Dresden manuscripts in Moscow

  • Friends,

    fantastic news from Dresden, it is now official that a great deal of the music manuscripts that vanished after 1945 are kept in the Glinka Museum and the Russian State Library in Moscow. This has long been the suspicion (f.e. in Jan Stockigt's paper on the 1765 Catalogo, see Further reading) and now it is confirmed by Dr. Karl W. Geck in last years 3rd edition of the SLUB Kurier (Saxon State and University Library newsletter). Visiting Moscow he looked at a number of manuscripts, including some who would have been in Zelenka's collection. The ones he mentions are probably the parts for works by Aldrovandini, Ariosti and Allegri's famous Miserere of which Zelenka's copy in Dresden is one of the earliest examples outside of the Vatican according to Wolfgang Horn.

    This is incredibly exciting and as Dr. Geck says, could be "the tip of an imaginary iceberg". And he only looked through the letters A-C. The losses of the Dresden Library at the time included: The performance parts of the Catholic Court Church, 19th century manuscripts, librettos from the 18th century, opera partitures by Galuppi, Paer etc, and other opera and church music manuscripts, and it seems there are existing examples from all those categories.

    Now we can only hope that the musicologists will be able to access this soon, but it will certainly be some time until we find out more, f.e. if all the Zelenka missing parts are there and possibly some missing works. What I really would like to see surface are the many missing works by Ristori and all the lost works from the Inventarium. And there are bound to be surprises in there as well!

    In this context it is right to mention the vast collection of the Sing-Akademie Berlin which was brought back from Kiev, Ukraina in 2001 after it was considered lost in WWII. In it there are supposed to be 8 works by Zelenka, including ZWV 57, ZWV 8, Ecce quomodo from ZWV 55 and Cum Sancto Spiritu from ZWV 4. If anyone can shed a light on the remaining works it would be very much appreciated.

  • Dear DJ Dresden
    It is indeed marvellous news. What a shame that Dr Geck didn't start at "Z". There must be another visit soon, one hopes!
    You mention Ristori and I have searched for examples of his music to try to assess how good he is. Carus 83.169 tracks 12 to 27 provide my first look and I am pleasantly surprised. At his best (e.g. track 12 which is a 4 minute Kyrie that could almost have been by Zelenka and clearly shows Zelenka's influence) he is very good. I agree with Janice Stockigt's favourable verdict in her book - his music needs to be further researched.
    Andrew Hinds

  • As I understand it, most of Ristori's manuscripts were missing from Dresden, so this is great news.

    I agree, Andrew. The Kyrie of "Messa per il Santissimo Natale" by Ristori is a wonderful piece. It comes closest to the Kyrie of ZWV 152 (Litaniae Lauritanae, from 1741) in terms of both the heart-felt voice arrangements and the almost relentless, chattering accompaniment with very clever use of pauses. To my mind, the Kyrie of ZWV 152 is the crowning glory of all Zelenka's output - the end result being much greater than the sum of the parts - and Ristori's Kyrie (from 1744) is remarkably similar.

    Judging by the fact that Zelenka's Kyrie in ZWV 152 (with identical music in the finishing number, Agnus Dei) is yet another slight change of direction for Z. in his twilight years, I would like to stick my neck out and say that it is equally likely that Zelenka's piece was influenced by Ristori. The Ristori Kyrie was probably written 3 years after the one by Zelenka (although there is some slight confusion here due to Zelenka re-dedicating it in 1744).

    For this reason, I find it particularly exciting that much of Ristori's earlier output may have been uncovered. If it has, only time will tell us the extent to which Ristori and Zelenka influenced each other while working close together in Dresden.

  • Dear Andrew and Alistair,

    I agree with you that Ristori is indeed a very exciting composer and lets hope his works are in Moscow. His Mass is a true masterpiece and I would have no problems if it were ascribed to Zelenka! It really shows the quality of the music that was written in Dresden around 1740 and how much it was influenced by Naples. Another beautiful work from his pen is the Divoti Affetti aka Duetti per la Quadragesima which Zelenka entered into his Collection. This has been recorded: Divoti Affetti - Early Music from the Dresden Court on PGM, long deleted I see it is available on Amazon at a very high price. But it is a real treasure as it also includes arias from Fux and Heinichen.

    The Ristori/Zelenka connection is fascinating. In the above mentioned article by Jan Stockigt she tells about the Kyrie and Gloria from Missa Dei Patris in Prague attributed to Ristori. It's not the only occurance of this, in Mengelberg's book (1916) on Ristori he lists 3 Requiems, one of them is in fact Zelenka's Offertorium from ZWV 46 which Ristori has reworked according to Hader's book on the Requiem in Dresden. The question is: Did he arrange it for Zelenka's funeral?? It's a thrilling thought!

    Actually I am just back from Dresden where I have an ongoing and a very primitive (as I am not a musicologist...) research into Ristori. More about that at a later date. But I met Dr. Geck briefly and he hopes to go back to Moscow sometime next year. So I am afraid the waiting for more information will be long.

  • Hi, djdresden

    :rolleyes: The Divoti Affetti CD on Amazon appears to cost between 60 and 80 dollars, and that is not counting postage to Europe from the US. Is there any other way of getting hold of this recording of Ristori's music, I wonder? What (or who) is PGM Records? Are they still in business, and what are the chances that they would be coaxed into re-releasing this recording?

    All the best. /Alistair

  • Hi Alistair,

    the PGM label only released a few cd's in the 90's because of the death of it's founder. See http://www.pgm.com/ A couple of years ago I mailed the website, got a reply that they were going to check with the estate to see if there was some stock, but got no further answer in spite of writing again. You can try: david@josephson.com , listm@pgm.com

    Ristori's comic opera Calandro (1726) has some lovely arias and has been recorded by the excellent Batzdorfer Hofkapelle on Kammerton - http://www.jpc.de . In August the Batzdorfers will perform his opera La Fate (1736) in Gotha. No recording though, I am told.

    The Freiburger Barockorchester had a Ristori Sinfonia in their "Dresdens Glanz" program two weeks ago in Freiburg - this I attended and it was a blast. Works from "Schrank 2" in the old catholic church music catalogue, coming from Pisendel's library, including Fasch, Telemann, Pisendel and 3 anonymous works. This will be online on http://www.swr.de/swr2 on the 27th of March and really shouldn't be missed. I can't wait to hear the Sinfonia again, it was short but very exciting.

    At last years International Baroque Conference in Warsaw a Ristori Serenade (1746) was performed in the Royal Castle. I found the work a bit uneven but still would like to hear it again. The concert was recorded so perhaps it will be released one day.

    And Skiaouros, you can check the SLUB old card catalogue for Ristori, there are actually quite a few works there.

    Good luck.

  • Thanks Derek for this good news. I've been so lucky to have had a copy of this for more than a year, but frankly, I was getting worried it wouldn't be released so I am relieved to hear it's out. Bravo Accent! It's a great recording of the beautiful Divoti Affetti duets, with Mields and Vitzthum in fine form, but unfortunately the whole set wasn't recorded, only seven out of ten. Includes also fine arrangements of Ristori's Esercizi, which is a rare set of Dresden teaching materials. Ristori was, like I've been finding out here in Dresden during the last few years, one of the teachers of the royal family. So this is a very welcome release and warmly recommended.

    Now it is only to be wished that someone does a complete recording of Caldara's Motetti, which is written for the same setting, plus Bass, because Ristori was influenced by these works. Few days ago, I saw Ristori's copy of these motets here in the SLUB.

    And you are right, the New Olde site is good for keeping up with the new releases and to read the rants about Spinosi's versions of the Vivaldi operas! Another one I use often for reference is:


  • Quote from Alistair

    Hi, djdresden

    :rolleyes: The Divoti Affetti CD on Amazon appears to cost between 60 and 80 dollars, and that is not counting postage to Europe from the US. Is there any other way of getting hold of this recording of Ristori's music, I wonder? What (or who) is PGM Records? Are they still in business, and what are the chances that they would be coaxed into re-releasing this recording?

    All the best. /Alistair

    The PGM website still advertises the Divoti Affetti CD for sale (one new for $18.99 and one with water-damaged insert for $12.99). See: http://www.pgm.com/catalog/

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