Posts by djdresden

    This is terrific news. With these works to be released by Luks, Ensemble Inegale's upcoming release of ZWV 1 & ZWV 166, plus the recent release of ZWV 191, we are getting closer to having Zelenka’s complete works recorded.

    I am especially hoping that someone will take on these works sooner rather than later:

    ZWV 15 Missa Eucharistica (1733)
    ZWV 128 Six Ave Regina settings (1737)
    ZW 211 Qui nihil sortis (1730s) – anyone who heard this in Prague couple of years ago was blown away by the sheer brilliance of this duet.
    and of course the ZWV 56 Miserere… and the ZWV 212 Trumpet fanfares… and ZWV 4, and...

    Please note that the Festival/Conference dates were incorrectly given in the official website, but this has now been fixed. The program looks like this, with the conference taking place on Friday 18th and the ZWV 16 / ZWV 166 concert later that evening, and the Dresden performance the following day:

    16th of October 2019 at 7.30PM – Praha / venue yet to be announced
    From Zelenka´s personal collection of secular vocal music: G. A. Haase / A. M. Bononcini / N. Porpora
    Musica Aeterna / Peter Zajíček – artistic director

    17th of October 2019 at 7.30PM – Praha / kostel Panny Marie pod řetězem, Lázeňská 2, Praha 1 – Malá Strana
    J. D. Zelenka: Sepolcri
    Collegium Marianum / Jana Semerádová – artistic director

    18th of October 2019 from 10AM to 18PM – Praha / venue yet to be announced
    Zelenka Conference Prague 2019

    18 of October 2019 at 7.30PM – Kostel Panny Marie pod řetězem, Lázeňská ul., Praha 1 – Malá Strana
    19 of October 2019 at 17.00PM – Annenkirche, Dresden
    J. D. Zelenka: Missa purificationis Beatae Virginis Mariae ZWV 16 & Currite ad aras ZWV 166 (World Premiere!)

    Dear friends,

    it is with a heavy heart that I report the tragic death of Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Horn, one of the great Zelenka scholars.

    Horn’s dissertation “Die Dresdner Hofkirchenmusik 1720–1745" was published in 1987 and stands as one of the landmark academic publications on the sacred music of the Dresden baroque, and Johann David Heinichen and Zelenka. He was also one of the main editors of the groundbreaking two-volume publication “Zelenka-Dokumentation” (1989), which brought together all source materials that were available at the time, transcripts of documents, timeline of Zelenka’s life, and discussion of his complete works in the form of what we all know as ZWV. In addition, Horn published a number of important articles on Zelenka, including his absolutely brilliant study on Zelenka’s main copyists. Most importantly, Horn prepared numerous choral editions for publishers like Breitkopf und Härtel and Carus-Verlag, thus making the works of our composer accessible to musicians all over the world and their listeners.

    When Adam Viktora announced that Horn was going to give a paper at the first Zelenka Festival-Conference in Prague in 2015, we were all thrilled. It was there were many of us first met the kind and warm person who we admired so much for his contribution to Zelenka’s research and revival. After the concerts and conferences in 2016 and 2017 we all listened in the restaurant Konírna with great attention to Horn, when he spoke of how he went about acquiring copies from the SLUB in the early 1980s, at a time when Germany was still divided. Horn, then an university student in Tübingen in West Germany, established a trusting connection with the late Wolfgang Reich in the SLUB in Dresden, who warmly welcomed Horn’s approach and passionate interest in Heinichen, Zelenka and the baroque music holdings of the library; the two went on to swap materials over a period of time, thus enabling Horn to finish his study and during the process becoming the leading authority on Zelenka’s music alongside Jan Stockigt. The whole story is nothing short of remarkable and one that must not be forgotten.

    When first meeting Horn in 2015 I sensed that he was pleasantly surprised but also very excited to see a new generation of scholars working on Zelenka. He sincerely felt that he still had much to give, and I for one was looking so very much forward to share with him my recent research and findings, which heavily rely on and complement his study on Zelenka’s copyists.

    Horn’s death at the age of 63 is a huge loss to Zelenka research and publication. On behalf of the members of the Zelenka Forum I send his family our deepest condolences.…22-4843-8395-e8c7543f90b2

    The accompanying piece is the offertory Currite ad aras (ZWV 166), which Zelenka composed in Vienna in June 1716. So it's a very welcoming early Zelenka program for the next CD. Let's hope we'll hear these works at the Prague-Dresden concerts in the upcoming Festival-Conference in October.


    I’ve been told by Adam Viktora that the 2019 Zelenka Festival & Conference will kick off on the 340th birthday of our composer, Wednesday 16 October. The conference will be held on Friday 18 October and Jan Stockigt expects that there will be “surplus” of papers, so hopefully we will get a strong contribution from the amazing Australians like last year.

    Further dates and program details will be given soon.

    I am very pleased to say that as in the previous years, the Zelenka Conference 2018 is shaping up to be one of real importance and substance. I now see that two outstanding Czech scholars have been added to the list of speakers, namely Václav Kapsa (Prague) and Jana Perutková (Brno) and it will exciting to hear what they will bring to the Zelenka research. Also, the paper of their compatriot Lukas Vokrinek could turn out to be very interesting... But the best news is that the Zelenka choral director Maria Sawinkova (Moscow) will give a paper, for she has already seen some of the scores/parts from Zelenka’s collection that was taken from Dresden in 1945 and is currently located in the National Library in Moscow. When it comes to research into Zelenka music materials, Russia is the promised land. It is there where the focus must turn to in the coming years.

    In addition to Jan Stockigt’s paper, which will be interesting to hear as always, her students Andrew Frampton and Frederic Kiernan will no doubt enlighten us with new insights into our composer and his working methods and life. While I will not give a paper this year I am glad to say that Iceland will be well represented by Kjartan Óskarsson, who will deliver a paper of great interest for Zelenka studies.

    On the heels of Ensemble Inégal’s very successful performance of Gesu al Calvario in Leipzig, I can now report on another incredibly exciting concert coming up in that same city. This time it’s the Batzdorfer Hofkapelle and the Sächsiches Vocalensemble under the direction of Matthias Jung, who have given us many jewels in the form of recordings of neglected repertoire from the Dresden library. The program for the concert on 26 July is truly mouthwatering:

    Giovanni Alberto Ristori: Litaniae des Sancto Xaverio (Mus.2455-D-1)
    Jan Dismas Zelenka: Miserere d-moll ZWV 56 (Mus.2358-D-504)
    Johann David Heinichen: Laudate pueri, Laetatus sum, Nisi Dominus und Lauda Jerusalem (Mus.2398-D-33)

    Donnerstag, 26. Juli 2018,
    20:00 Uhr, Konzert
    "Katholische Kirchenmusik des Dresdner Hofs"
    Ristori - Zelenka - Heinichen,
    Sächsisches Vocalensemble Batzdorfer Hofkapelle,
    Leitung: Matthias Jung
    Konzert im Rahmen des Internationalen Kongresses der Musikbibliotheken (IAML 2018)
    Eine Kooperationsveranstaltung von MBM – Mitteldeutsche Barockmusik, GVL, Stadt Leipzig,
    Staatsministerium für Wissen*schaft und Kunst, Universitätsbibliothek Leipzig, HMT Leipzig
    Kartenvorverkauf voraussichtlich ab Juni 2018 zum Preis von 10 Euro bei Musikalienhandlung Oelsner,
    Ticketgalerie Leipzig oder Culton Tickets. Restkarten an der Abendkasse.
    Ort: Aula * Universitätskirche St. Pauli
    im "Paulinum", Uni-Campus
    Augustusplatz 10
    04109 Leipzig

    I attended this nice concert, in the beautiful Tyska Kirkan in the Gamla Stan part of Stockholm. It was great to hear Ensemble Inégal bring Zelenka to the Swedish audience, who were very receptive to the magic of our composer. I saw ecstatic smiles on many faces and saw tears being wiped away, signs that Zelenka touched the hearts of many. Great Psalmi Vespertini program, with a very welcoming surprise as a first encore: the rocket-like Lauda Jerusalem (ZWV 102) from the upcoming Psalmi varii CD.

    The concert, which launched the annual Early Music Festival, was broadcast live by the Swedish Radio P2, and you can listen in here:

    Fearing the worst, I immediately emailed BBC on Friday with a standard “template” text I sometimes send to institutions who post or publish incorrect information about Zelenka on their websites. This “template” lists some of the recently published articles, and argues that the earlier held opinions on the composer were largely the work of badly informed musicologists and myth-makers. And as is usually the case, I received no reply. So today I politely emailed Ms. Skeaping thanking her for playing Zelenka’s music, while also bringing to her attention that many of the statements she made about the composer in the programme were factually incorrect. Tonight I received this reply:

    "My information is mostly sent direct to me by the BBC production team; I usually have just 24 hours or so to put the programme together and so I have to rely on what they give me which is often just a few notes, some excerpts from Grove and the booklets from the CDs featured."

    To be fair to Ms. Skeaping, the false information is still very much out there. But this does not reflect well on the BBC producers and their shallow preparations for the programme. I suspect that Peter Wollny’s absolutely shocking booklet notes (this Bach scholar clearly gets great pleasure in squashing Zelenka like a bug) for Robert King’s Hyperion CD were partly used (“died a broken man”, etc.). But we have to continue to fight this. Today there’s lots of new information out there, backed by a wealth of archival sources, and we have to hope that one day the truth will prevail. And, I am sure that Ms. Skeaping will not repeat her earlier statements on Zelenka, as she readily admits:

    "I am grateful for your comments and references to articles and, time permitting, next time Zelenca is featured I will certainly aim to represent him more correctly."

    In 2007 I wrote the following here in the Forum, on Zelenka’s student:

    "Harrer, a vital piece in the Zelenka puzzle, is an important link for the distribution of Zelenka's music outside of Dresden. When he passed away his musical library was sold to the Breitkopf firm who then offered it for sale in their famous catalogues, including a number of Zelenka's works which Harrer had copied in his years in Dresden as a Kapellmeister of Count Brühl and as an assistant to Zelenka. A recent book on Harrer gives a good impression on their working relationship and the way they collaborated, f.e. on Harrer's Mass which Zelenka entered in his Inventory. Harrer's Miserere is one of the most extraordinary manuscripts in the Dresden library. Not only is the final fugue probably composed by Zelenka, it also has tempo assignments by Hasse who very rarely directed works by other composers during his time in Dresden. It must have been quite a work! Harrer also copied many of the works in Zelenka's library.”

    The Mass in question was definitely performed in Dresden as was the Miserere, since parts for both works once existed in the Catholic church music archive.

    The Harrer Mass has some wonderful moments, great fugues, and is of course very Zelenka like. I have an excellent live recording from Dresden of this work – email me for a copy.

    Thanks Seb, this was absolutely brilliant to hear! Zelenka's trumpet pieces played freely, and with style and vigour!

    I just want to add for the record, and for my many Forum friends, that I am truly very sorry that these six pieces haven't made it to the official ZWV as promised in the article, even though we provided the very exact documentation of the event in question in 1733 and recommended, as Seb noted above, that the works should be accepted into the official work list. This was research that took me many years to conclude. What hinders these pieces to get an official number in the Zelenka work list is the incredibly strict rules of MGG (die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart), which do not accept works of composers if the manuscripts in question are not signed by the respective composers.


    All very interesting. A further study, showing in a systematic academic way the similarities between the above mentioned examples of CPE and Zelenka, is clearly needed here. Robin, why don’t you present this in a paper for the Zelenka Conference 2018? This would be a good follow up to the study of professor Ottenberg.

    In reference to the last paragraph, however, I’d like to happily state that I do not ascribe to the “general agreement” about the “drawer” myth since it hardly holds up when one examines the sources – for me this is the rhetoric of the “old and romantic” opinions about Zelenka. In light of all the recent archival discoveries, and especially my co-written article with Jan Stockigt (Clavibus Unitis, 4, 2015), I urge everyone to question and challenge the old myths, including this one. Imaging Zelenka writing music simply just to shelf away does not make any sense.

    Great stuff! This sounds quite convincing. And no, I can’t recall this being mentioned in the literature, the reason perhaps being that CPE Bach’s cantata only recently resurfaced in the Sing-Akademie collection among a large cache of his works.

    And: the young and brilliant Bach might indeed have known of Missa Dei Patris, ZWV 19, even if he did not own a score of the work. In his eye-opening “Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach trifft Jan Dismas Zelenka” article in Zelenka-Studien 2, Hans-Günter Ottenberg discusses the similiarities of the Agnus Dei in Zelenka's setting and CPE Bach's Largo con sordini, mesto, the second movement in the Flute Concerto (H 438 /WQ 168), a work also known in two other versions as Harpsichord Concerto (H 437 / WQ 168) and Cello Concerto (H 439 / WQ 172). Examples are easy to find in YouTube, f.e.: (flute) (cello)

    Professor Ottenberg, one of the great Dresden musicologists of the older generation, provides musical examples and tables, noting: “Alle Grundparameter des Satzes stimmen mit den diesbezüglichen Angaben bei Zelenka weitgehend überein.” He then draws the following conclusion:

    “ Bleibt zum Schluß die zusammenfassende Feststellung, daß die Empfindsamkeit als “Komplex affektiv geladener Erwartungs- und Verhaltensdispositionen” sowie als Ausdruck eines neuen Selbstverständnisses des Komponisten in den vierziger Jahren des 18. Jahrhunderts, also in der Zeit von Zelenka’s Spätstil, zu einer dominanten Stilhaltung und richtung avancierte. Beide Musiker, Zelenka und C. Ph. E. Bach, bedienten sich gelegentlich der “empfindsamen” Idiomatik. Daß sie beide in den von uns analysierten Werken so ähnlich ausfällt, dürfte wohl doch eher Zufall sein; nicht zufällig ist der beiden Komponisten eigen verinnerliche Ton!”

    To this I might add, that perhaps it is kein zufall – no coincidence! I’ve recently uncovered archival evidence of a possible visit of CPE to Dresden in 1743. While there, he might well have heard, and been inspired by Zelenka’s Missa Dei Patris. Who would ever forget the overwhelming melody of the Agnus Dei?

    The war loot taken from Dresden in 1745-46 was split between the different institutions in the former Soviet Union. So the music removed from the SLUB, including the missing vesper psalms listed above, likely ended up in the music collections of city and university libraries all over the country. For example, the Russian State Library in Moscow holds what seems to be items from Zelenka’s collection with the letters A (Aldrovandini, Allegri, Ariosti etc.), and other materials as well. These can now be viewed in the online-catalogue of the library.

    This library also holds a large chunk of the missing libretto collection of the SLUB, which always was thought to have perished in 1945. This is of importance for Zelenka research as well, because he would have prepared many of the little labels affixed to these, as a part of his cataloguing and custodianship of the royal music library in Dresden. Moreover, a lot of these librettos are manuscript copies and likely in the hand of the Dresden court poets (Pallavicini etc.), and hold vital information for the authorship of texts of missing works, names of performers, and possibly comments of August III or Maria Josepha on the contents – as we have seen in the few existing Dresden librettos in the SLUB and in the Berlin State Library. This is a major study for which I have already done much work by partly reconstructing the long lost catalogues assembled by Zelenka, but one that can only be finalised with a visit to Moscow.

    The Glinka Museum in Moscow also holds items from the SLUB. In preparation for my article on the secular vocal collection of Zelenka I asked the music director and conductor Nikolay Khondzinsky, who we know for his spirited performances of Zelenka, to visit the museum to look at a volume of cantatas which I suspected to include music from Zelenka’s collection. In spite of several attempts he found it was practically impossible to get access, and this is the problem in a nutshell. The war loot is still a delicate issue in Russia and it is likely that the parts from the Zelenka collection are still kept under lock and key in the largest cities in the country, and in the former territories of the Soviet Union. Unfortunately, the window of opportunity that was open for a short period during the rule of Boris Yeltsin, and allowed for the return of the Sing-Akademie collection from Ukraine, was firmly shut when Putin took office.

    The cataloguing of the Sing-Akademie collection is long finished and by now well documented in several publications. And our Zelenka was well presented, as I reported on here in 2007. It has proved to be a near bottomless treasure trove, which still is revealing its secrets through the many anonymous works, as I have found out during my ongoing study of Johann Joseph Adam, prince of Liechtenstein and patron of Vivaldi.

    When it comes to the missing works of Zelenka, the situation is this as I see it: we desperately need a very, very wealthy patron burning with passion for the composer, who would be willing to donate large amounts of money to fund a long-standing systematic search in Russian libraries and archives. Anyone, please:)?

    Thank you King Max, this is very good news. It is important that the good and noble work of Alistair will be continued and built upon. So I wish you well for the future in your role as a custodian of the online-home of our Zelenka.

    Two new Zelenka articles are found in the next issue of Clavibus Unitis:

    This includes Anselm Harasim’s fine study about the Magnificats ZWV 107+108. This was the paper he gave in the Zelenka conference last October as reported above. I am hoping that more papers from the conference will be added to this issue soon, especially Michael Maul’s report on the important document he uncovered in Pirna.

    My co-written article with Jan Stockigt on the Te Deum performance in Bautzen in May 1733 is also included. This has been forever in the works so it is a big relief to have it out of the way. Some of the information is already in our big Zelenka article from last year, but here is the full story. It was such a great pleasure to work on this article and to walk in the footsteps of Zelenka in the St Petri Dom, and also to see the house where he stayed with the butchers wife. Enjoy!