Which Zelenka pieces still need to be recorded?

  • Hello all,

    We've come to an amazing point now where the majority of Zelenka's works have been performed and recorded, including almost all of his truly 'great' compositions. How grateful we should be for this bountiful flourish of music over the past 10-15 years or so.

    But there are some more lurking around.

    Here's my bucket list. I wonder if you'd concur and if you have any which I may have missed which you much desire to be recorded, either for the first time or again in a better/improved way?

    [Pasted from this thread on new ZWV 3 video]
    1. I haven't personally heard any recordings of Zelenka's 'other' Miserere, ZWV 56, though I know it's come up in some performances over the years (please let me know if you have a recording of this!).
    2. Missa Eucharistica ZWV 15 would be well worth listening to, even though it's a bit truncated.
    3. I'd much love to hear like his 'a capella' Litaniae Lauretanae ZWV 150 for the pilgrimage to the Marian shrine at Graupen (Krupka) in 1725. This is a simple work which any ensemble should be able to pull off with ease (I would love my own choirmaster to give it a go)
    4. The other half of the Sub Tuum Praesidium ZWV 157 would be great to hear.
    5. Then there's the series of late 1720s Masses, glorious belters that could do with fresher recordings, especially Missa Circumcisionis ZWV 11 & Missa Gratias Agimus Tibi ZWV 13.

    All the best,

    Seb :cool:

  • Recordings of these Masses are urgently needed: ZWV 2 and of course 15. Hopefully Ensemble Inegal will record 4, which they performed in Prague couple of years ago. New recordings of 11 and 13 are needed, too.

    Complete recordings of Sub tuum ZWV 157 and the six Ave Reginas of 128.

    The 1724 Te Deum ZWV 145 and Lamentationes ZWV 54.

    Requiem ZWV 49.

    The six trumpet fanfares ZWV 212.

    The secular motet Qui nihil sortis felicis videt ZWV 211 – one of the most pleasant and joyful Zelenka compositions. And all the antiphons, psalms and hymns…….

    In addition to the above, I think it is necessary for us to hear music composed by some of Zelenka’s colleagues and students, f.e. Buz, Kaÿser, Uhlig, Harrer and Schürer, and also the music of many of the composers he collected in his inventory. This helps us to further appreciate and understand the music heard in the Catholic court church during Zelenka’s tenure and how it influenced his compositions.

    In this context, we also need more recordings of Ristori and Heinichen. After a flurry of 1990s CD releases with the orchestral and sacred music of the latter a long lull followed, but two recent recordings have demonstrated again what a brilliant composer Heinichen was. The first is the CPO release of the opera Flavio Crispo (1720), and the second a Batzdorfer Hofkapelle CD with Italian cantatas and concertos (Accent). Both come highly recommended. The 2018 CPO release of three of Ristori’s sacred works, a Mass, a Miserere and a Litany of Saint Xaver, is a great example of why he was so dearly loved at the Dresden court. The music is beautiful and moving. The Litany dates from the 1720s and comes from the private collection of Maria Josepha; Zelenka must have directed a performance of this (in the early 1730s when Ristori was in Moscow and Warsaw, or/and between 1738 and 1740 when he was in Naples) since his performance markings are found in the leather-bound autograph (D-Dl, Mus.2455-D-1).

    And then there is Breunich who, along with Ristori, succeeded Zelenka as church composer in 1746, but was already in 1741 working alongside the Bohemian in Dresden. Apart from an old 7” with a flute concerto and even older LP with a Te Deum (1739), not a single note has been released on CD of Breunich’s music. Recently, a cache of his sacred works, a part of the SLUB collection taken to Russia in 1945, has been scanned by the Russian National Library and placed online. Perhaps this will result in an increased awareness and much needed performances. The same applies to Zelenka’s teacher, Kapellmeister Johann Christoph Schmidt. What a bummer that so much of his oeuvre is lost. But what I have heard is very very good indeed.

  • Well, I downloaded 10+ pieces by Breunich to inspect and possibly edit. Of the complete ones, the Scapulis Suis and the two Salve Regina settings seem to be musically the most interesting (to me; I'm doing the SR too). However, the Miserere would seem to me to be a really fine discovery and, according to my inner ears, it could become a 'hit', if the niche we're interested in has anything like that :-); it's a shame there are parts missing in what's freely available online...

  • If my knowledge of Czech language (i.e, google translate) is up to date, it seems that Ensemble Inegal will indeed (as predicted by djdresden) record ZWV 4 on CD (in November of this year). From a yesterday’s posting on their Facebook page: “Další Zelenkova díla, Missu Sancti Spiritu a Litaniae Lauretanae se chystáme v listopadu natočit na CD a uvedeme ji také v Praze.“

  • I'm very curious which setting of Litaniae Lauretanae Ensemble Inégal will be recording along with ZWV 4. Anyone have any insider information? We can rule out ZWV 151 'Consolatrix afflictorum', which they already recorded. ZWV 152 'Salus infirmorum' is one of Zelenka's greatest masterpieces in my view, but inexplicably has still had only the one commercial recording. The Bernius rendition (recorded 32 years ago now!) is superb in my view, but another top-tier recording would be heartily welcomed. But there's also the two earlier settings ZWV 149 & 150, which have no recordings.

    By the way, I notice the previous sentence in that post is translated by Facebook as "We will have a vegetable whirlwind in the form of several versions of Mass to St. Cecelia.." :D

    Edit: I answered my own question. It will be ZWV 149, as per the Ensemble Inégal website.

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