and a jaw-dropping highly chromatic 'amen' fugue to finish, in keeping with those of his Vespers, indeed.

    Also, judging by these performances Caldara needs more attention by the musical world, thats for sure.

    Thanks djdresden!


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