I’ve uploaded to Dropbox a set of 17 pictures of places connected to Zelenka, numbered to match the text below:
1. The amazing model in the city museum in Dresden, showing the city at the end of the 17th century. Attached to the Residenzschloss we can see the old opera theater of Klengel which was reconstructed to serve as the Catholic court church in 1707. The model also shows the Kleine Brüder Gasse, including the house of leather craftsman Flade where Zelenka lived for the last couple of years of his life.
2. A copy (I think) of the same model showing the Residenzschloss and the attached T- shaped old opera theater of Klengel at end of 17th century.
3. Beautiful plan of the old Catholic court church, showing well the shape, interior, altar and last but not least, over the entrance, the balcony where the musicians stood and performed, see also the 1733 coloured etching in the Clavibus Unitis article. I can imagine that the accoustics were absolutely fantastic in this space.
4. A detail from Bellotto’s painting of the Zwinger, showing also a detail of the front of the old Catholic church.
5. This is one of my favourites: a couple of flying angels from the old Catholic court church. If they only could speak! These are now kept in the Domschatzkammer St. Petri in Bautzen, which is well worth a visit because of all the religious treasures and relics once in the possession of the electoral and royal family.
6. Coloured drawing of former Catholic court church, and later Ballhaus, after it was rebuilt as the archive of the court. This is a photo taken in an exhibition in today's archive building, which opened in 1915 and miraculously withstood the bombing in 1945.
7. Another plan showing the size of the archive in comparison with the Schloss.
8. Beautiful photo of the old archive, which at the time stored the Zelenka related documents we are still mining today. I think Alistair has already showed this one in the website.
9. The old archive being demolished, ca. 1888-89. What a waste!
10. And another one, sigh... In the background, the facade of Schloss is being rebuilt in renaissance style.
11. Moritzstrasse in the 19th century. From at least 1736 Zelenka lived on the left side, round about in the middle of the street. The house changed owners in 1742 and it is likely that Zelenka moved on at that point. This house was destroyed in the Prussian bombing of 1760. Somewhere there exists a sad old painting of the ruins of this house and others in this street, but I can’t recall where. I’ve gathered quite a bit of material on this house, its history and colourful tenants. One day I can hopefully tell this story.
12. Old Ramschegasse, todays Rampische Straße, picture taken before WWII. The house at No. 31 with the Carl Emanuel store sign is the former residence of Zelenka. In ca. 1743-44 he rented an apartment in the Ramschegasse from the owner, the archivist Schmiedt. This was one of the most beautiful streets of baroque Dresden and all the best architects of the city built houses there. This side of the street has been faithfully rebuilt, except for a modern house totally out of place in the middle of it.
Incidentally, this modern building once housed a strange cocktail bar on the top floor, where the Australian Zelenka scholar Fred Kiernan once hammered out the Goldberg variations and a couple of Zelenka fugues on the piano to the utter amazment of the few guests, during a very drunken night many years ago. I had introduced him to the barista as a world famous concert pianist so he was allowed access to the piano, much to the annoyance of the bar pianist, who, by the way, was not very good. Later, we ended up in the basement of the Hilton hotel, where Fred showed his improvisational skills Cecil Taylor style on a white upright piano, which was curiously placed in the middle of a staff corridor and waiting to be assaulted, while we were trying to find a way out of the labyrinth which is underground Hilton. What a glorius night that was, and it is now on record here!
13. Archeology digging in the basement of Rampsiche Straße No. 31, left side. Here we can see where Zelenka stored his old stuff.
14. Rampsiche Straße No. 31, faithfully restored to its former glory. Today it houses a bank, which has decided to ruin the front by placing a bright neon sign over the windows. Make sure to bring shades when checking this house out, and don’t deposit your money there...
15. For a full picture of the front of the house in Kleine Brüder Gasse where Zelenka lived, see the article in Clavibus Unitis. This is a plan of the Kurprinzenpalais, today Taschenbergpalais. In 1767 the court bought Flade’s house from his relatives and this was then altered for use for the servants. Here we can see the arrangement of the rooms, but we don’t know (yet) on which floor Zelenka lived:
E=entrance on the ground floor; and same size (Zzz=sleeping?) rooms above; L=Flade’s workshop on the ground floor, living rooms upstairs; K=kitchen?; C=corridor?; S=round stairs for our old man…; H=courtyard. The Dresden archive holds much more detailed plans which I hope to be able to publish sometime in the future.
Other members of the Dresden Hofkapelle who lived in this street in 1738-40 were: the castrato Campioli; violinist Rhein and his alcoholic wife (what a desperately sad story that is), and many other good men and women.
16. An arial photo from 1944. The facade of Zelenka’s house has been altered but each floor still has four windows across, X.
17. And finally: Here you see the Masters at Work at the Karl May Cocktail bar in Zelenka’s house in Kleine Brüder Gasse. I can recommend the Singapore Sling – the best I’ve ever tasted having drunk quite a few all over Europe. Seriously, these guys are two of the finest in the business, highly-decorated champions in European and World cocktail competitions. They have the awards to show for it. It feels absolutely fantastic to have a drink on this holy ground. And after a few drinks, what better than having a piss in Zelenka’s golden toilets? Sorry, I couldn’t resist:
And across the street, in the former house of cabinetmaker Mengelberg, Zelenka’s colleague Ristori passed away on 7 February 1753. This house was destroyed in 1945 but the one built in its place today houses an Italian restaurant. I do miss the Shamrock Irish pub that used to be there, and I used to toast Ristori all the time while working on his Naples story. This pub was a great place to have a Guinness and work on new discoveries after a long day at the archive, or to watch the English football when Sir Alex was in charge of my team. The British born owner was a Tottenham fan and the banter was ace. For those who are interested they have now moved next street, to Wilfsdruffer Straße (formerly Wilsche Gasse) and amazingly, again, round about where Ristori once used to live! And WF Bach as well; JC Richter organist in the Sophien Kirche; the castrato Nicolo Pozzi; the lutenist Weiss; The Negri family of singers, and so on.
I hope you enjoy and forgive the tasteless stories of personal note…
Looking forward to read rnkt and his personal experience of Dresden.