A set of parts discovered in Dresden

  • Friends,

    I'd like to draw your attention to the ambitious project currently underway in the Dresden State and University Library (SLUB), namely the high resolution digitalisation of all the manuscripts from the legendary "Schrank II". This housed Pisendel's library plus a good deal more instrumental music; in other words, this is the orchestral and chamber music repertoire of the famous Dresden orchestra up to ca. 1765 when the manuscripts were put in order. Earlier it was estimated that this collection contained around 1700 works, but during the digitalisation process this number has risen to 1800, with some unexpected findings appearing during the way.

    As it stands, six Zelenka numbers have been scanned in and can now be enlarged and looked at in all its glory. And there is a treat; an unknown set of parts have surfaced for the Simphonie ZWV 189, in the hands of court viola player and copyist J.G. Morgenstern. Clearly this has only recently been discovered, earlier these parts were kept, according to the old card catalogue, as an anonymous "Concerti Grossi". The new set has been given the SLUB number: Mus. 2358-N-9a.

    The scanning process is roughly half along the way, and hopefully there will be more surprises as there are literally dozens of anonymous works in the collection. The project should be finished mid 2010. One wonders what will then happen - will the 18th century repertoire of Catholic Court Church get the same treatment?

    For more info go to:


  • Another star performance, Johannes! What intriguing information is coming to light here.

    In looking through the catalogue, it seems that there are two manuscripts of music by Zelenka described as "Suites" - 611 & 612 & two manuscripts described as "Symphonies" - 675 & 676. Are these works that are known to have ZWV numbers or are they new discoveries?

    My guess is that the library's 1800 items will provide several copies of the same works that are already known to us but it is not possible to tell without additional descriptions. Can anyone help and tell us more, please?

    What makes me guess in this way is that there are 20 or 30 Pisendel entries and Pisendel's total known output that he did not destroy does not amount to so many as 30 items from what I have read. It would be marvellous to find some more as he is such a good composer.

    Andrew Hinds

  • The scores seems to be ZWV 182,183,186,188,189.

    I placed in the repository a mockup of the Concerto for oboe in E flat by Giovanni Alberto Ristori. It has been performed by Reinhard Goebel in 2000, but no CD since.

    About Pisendel, it is writen in his site : "In Vorbereitung: Dresden-Concerti by Pisendel, Dieupart, Buffardin, Ristori e.a."


  • The decision has obviously been taken to give english names to these works to standardize the collection, but the ZWV numbers can also be seen plus the library numbers(f.e. Mus. 2358-N-9a) which can then be compared to the work list in Stockigt's book. For more results we'll have to wait patiently although it has to be said they are working very quickly in Dresden.

    Andrew, you will be glad to know that there was one Pisendel work in the Sing Akademie collection and I think it is an unica. Perhaps more will surface here.

    And SK, thanks a million for that Ristori! There is no cd recording, just a very, very old and completely unavailable LP. Oboist Steve Hammer and Musica Antiqua Köln also played this live many years ago and I have desperately been trying to hunt down a radio recording that was done in the US but to no avail, so this is most welcome and very well done. Any chance of you doing the rest of the concerto? It could perhaps help answer the burning question who Ristori wrote it for - A) Johann Christian Richter pre 1738, or B) Antonio Besozzi post 1738. This Andante part has a galant feeling about it so I'd go for the latter. Ristori met Besozzi in Naples 1738 and probably played his part in hiring him for the Dresden orchestra one year later. Crown Prince Friedrich Christian said on hearing Besozzi in Naples autumn 1738 that he played well but Richter played better and had a nicer tone. However as soon as Besozzi came to Dresden he became Chamber Oboist, Richter lost his first position, became melancholic and ended his life by putting a razor to his throat in 1744... Does this inspire you SK?


  • It inspire me that it requires better than a 'second couteau' oboist.
    I did the whole concerto, it should be very galant, forgive my oboist...

    Let's now see another manuscript... Pisendel Mus.2421-O-15, a nice concerto for Violin in e-moll.

    Thanks for the anecdote,

  • Thank you very, very much SK, for bringing to life the only preserved Ristori concert. That was truly brilliant, and quite well done by your oboist! And let's put this post 1740. For more oboe concertos from the Schranck II collection, I can recommend the cd Oboe Concerti at the Dresden Court, which includes music by Pisendel, Fasch, Heinichen, Valentini and two Anonymous works. This is performed by the Batzdorfer Hofkapelle and oboists Zenia Löffler and Michael Bosch, and released on Accent. And next year Accent will release a cd with works by Ristori played by Echo du Danube, and another Batzdorfer cd with more Schrank II works.

    I am looking forward to hear the Pisendel e-moll concerto. SK, you have chosen a most interesting work; although Köpp has included this in his Pisendel work list, there is debate on the authenticity. German musicologist Manfred Fechner, who knows the Schrank II collection better than most, states that this is very likely not by Pisendel. However, Ortrun Landmann, one of the most distinguished Dresden scholars, says this is Pisendel, or at least a very "strong" reworking of an anonymous work. And indeed, the "Arbeitspartitur" is based on two anonymous sets of parts(Mus. 2-O-1,41a and Mus. 2-O-1,41b), which we will probably see later during the scanning process. Köpp tips this into Pisendel's favour because, as you can see on the top of the first page, of the two greek symbols which Pisendel's usually wrote into his autographs.

    Of all the already scanned manuscripts there are a few which are truly unique and exciting, because they written by Zelenka's colleagues, the members of the Dresden orchestra. Apart from Pisendel's works, the collection includes works by Chamber Violinist Francesco Maria Cattaneo. It shines through one of Pisendel's letters to Telemann, that he had reservations about Cattaneo: "Herr Cattaneo's laziness is making him more hated at the court... Still, that is his own affair". But he was considered very good, Kittel praised his "nimble" playing in the Virtuosen poem, and he ended up succeeding Pisendel as Concertmaster in 1755. Of the five Cattaneo works three are in the hand of Pisendel. But of course, not a single note has been released on cd of Cattaneo's music, so if your chamber group should sit idle any time SK, then perhaps you can give us one more insight into the world of our reverred orchestra.

    Another curiosity is the Violin Sonata of Francesco Hunt who was also a member of the orchestra. Hunt played for decades as a rank and file member in the violin section, and later, as so often in Dresden where family traditions were upheld, so did his son. Again, this very short piece is in the hand of Pisendel. SK or others, can you please share with us your opinions about the musical quality of this one.

    And finally, Johann Adam was the viola player and composer of ballet music for the opera in Dresden. A very enjoyable cd called Contredanses from the Dresden Court includes a couple of his lovely dance pieces, but nothing is known of his more serious music like the flute concerto which was, as can be seen in the notes to the work, once ascribed to Quantz.


  • Hello,

    I uploaded some mockups at skiaouros.dyndns.org :

    - Mus.2455-O-1 : Concerto for oboe in Eb by Giovanni Alberto Ristori

    - Mus.2421-O-15 : Concerto in eb by Pisendel

    - Mus.2389-O-49 : Concerto for two violins RV508 by Vivaldi, re-scored by Pisendel who added oboes and bassoons.

    - Mus.2468-O-1 : Concerto in D for violin and bassoon by Francesco Maria Cattaneo
    - Mus.2468-O-2 : Concerto in A for violin by F.M. Cattaneo

    - Mus.3701-O-1 : Concerto in G for flauto traverso by Johann Adam

    - Mus.2375-R-1 : Sonata in A for violin by Franz (Francesco) Hunt


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