Please check out this newest performance by the Czech ensemble, of the *other* Miserere, ZWV56 in D minor from 1722 (not the famous ZWV57 in C minor from 1738). They did a fantastic job.
This piece was written for Lenten Holy Week sacred music, finishing Matins in the afternoon (as it was customarily held in Dresden).
From Dr. Janice Stockigt's book:
'...Zelenka set Ps. 50(51), Miserere (ZWV56), an extended work comprising several polyphonic movements, including retrograde canons for the setting of verse 15, 'Docebo. . . convertentur (titled 'Versetto circolare'). This movement was later retexted and published at the conclusion of the fourth lesson of Telemann's fortnightly journal Der getreue Musicmeister (...began in 1728) as 'Canon mit 14 Verkehrungen' (ZWV179 [Cantate Domino]).' - pg. 113.
The polyphony is interesting indeed, but there's plenty of other good stuff in it too. The opening is probably my favourite. Note that the second, ostinato, movement is the same composition as the Christe Eleison from ZWV26, recorded last year by Collegium 1704 in 'Missa 1724'.
Dr. Stockigt also cites how the piece was received (or almost received) by the Catholic Royal Court in Dresden in 1722, quoting from the Jesuit Diarium:
"[Wednesday in Holy Week, 1 April] At about 3.30pm. Matins, Lamentations and Responses, Benedictus and finally, the Miserere, composed by Zelenka. The Prince and Princess were present throughout Matins. However, as the composed works were too long, the Prince had someone persuade Zelenka to shorten the singing. As a result the Miserere was omitted , and on subsequent days it was read in the usual manner." - pg. 87.
Poor Mr. Zelenka! He should have seen it coming, though
Then in 1737 this note is made by the Jesuits:
"8 Apr. At four o'clock, a very long Miserere was produced by Zelenka." - pg. 219.
Presumably, therefore, he got it out there in the end, unless they're referring to the other famous one, perhaps performed the year previous to the dating.
Enjoy listening, thanks to Collegium 1704.