Posts by djdresden

    Exciting radio broadcast coming up

    Saturday 10 May, the BR Klassik radio station will broadcast a recording from 3 May, where the Hofkapelle München (formerly Neue Hofkapelle München) and soloists performed three of Zelenka's late works: "Miserere" (ZWV 57); "Litaniae Lauretanae: Salus infirmorum" (ZWV 152); "Missa omnium sanctorum" (ZWV 21).

    This orchestra usually performs an ever interesting and often neglected repertoire. A planned release of Zelenka's Miserere (ZWV 56) unfortunately never materialized, see this thread:…f-Miserere-ZWV-56-(not-57!)

    Recently the orchestra released a live recording of Hasse's Didone abbandonata (Naxos) worth checking out even though it has its flaws. This opera was performed in Dresden in 1742, during a golden period for the Hofkapelle. It's surely one of the best works of Hasse – some of the arias are out of this world.

    Anyway, the Zelenka broadcast starts at 17.05 GMT, Saturday 10 May. For more info see:…lender/sendung785762.html


    The Bach Network UK has just published Jan Stockigt's short conference report of the paper she gave at the Bach Network UK’s Sixth J. S. Bach Dialogue Meeting in Warsaw in July last year. It serves as a delicious taster for our upcoming and full length version of this paper, which focuses on one of the most surprising new source finds (see above) on our Zelenka and his role as a musician, director and composer.

    Take special notice of how he is referred to as Kapellmeister by the Dean of the St Petri in Bautzen: ‘Generosus ac Virtuosus D’nus Capelle Magister’. This is one more confirmation of the position he held during the interregnum (and indeed, always when Hasse was away from Dresden – the arrangement was a classic instance of a Kapellmeister/Vice-Kapellmeister collaboration – see my Studi vivaldiani article for more on this topic). It also shows the great esteem in which Zelenka was held, not only by the Saxon Elector who sent him on this journey, but also his contemporaries.

    The existing documentation for the May 1733 Te Deum performance is pretty extensive and impressive. Last February we were able to view Dresden sources that were unaccessible last year, when we made the initial research. As a result we should be able to publish the full version in the Bach UK Network website later this year, or early next year.

    The Bach Network UK is a free online musicology forum on all things Bach, and run and edited by some of the best Bach scholars out there. Have a look, there's lots of great material there:

    Jan Stockigt's report:

    And for those of you lucky to be in the 'Sunshine State' of Queensland, Australia (I am in the middle of a storm here in Reykjavik!), Jan will soon be giving another paper based on the same topic:

    Date: Friday 9 May, 2014
    Time: 2pm - 4.30pm
    Venue: Room 275, Global Change Institute (Building 20), Staff House Road, University of Queensland, St Lucia

    Speakers: Dr Jan Stockigt (Melbourne Conservatorium, University of Melbourne)
    "Transformation from Baroque Ensemble to Classical Orchestra: A Te Deum
    performance by members of the Dresden Court Orchestra, May 1733"



    This is indeed great news. Here we have another of Zelenka's major works being performed by one of the best orchestras in Europe. Slowly but surely we are getting to the point where all the masses have been performed, and hopefully recorded. As for this mass, it's so important because of the musical changes that were about to take place in Dresden, changes where Zelenka as acting Kapellmeister had a major and decisive role to play, as I demonstrate in my recent article for Studi vivaldiani.

    It should be remembered though, that the Mass has been performed at least two times before, in Australia in 2009 and 2010, and I seem to recall an earlier performance somewhere in Europe. In Melbourne, Zelenka enthusiast Gary Ekkel directed the Newman Baroque Orchestra, the Choir of Newman College and soloists, in an edition prepared by Richard Divall and musicologically consulted by Jan Stockigt. A live recording that was made on this occasion confirms what Gary and Jan wrote in the program notes for this concert:

    Zelenka – Missa Divi Xaverii

    "Through a report in the annual letter of 1729, the context of the original performance of Zelenka’s Missa Divi Xaverii is available:

    "The Holy Apostle to the Indies had an entire octave . . . during which not only did the King’s music resound in the litanies, which are usually sung at four o’clock in the afternoon, but the high altar shone with numerous rows of candles. Our Most Serene Princess, who has a strong devotion to Xavier, loaned relics of the saint from her collection and offered them to the pious kiss of the faithful."

    Composed at a time when Zelenka must have been confident that an important post was about to become his, this is among Zelenka’s most brilliant and joyful Mass settings. The music – for the Baroque era – is set on a grand scale, befitting the importance of the saint at the Electoral court.

    The orchestra is one of the largest that Zelenka employs: Missa Divi Xaverii is scored for SATB soloists and chorus, four trumpets, timpani, two flutes, two oboes, bassoon, two violins, alto and tenor violas and basso continuo (played on viola da gamba, contrabass and organ in today’s performance). Despite having no Credo, the Missa Divi Xaverii is as long as, if not longer than, companion works which do include the Credo, giving the Mass a status appropriate to the patron of Maria Josepha and the Viennese court. Several of the movements include expansive orchestral introductions: the opening Kyrie opens with a twenty-bar orchestral passage – one quarter of the entire movement – introducing all the main themes of the movement. The ‘Quoniam’ setting of Missa Divi Xaverii begins with a brilliant ritornello in which trios of two flutes and violas, two oboes and bassoon, and two-part violins with continuo echo each other throughout the orchestra, before breaking into one of Zelenka’s most exciting choruses.

    Given the scale of the work, thematic links are important in providing a sense of structure. The effusive opening theme of Kyrie I, for example, returns as the counter-subject of Kyrie II and then recapitulates for the culmination of the mass in Agnus Dei II; the short sharp fugal exposition of the Qui tollis I reappears two movements later in the Qui sedes, transposed from minor to major, framing the bass-tenor duet (Qui tollis II); and a little motif at the ‘Osanna’ at the end of the Sanctus movement becomes the fugal subject of an extended ‘Osanna’ movement, culminating in a Handelian choral sequence of twenty-five bars in which the sopranos rise from d' to a'', supported in the bass with the figure moving through the keys of G–A–B minor–C–D.

    Between the pillars of the lavishly scored tuttis, Zelenka creates contrast with declamatory sections and carefully crafted arias. The declamatory sections are four-to-six bar ‘moments’ of emotional concentration where the inexorable rhythms of the tutti sections make way for slow, intense sections built on dissonant chords and suspensions. The arias reveal Zelenka’s skill at writing delicate solos accompanied by obbligato instruments. For example, an aria to the text ‘Domine Deus, Agnus Dei, Filius Patris’ is composed as a galant Italian pastorella, featuring two rapidly articulated flute parts (Zelenka may have had the court flautists, Buffardin and Quantz, in mind.) Similarly, the ‘Benedictus’ – one of two beautiful arias to occur in the concluding parts of Missa Divi Xaverii – matches the solo soprano with an exquisite coupling of solo oboe and violin."

    The program included:

    1. Entrance movements
    a. Fanfare
    b. Organ intonazione
    c. Movement 1 (‘Kyrie’) from the Litaniae Xaverianae ZWV 155 (1727) by Jan Dismas Zelenka (1679-1745)
    d. Introit Loquebar de testimoniis tuis – Gregorian chant

    2. ‘Kyrie Eleison’ from Missa divi Xaverii ZWV 12 (1729) by Jan Dismas Zelenka

    3. ‘Gloria in excelsis Deo’ from Missa divi Xaverii

    4. Gradual Justus et palma – Gregorian chant

    5. Offertory Veritas mea – Gregorian chant

    6. ‘Sanctus’ from Missa divi Xaverii

    7. Elevation motet – O salutaris hostia by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (c. 1525-94)

    8. ‘Agnus Dei’ from Missa divi Xaverii

    9. Communion Beatus servus – Gregorian chant

    10. Doxology
    a. Ite missa est – Gregorian chant
    b. ‘Gloria patri’ from the Magnificat ZWV 108 (1725)
    c. ‘Amen’ from the Magnificat ZWV 108 (1725)

    It is suggested by Mary Oleskiewicz that the so-called "royal theme" in Bach's Ricercare a 3 from the Musical Offering, possibly originates from Zelenka's opening movement of the oratorio I penitenti al sepulchro del Redentore ZWV 63 (1736). See Mary's article "The Trio in Bach's Musical Offering", in The Music of J. S. Bach: Analysis and Interpretation, edited by David Schulenberg.

    Furthermore, it has also been suggested that the series of interval canons in Bach's Goldberg variations, are based on Zelenka's model. See the Main Forum thread "Zelenka and Bach transcriptions - Magnificat in D".

    I think there is little doubt that in the 1730s Bach had access to music in Zelenka's library. But I do hope someone will look into, and support with musical examples, Gardiner's claim that the Kyrie II from Zelenka's Missa Sanctissima Trinitatis ZWV 17 (1736) owes a great deal to Bach's Kyrie I of the B-minor Mass.

    The proceedings of the Belfast 2007 conference on the B-minor Mass were published last year: Exploring Bach's B-minor Mass (Cambridge UP). This includes Jan Stockigt's detailed analysis of the Kyrie and Gloria of Bach's work (presented to the Saxon Elector in July 1733), as seen from the Dresden perspective. This is a good read, although it is a much shorter version than appeared in the original conference discussion book. In essence, she suggests that IF the work would have been performed in the Catholic church in Dresden (as some of the Leipzig scholars have suggested), it would have had to be rearranged by Zelenka in order to meet the specific standards of the Dresden orchestra. This is how the procedure would have been: a new score would have to be made from Bach's set of parts, and from this score a fresh set of parts would then be made for the Dresden court musicians. Since no traces of such a reworking can be seen in the Dresden sources, it is her conclusion that it is unlikely it was performed in the Catholic church.

    Dear Monika,

    many thanks for your contribution to the Forum and also to the Zelenka research. I do like what you say about not being a part of the "science community" and the "free feeling" it carries. Trust me, I know this very well!

    Jan Stockigt sends you her warmest greetings here from Dresden – she indeed remembers you very well and fondly. We have spent a good time here in Dresden working on, amongst other things, our Zelenka. With him, it's the never ending story – so many things have to be considered when new sources appear, and old things have to be revalued and revisited. These are great times for all of us.


    Greetings from Dresden.

    Over the weekend I attended two concerts with the Collegium 1704 here and in Prague. The theme of the brilliantly selected program was "The Art of the Counterpoint" – Inspiration from the counterpoint of Palestrina in the works of Bohemian composers, pupils of J. J. Fux:

    F. A. I. Tuma — Stabat Mater
    J. D. Zelenka — Sanctus et Agnus Dei ZWV 34 and ZWV 36
    J. D. Zelenka — Sub tuum praesidium 157, Nr. 1-3
    A. Caldara — Selections from Motetti a due e tre voci op. 4

    The setting was chamber like, 8 voices and a basso continuo section of theorba, organ, cello and double bass. This was simply excellent, especially the Dresden concert, with the Stabat Mater of Tuma being the highlight of the program. What a beautiful work that is. But great to hear the Zelenka works as well and the Caldara motets, who were so admired and so often performed here in Dresden in the 18th century.

    In Prague, to my great and pleasant surprise, it was announced that a new CD with the orchestra had just been released on Supraphon with the same music as listed above (except for the Caldara works) and a sonata by Orschler. I bought a copy and it's been running in my player. It's wonderful. I am sure will soon have copies for sale for all of you.

    I have had this recording for some time and must say that this is truly a fantastic release. I am completely blown away by Missa Paschalis. It is one of Zelenka's most inspired, brilliant and majestic works, with the hair-raising trumpets and timpanis constantly playing a big role. The melody of the Kyrie/Dona nobis pacem is just awesome. So is the heavenly Amen fugue in Cum Sancto Spiritu/Et vitam venturi saeculi, showing Zelenka's mastery of the subject. Parts of the Mass even reminded me of Missa Dei Patris, f.e. in the trio of the Quoniam. The dark-hued Litany is another late masterpiece from Zelenka, and it's great to have a new recording of this important work.

    The performance is one of Ensemble Inegale's finest, the tempos are natural and flowing, and the vocal forces excellent. Gratulations to Adam and Mr. Tomas Janacek and his Nibiru label for making this great release possible.

    Dear Xanaseb,

    one more concert programme with the usual errors... but Zelenka loosing his "minor appointment" to Bach?! That's a new twist and of course utter bollocks. I wonder where on earth that came from. It sometimes seems to me, that some of those who write about Zelenka are in a competition to outdo each other when it comes to describing the supposed "misery" of our composer!

    It is interesting that the Bach literature, all the way from the 18th century to the present date, correctly states that the royal court composer title (AKA Kirchen-Compositeur – honorary) Bach received in 1736 was considered prestigious, and did protect him from the endless problems he had earlier been facing from the Leipzig authorities. In fact, he became untouchable (see C.Wolff's biography on the composer). Cue the Zelenka literature, where the appointment of the same title for Zelenka (which, by the way, he had already been awarded in 1734 – not 1735) has either been described as "degrading" or "lowly". This opinion, first put forward by Wolfgang Reich and consequently copied by other musicologists without any scrutiny or criticism, shows a fundamental misunderstanding/misconception of the role sacred music played in the Catholic church in Dresden – for a deeply religious court, where Maria Josepha, electress of Saxony and Queen of Poland, and guardian of our composer, often went to church three times a day, to take one example. Some of the descriptions in the original sources on the effect the music in the church had on members of the royal family is simply breathtaking. The role and responibility of the church composer was great, and Zelenka fulfilled that role to the full admiration of his superiors. As I have earlier stated here in this Forum, this court only strived for the best in every department, be it the opera with Hasse, church music with Zelenka, and instrumental music with Pisendel. And in all the sources I've seen in the Dresden archives during my research over the last nine years, Zelenka is spoken about with reverence.

    I am glad you question these things. Don't believe everything that's out there. There is just so much rubbish that has been written about Zelenka and, for example, his supposed bitter disappointment. There are simply no sources to back up such statements. This is what I refer to as "emotive language" in my Zelenka article for the "Studi vivaldiani" journal, which will soon be published:

    "Instead, speculation about his [Zelenka's] supposed competition with Hasse for the Kapellmeister position has dominated the discussion, followed by the familiar but unsubstantiated statements that he felt deeply disappointed, angry and frustrated after he ‘lost’ this duel, and that he was suffering from “creative exhaustion” or “stress and anxiety” at the end of the Interregnum. The use of such emotive language has, unfortunately, become the norm when Zelenka is concerned – and not only in musicology but also in CD booklets and concert programmes."

    I am hoping that those who will eventually read my article will do so with an open mind.

    But, Xanaseb, as you say, it's great that this wonderful music is being heard and spread around. So here's to all the brave and brilliant performers out there!


    As promised in the thread about the Baroque Conference in Southampton, here is a short report on a new and important piece of information about Zelenka.

    Last week Jan Stockigt gave a paper in Warsaw about a source I found in Dresden earlier this year. In short, this was a list of an elite group of twenty-one instrumentalists and nine vocalists from the Dresden Hofkapelle, that travelled to Bautzen in Saxony in May 1733, when the citizens of that city payed homage to the new Saxon Elector, Friedrich August II. The totally amazing and surprising thing was to see Zelenka's name listed amongst the singers for this journey. A Te Deum was heard in the St Petri church on this occasion, and it was almost certainly Zelenka's own composition, the majestic ZWV 146, that was performed. This he would have directed while singing the second tenor part.

    This gives us such a new and interesting new perspective, and it is likely that he directed more of his big works in the 1730s in this way. At the same time, it is yet another confirmation of Zelenka's versatility during the interregnum period (1729-33), when he served as the acting Kapellmeister at the Dresden court.

    We also came across other sources in connection with this performance, that show without a doubt the high esteem in which Zelenka was held at the Dresden court. For me, this is incredibly important. In all the years I have been working in the Dresden archives I have never seen a negative reference to Zelenka in any court documents or correspondence. It's only positive, and he's spoken about with reverence. Therefore it is almost criminal the way he has been portrayed in the literature by certain musicologists, as being a composer not liked by his superiors or his court. There are simply no sources to back this up. To this I might add, that the contemporary reports of the Bautzen Te Deum describe the music as being excellent.

    We will publish the full details of the new source in a co-written article next year. Until then you can listen to Rademann's brilliant version of the Te Deum on Carus, or watch Vaclav Luks and Collegium 1704 perform the work on YouTube. Note the part with the Salvum fac, and the way the tenor Hasan-El-Dunia directs the music at that point. It is fascinating to think that Zelenka did something similiar 280 years ago.


    Friends, here's an update on the musicological front:

    My paper from the Southampton conference on Zelenka's secular collection will be published later this year in the Studi vivaldiani journal, that is, if I manage to finish it before the deadline next month...

    The co-written article "Recent research" by Jan Stockigt and myself is still a work in progress. Earlier this year we spent two weeks in Dresden working on this, but unfortunately I can not say when it will be finished – next year publication, hopefully. I am desperate to get this out of the way and into the open but these things take time. How I wish I could focus on this research full time... but one must earn a living.

    And then there is another co-written article which we have almost finished: This one has to do with a stunning new source that I discovered in the Dresden State Archive at the start of the year. It was one of the many champagne moments I've had in Dresden – and this one gives a surprising new insight into Zelenka the Musician. This source then led us to Bautzen, where we found more information. Jan Stockigt will have the honour of presenting a paper on this find in the Bach Network Dialogue session conference in Warsaw early next month, see:

    Here's her abstract:

    Janice B Stockigt (University of Melbourne)

    A Te Deum performance in Bautzen by members of Dresden’s Hofkapelle: 19 May 1733

    "Soon after the death of August II on 1 February 1733, his son and successor, Elector Friedrich August II, began a tour of homage (Huldigung). Following visits to Leipzig, Wittenberg, and Torgau, he travelled Bautzen in Oberlausitz for the civic reception held there on 19 May. He then entered the cathedral of St Petri where a Te Deum laudamus was performed by an elite group of musicians from the Dresden Hofkapelle, together with trumpets and timpani from the court.

    Who were the twenty-one instrumentalists and nine vocalists who travelled to Bautzen for an event just weeks before Bach submitted his Missa to the new Elector? What was the disposition of the orchestra and singers? And what led to the choice of this special group of performers from within the Hofkapelle?

    This paper provides insights into the high quality of support offered by Crown Prince Friedrich August II in 1731 to the Hofkapelle of his father August II, a patronage that was to bring this ensemble into an even greater prominence throughout Europe when Friedrich August succeeded as Elector of Saxony and King of Poland in 1733."

    Hopefully this can be published early next year. As soon as Jan has given her paper in Warsaw I will inform the Forum about this new source. To this I might add, that during the conference Vaclav Luks and Collegium 1704 will perform three Bach cantatas and Zelenka's Lamentatio I, and the Miserere ZWV 57.

    Our third co-written article is ready for publication next year:
    "Records of Catholic musicians, actors, and dancers at the court of Augustus II, 1723–1732 and the establishment of the Catholic cemetery in Dresden." Built around another fantastic source find, this gives, for example, a wonderful insight into the household of the Catholic musicians, while also discussing the tension between the two religions in Saxony in this period.

    The proceedings of the Pergolesi conference in Dresden in 2010 have just been published and this includes Roberto Scoccimarro's very interesting article: "Ritornellform und Fuge in der Kirchenmusik von Leonardo Leo und Jan Dismas Zelenka." Roberto's forthcoming publication on Leo is eagerly awaited. Jan Stockigt's already considerable work and publications on the Catholic music sources in Dresden is groundbreaking and her article is: "Music by Italian composers listed into Johann Georg Schürer’s «Catalogo Thematico ... 1765» of the Dresden Hofkirche." My article, "Giovanni Alberto Ristori at the Court of Naples 1738–40", is the result of five years of research on this period in the archive. This shows Zelenka's colleague Ristori acting as a composer, teacher and SPY during his time in Naples, and also his daughter's involvement in huge scandal. It's a fascinating story of music, passion, drama and destiny, and I was very fortunate to have stumbled upon this at the time. For the curious, here's the website of the publisher:…k=68403&concordeid=431206

    Finally, we should keep our eyes open for the exciting work of three of Jan Stockigt's students. First, Frederic Kiernan will soon present his thesis and critical edition of the 6 Ave Regina coelorum settings from 1737 (ZWV 128). This is an excellent work from Fred, which hopefully will be published in the near future. Second, Andrew Frampton is preparing his thesis on one of Zelenka's masses, and third, Shelley Hogan is working on a huge study of the bass section of the Dresden Hofkapelle, which promises to be a key reference tool for the future.


    Following Bach Sinfonia's interesting release of the Capriccio's I would like to share a live recording of the Freiburger Barockorchester performing Capriccio Nr. 3, ZWV 184. This is from a radio broadcast of a concert in Freiburg 17 February 2010 – a few days later I heard the group play the same program live in Berlin. It was simply amazing. Teunis van der Zwart played the first horn and demonstrated his breathtaking and unrivalled virtuosity.

    The Capriccio can be downloaded here – zip file, MP3, 320kb, great sound:

    I wish all Zelenka fans out there a happy New Year!


    Three upcoming radio concerts worth checking out:

    23 August at 20.00 (GMT+2) –

    Johann Friedrich Fasch:
    Suite für 2 Traversflöten, 2 Oboen, Fagott und Streicher
    Jan Dismas Zelenka:
    Immisit Dominus pestilentiam, Kantate
    Attendite et videte, Kantate
    Deus Dux fortissime, Kantate

    Hana Blažíková, Sopran
    Markéta Cukrová, Alt
    Tobias Hunger, Tenor
    Tomáš Král, Bass
    Julie Braná, Traversflöte
    Jana Semerádová, Traversflöte
    Chor und Orchester des Collegium Marianum Prag
    Leitung: Jana Semerádova
    St. Marienkirche Angermünde, 11.8.12

    25 August at 20.00 (GMT+2) –

    Zelenka Missa Omnium Sanctorum ZWV 21

    Vaclav Luks, Collegium 1704
    Live from the Utrecht Early Music Festival

    29 August at 20.00 (GMT+2) –

    Kuhnau - Magnificat
    Zelenka - Magnificat in C
    Zelenka - Magnificat in D
    J.S. Bach - Magnificat in D BWV 243

    Bach Collegium Japan
    o.l.v. Maasaki Suzuki
    Joanne Lunn [sopraan]
    Hannah Morison [sopraan]
    Margot Oitzinger [alt]
    Makoto Sakurada [tenor]
    Dominik Wörner [bas]
    From Utrecht

    It was fitting that the Polish musicologist Szymon Paczkowski chaired the session at Southampton. His discovery in 2007 of Kittel's Virtuosen poem from 1740 (see the relevant thread here in the Forum) is perhaps the single most important find for Zelenka research in recent times, because it showed how Zelenka's contemporaries experienced his music, and where he was placed in the hierarchy of the musical apparatus in Dresden (third, after Hasse and Faustina, the most famous musical couple of the 18th century). I can still remember when I first heard about this source and how it made me question everything that had been written about Zelenka, especially when it comes to the traditional image of Zelenka as an overshadowed composer held in low esteem by the Dresden court.

    And now, after many years of searching in the archives and libraries in Dresden and other locations, I have been able to uncover an abundance of new sources and biographical information which confirms Kittel's view. This has been considered and discussed with Janice Stockigt over a long period of time, and Southampton was the perfect occasion to present an overview of our conclusions. Our findings should help us to see Zelenka's legacy in new light, and question and challenge the usual image as it has been presented in the literature. What will hopefully follow is a complete reappraisal of his stature at the Dresden court, a court that was at the time considered by many to be the most brilliant in all of Europe, a court that only strived for the best in the arts and music, and this included employing the services of our composer.

    Stockigt's absolutely brilliant paper, simply called "Recent research", introduced these and other new archival findings, along with information on new musical sources etc. It was a landmark presentation from the most important scholar and authority on Zelenka and his life. For some time we have been working on a co-written article which will go into details about all the new discoveries, and this should appear in a publication next year. Until then I ask for your patience because it will be worth the wait. Here is the abstract from the conference book:

    Janice B. Stockigt:
    Jan Dismas Zelenka: Recent Research
    "More than one hundred years after the death of Jan Dismas Zelenka (1679–1745), Moritz Fürstenau wrote that this Dresden court church composer was a reserved, bigoted Catholic, but also a respectable, quiet, unassuming man deserving of the greatest respect – one who seemed to have lived a rather lonely and isolated life in Dresden. During the past decade research into the extensive documentation held at the Sächsisches Hauptstaatsarchiv in Dresden from the era of Saxon Electors Friedrich August I (August II as King of Poland) and Friedrich August II (August III as King of Poland) has revealed additional information on the life and surroundings of this Bohemian composer which leads to a re-evaluation of certain assumptions held by Fürstenau and subsequent opinions sustained in the literature. Building on research undertaken since the mid-twentieth century, and including more recent studies, this paper reappraises and expands upon aspects of Zelenka‘s life, his responsibilities, and his stature at the Dresden court. Locations at which he lived are identified. The precarious financial crises experienced by Zelenka, and the help he sought to alleviate these will be re-examined. Information on Zelenka’s death in December 1745 and the exequies held for him have become available, and recently recovered musical sources from Dresden and elsewhere will be reported."

    My presentation focused mainly on Zelenka's activities in the early 1730s and a discovery that I made in the library in Dresden (SLUB). I've already been asked by an editor of a music journal to publish an extended version of this paper, and it should appear late in 2013. Again I ask for your patience. Here is the abstract from the conference book:

    Jóhannes Ágústsson:
    The secular vocal music collection of Jan Dismas Zelenka: A reconstruction
    "Those who study the numerous manuscripts in the possession of the Dresden court church composer Jan Dismas Zelenka soon become aware of the numbering system he used to keep his collection in order. The numerals he wrote on the scores or the wrappers enclosing them match the position of the same works listed in different sections of his Inventarium of sacred music. The presence of these numbers can be taken as firm evidence of his ownership. While it has been acknowledged that Zelenka owned a few manuscripts of operatic arias, no research has been undertaken on this subject. During a systematic trawl in the Saxon State and University Library in Dresden I found what are possibly the remnants of Zelenka’s private collection of arias, duets and cantatas. All these manuscripts are numbered in the usual way by the owner, and this fact strongly suggests that Zelenka prepared another inventory, today lost, for his collection of secular vocal music. This paper proposes that this fascinating selection, which includes works by some of the best known composers of the day, was acquired and used by Zelenka for study and performance during a period when he served as acting Kapellmeister between the death of Heinichen in 1729 and the arrival of Hasse in 1734. A partial reconstruction based on a royal catalogue fragment from ca. 1743 will be provided, and further little-known aspects of Zelenka’s life during the interregnum will be discussed."

    Our two papers were followed by Roberto Scoccimarro's detailed analysis of Zelenka's settings of the Marian Antiphons, while Patricia Corbin gave an overview of the musical structure of the Missa Dei Filii, using musical examples to make her point, as well as sharing her experience as a director/performer of the work. I hope that both will publish and share their valuable insights. Here are the abstracts of their papers, as copied from the conference book:

    Roberto Scoccimarro:
    Jan Dismas Zelenka's settings of the Marian Antiphons
    "Between 1724 and 1738 Jan Dismas Zelenka composed nineteen Marian Antiphons. The group of these works covers a long period of the composer's career and unfolds an astonishing variety of technical solutions. The setting of the Regina coeli Z129, composed after 1728, for example, shows two slow choral sections on the whole text, which are followed by a third section in tempo Vivace. On the other side, another setting of the same antiphon, Z129 (composed 1729), is conceived in only one movement in concertato-style. In the later composed Regina coeli Z133, we can observe a first section with a duet for oboes 'concertanti' and at the same time a line in half notes in the style of a cantus firmus. This section appears again after a second one in 3/2 time signature, so that the composer shows the intention to use, among other possibilities, the Da Capo-form. An extraordinary rhythmical richness is shown in the antiphon Alma redemptoris mater Z126, in which the last text line, 'Peccatorum miserere', builds an autonomous section characterized by the use of chromatic writing. Another setting of Alma redemptoris mater, Z127, begins with a fugal exposition for four voices, but continues with two very different sections. On the basis of these examples it is clear that Zelenka searched for individual, ambitious solutions not only in works of vast dimensions, like the last masses, but also in the setting of short texts like the antiphons. The goal of this paper is, after an analysis of the nineteen works, to understand the relation between the text and the musical sections and more generally the meaning of such a wide spectrum of experimentations. Was Zelenka's intention only to show the spread of his compositional skills, or did he want to explore the depth of the liturgical text through an unsuspected variety of musical settings?"

    Patricia Corbin:
    The Missa Dei Filii ZWV 20: An introduction to the late Masses of Jan Dismas Zelenka (1679-1745)
    "During the eighteenth century the Dresden court of August II, Elector of Saxony, better known as 'August the Strong', and his son, August III, was a major cultural center in Europe that attracted some of the finest musicians in Europe. One of those musicians was the Bohemian composer Jan Dismas Zelenka. At the turn of the eighteenth century, August II and his son converted to Catholicism for political reasons. Music was needed for the newly established Catholic services and many of the musicians in court were called upon to supply it. Jan Dismas Zelenka was one of those musicians. From 1710 until his death in 1745, Zelenka was employed as a violonist in the court orchestra. While travelling with the Electoral Prince in Vienna and Venice, between 1716-1719, Zelenka had the opportunity to study polyphonic composition with Johann Fux in Vienna, as well as the emerging 'Italian' style. In 1733, opera composer Johann Adolf Hasse, was appointed Dresden Kapellmeister and brought the newer Italian operatic style to Dresden and was enthusiastically received by the court. Zelenka, whose archaic compositional style was falling out of favour, had to incorporate more of this new Italian style into his later compositions. The Missa Dei Filii is one of Zelenka's later works and shows the extreme contrasts of teh archaic stile antico tradition as well as the newer stilo moderno practices. The virtuosic demands on the singers and instrumentalists give insight into the caliber of musicians employed at the Dresden court."

    It was a good day for Zelenka.


    I'd welcome a new complete recording of the orchestral works. Of the two existing recordings Camerata Bern has its charm for historical reasons but I don't revisit that often. Sonnentheil and DNEO, well that's a love/hate relationship, sometimes the music is truly elegant and inspiring in the slow parts, while at other times I feel like giving them a hard kick up the backside.

    Having heard the Freiburger Barockorchester play some of these works live in the past few years I think they are the ideal group of virtuosos for this repertoire. They surely love playing Zelenka's music, he's an ever present composer in their concerts and the broadcast of their Missa Dei Filii last December presents the outstanding version of that work so far in my opinion. There is more to look forward to from the Freiburgers next year, when they will perform the oratorio I penitenti ZWV 63 during Easter.

    Their majestic Zelenka/Pisendel CD is always one of my favorite recordings of the Dresden baroque. But I also like Dombrecht and Il Fondamento's Prague 1723 CD, which is full of spirit and expression.

    This is great news Alistair and many thanks to KingMaximilian for his role in this. I've donated 80 Euros and hope that others will follow suit.

    Best wishes to all from Dresden,

    WOW. I really hope everyone has bought this CD. It has hardly left my player since it arrived last month. Stunningly performed by Collegium Marianum, as David Nelson rightly says in his survey, with Hana Blazikova in fantastic form along with Tomas Král, who has been excellent in the last few Zelenka recordings. And the music is so amazingly beautiful, the arias, the choruses, everything is just perfect here. I consider this to be one of the greatest and most important releases of Zelenka's music.

    Well, after having lived with the CD for some time I must say how happy I am with the outcome. The Christe eleison is deeply moving aria and well interpreted by Kai Wessel. Here, the string playing is absolutely out of this world. One senses Zelenka's complete mastery when it comes to the word painting and orchestral effects. The Barbara dira effera! is another rocket in the spirit of Il Diamante, a collage of familiar themes. Adam Viktora has done us Zelenka fans great service by bringing out this motet and the serenata, which show that our composer was well capable of writing some terrific music in the operatic style with his unique voice – in spite of what some of the musicologist say.

    Bernius is a tough act to follow when it comes to the Missa Omnium Sanctorum, I think most of us agree on that. His is a fine version which is hard to critizise. There is one thing I do admire with Bernius – the intensity and excitement of the music making can always be felt. As I have stated elsewhere in the Forum, I still feel that his reading of the Missa Dei Patris is the pinnacle of all Zelenka recordings.

    Adam Viktora's version of ZWV 21 is wonderful as well, and of course different. Well performed as usual by Ensemble Inegal, it has got convincing and natural tempos, good singing (by a smaller choir than Bernius uses), and most of all, a reading committed to Zelenka's autograph. It sounds "sharper", more precise. There are some things that Bernius interpreted differently when it comes to the autograph. This I learned last summer while visiting Prague in the company of Zelenka scholar Janice Stockigt.

    We had the pleasure to spend a day with Adam and Gabriela and their lovely kids. I had brought a copy of the autograph from Dresden for Adam in preparation of the recording, and was thrilled to listen in when he and Janice discussed the different instructions and important details that Zelenka left in the score. One of the things I remember is that Zelenka's idea of using legato "Et vitam..." and staccato "Amen" simultaneously, was mentioned as being a good example of his orginality: I took note because like Elwro, I love this movement. Zelenka has used this to good effect before, for example in the Cum sancto spiritu in Missa S. Josephi, and in the Pleni sunt coeli in Missa Purificationis.

    So now we have two great versions of Zelenka's last Mass. I do wonder if we'll get the third one soon? I see that Vaclav Luks and his Collegium 1704 will be performing the work late next year, that is very exciting news. Anyway, I must add that now that we've heard Adam's reading with all its attention to detail, I do wish he will continue to give us more of the late Masses. Be sure, I have already made that request to him, on more than one occasion!