Visiting the Saxon State Library

  • Colleagues,
    Has anyone had any experience visiting the Saxon State Library in Dresden to examine the Zelenka manuscripts? I am planning to visit there in less than a month to do research on the Missa Dei Filii ZWV 20 and just see as many of the mass manuscripts that I can, in whatever format is allowed.

    I can't seem to find the Missa Dei Filii manuscript listed as being held there when I search their database, and because my german is limited, I am struggling to decipher the paperwork protocol that the library requires for access to the manuscripts that are there.

    I have sent more than one inquiry to the library and have received instructions in german that I am uncertain of. I have also sent a message to the attention of Dr. Geck with no response. Is this worth the trip? Does anyone know the whereabouts of the Missa dei Filii manuscript?

    I wrote my doctoral document on the Missa Dei Filii and am just trying to take the next step in learning more about his writing, especially his masses, and the atmosphere at Dresden first hand. If I knew for certain the the Missa Dei Filii manuscript was there and how to access viewing it (in whatever allowable format) I would be relieved. I certainly can not fault the library for my limited german, but I am hoping for some assistance.

    Your advice would be appreciated.

  • Hi. As far as I know, the manuscript you want has the number 2358-D-15. I have looked through it with my own bare hands. The staff are usually very helpful, but Dr Geck is not famous for answering his e-mails! The best thing you can do is phone and talk to someone who is comfortable with English, and explain the situation. Give them the exact date you are coming at least a few days in advance, so that the ms can be ready for you. They will also prepare a visitor's security card for you to collect at the front desk. Find out the times they open and close, and remember that weekend visits are out. You are only allowed to see about 5 works at a time, and you must do it in their special reading room. No photographs can be taken, but the ones they supply (after ordering) are excellent.

    You will certainly get a buzz out of going there. If you walk out from town, past the main railway station, be sure to take a look at Lukaskirche (St. Luke's Church; a famous venue for recording), which is on a side street not far from the library.

  • Hello,

    Here is how I searched the catalog:
    - to change the language to english : St George's Cross flag at the bottom left
    - Collections : Music department
    - About music department
    - catalogue of the collection of handwritings and old prints up to and including 1983
    - search "Zelenka"
    - You need Java installed. To have bigger pictures : Menü/Hilfe->Anzeigegröße ändern->...
    The cards can be printed with "Drucken", I printed all cards (von Bild Nr. bis Nr.) in one pdf.
    - advance 9 times +10, 3 times +1,
    - Here you should have 2358-D15, it is writen :
    the Gloria misses the "Gratias agimus" up to "Filius Patris amen"
    the end fugue of the Gloria "Cum Sancto spiritu", previously 2358-D-80, was put back in 1979

    Also :
    - if you have the opportunity, ask about any new Zelenka manuscript (from Moscow...).
    - at the Zentralbibliothek Mediathek there is a lot of material (search result # in general catalog SLUB-Katalog) :
    #138 un unpublished audio recording (Tonbandkassette) of the mass Purificationis ZWV16
    #147 ZWV20 to compare with the manuscripts and read the editor comments in German.
    #181 a Requiem
    - copies of transcriptions of unpublished works edited by (pages 70-73 of catalog) should be available.

    Never been there, lucky you !


  • Colleagues,
    I have just returned from a week long trip to Dresden to visit the Saxon State Library and other historic sites relating to Zelenka in town.

    After many emails with kind staff members at the library and a few missteps when I arrived there, I was able to look at the actual autograph manuscript of the Missa Dei Filii and look at microfilms of other manuscripts. I was surprised at how sturdy the pages of the manuscript were; I was expecting something much more fragile.

    The library is aesthetically beautiful; contemporary wood paneling throughout and multi levels in a modern design. Although I had made advance arrangements to examine copies of the manuscripts, I was unprepared to find that regular music scores are in closed stacks and have to be requested in advance as well. All of the collected works were in open stacks.

    I met Dr. Geck who was very gracious and who apologized for the complexity of the system at the library. They are understaffed and have to do the best they can.

    I visited the Hofkirche, heard an organ recital on the Silbermann organ, (fabulous!) and attended a church service on Sunday and heard the kappelleknaben. There was information posted in the church about the its renovations and history. They also had some information posted about notable composers associated with the church and I was surprised (and shocked!) that they only listed Carl Maria von Weber and Hasse! Zelenka still can't get a break!

    I also visited some of the museums that contained the immense collections of August the Strong and August III. My impression is that with all of the wealth that these two monarchs expended on artwork, one would think that Zelenka could have been compensated properly for his contributions.

    Many thanks to those who gave advice earlier.

  • As to the finding of Indiana from 24-06-2010 that there was no information about Jan Dismas Zelenka as a notable composer associated with the Hofkirche in Dresden (a marvellous church indeed, splendidly restored after having been destructed in WW II). The reason could be sought in the fact that Zelenka was a Czech (or Böhme in German) by origin and thus for a long time he was not accepted as a local composer. This might even be the reason why Zelenka was not appreciated and remunerated according to his true qualities as one of the most fascinating composers of the 18th century by the Royal Court of Saxony. I am sorry to say this. What do other members of the Forum think about such an assumption? Otherwise, we all know that after WW II there has been a large number of German musicians who have done a lot of passionate work for Zelenka´s heritage. Still, it would be interesting to know what those people who are currently responsible for the cultural life in Dresden really do for exploiting the fact that their city was home for more than thirty years for an ingenious man called Zelenka.

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