Posts by djdresden


    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.

    Hi all,

    the idea of a Zelenka society is indeed very exciting. In my opinion this is something to aim for in the future when the Forum has gained more momentum with more members and contributions. There are many ways to do this but of course it takes commitment, time and funding. But I think the foundations and the will is already here through the work of Alistair.

    If - down the line - someone would take the responsibility for this I see no reason why it couldn't be successful, with bi-annual meetings, publications etc. As a member of the Fasch Society I have been very impressed by the dedication of the people who are behind it and there is already a lasting monument of research and publications about this fantastic composer, who as many will know had strong connections to the Dresden Court.

    The key to this could be the people of Dresden and Prague. After all there have been two conferences there, in 1991 and 1995, both of which have resulted in brilliant publications. How about a conference in Dresden in 2010 or 2011 - when there will be 300 years since Zelenka entered the service of Court?

    Finally I am glad to report that there are two new books on our composer, one in French and the first biography in Czech. See below.



    we have an exciting online concert coming up. Zelenka's great Missa Votiva ZWV 18 played by the home forces. Rejoice!


    Saturday, 02.09. 16:00 Uhr (14:00 GMT)

    Jan Dismas Zelenka: Missa Votiva ZWV 18

    Dresdner Kammerchor
    Dresdner Barockorchester

    Conductor: Hans-Christoph Rademann
    Susanna Pütters, Sopran
    David Cordier, Altus
    Eric Stokloßa, Tenor
    Henryk Böhm, Bass

    Recorded 2. July 2006, Georgenkirche Schwarzenberg.

    and not take from either the cantata or the oratorio". This is the core of what Fux said. Since all of my Fux literature is on loan (a performance of his Dafne e Laure his being planned!) I don't have the quote. A Requiem should have a solemn and serious character of its own (sorry, this is what I meant by saying different style for each occasion, not that he was experimenting). Could Zelenka have taken the advice literally by the book?

    The instrumentation gives something away since the Dresden court didn't use trombones after 1725 so if this is his work, or an arrangement, it's an early one. For me it's the choral writing which is most convincing. The Kyrie, Lacrimosa, esp. the second half (from ca.2.40), the Sanctus, Benedictus and the all the Agnus Dei (f.e.from ca.4.35) all have some Zelenkism's. Earlier works like the Sepolcro Cantatas ZWV 59 (1712) and ZWV 60 (1716) sometimes have a fairly simple bassline and violin writing, in parts not unlike the Requiem, but the beauty of the choral fugues is already there.

    Here are a few highlights from the literature:

    Hader and others have suggested that this could be the Requiem ZWV 247 for his father, performed by the court musicians on the 3rd of March 1724, two days earlier than De Profundis ZWV 50 was performed, another work with three trombones (and oboes...). Hader also states that he has found a parody in the middle part of the Sequenz - and that this could come from an unknown Stabat Mater setting.

    In the Zelenka Dokumentation 1, Reich speculates if this could be a pasticchio with music by Zelenka, and while the article acknowledges the stylistic difference to other works, the choral parts has many of the typical elements, taking Osanna and the Dona in the Agnus Dei as an example.

    Riedel, in Zelenka Studien II, wonders if this is an early work from the Vienna years, where Zelenka would undoubtedly have studied the Requiem settings of the likes of Bertali, Schmelzer, Leopold I and Fux. He adds that stylistically it resembles Fux's majestic and famous c-moll "Kaiser" Requiem from 1720 (but probably originating in 1697). That beautiful work is more concertante but the trombones certainly give it a grave color. This could explain the absence of oboes. I have a few recordings of liturgical works from Vienna ca.1700, so I can see Riedel's point.

    While no new manuscripts come along we have to trust our ears, check the sources and different opinions will form. This isn't the only Requiem that can be considered dubious, ZWV 48, of which no autograph exists, has it's doubters as well, including the much mentioned Hader. He tears it apart in his book. What about that!!

    Back to ZVW 45, are there any other composers that come to mind when listening to this work?

    This is an interesting suggestion. There is no information to my knowledge about the meeting of the two men. But 5 of Fischer's Vespers compositions are kept in Dresden partly in Zelenka's handwriting and arrangements. And he studied there in the 1670's, possibly even with Schutz. Fischer's mass and the other pieces on the cd are the works of a master in my opinion. If you have the opportunity check out his Musicalischer Parnassus keyoard suites, ca.1736, especially the Toccata of the Thalia suite. Now that's familiar! Also, on the Antes label there is a good cd with orchestral suites (french style), cembalo and organ works and another solid mass, Missa in contrapuncto for 4 voices and b.c.

    Regarding the Requiem ZWV 45, I think this is Zelenka, though at first I had my doubts (I immediatly thought of Lotti). In the early 1720's Zelenka wrote in many different styles for each occasion (I think it was Fux who stressed the importance of this, but I could be wrong), f.e. ZWV 53, 55, 175, 181 to name a few, so a solemn Requiem fits this pattern. And it has the emotional power of some of Zelenka's other works. However a new recording would be welcome for a different perspective.

    In this context I have to recommend Wolfram Hader's book on the Requiem settings in the Dresden Court Church 1720-1764. He thinks that the parts in Prague come from a Dresden score, secondly that on the manuscript in Berlin the title page gives the author as Giov: Dism: Zelenka, which is the shortening he used in most of his autographs. So the copy could be from a lost original. But many still differ on this matter.

    The book is full of juicy information. I'll give more details later.

    Wolfram Hader: Requiem-Vertonungen in der Dresdner Hofkirchenmusik von 1720-1764.
    Verlegt bei Hans Schneider - Tutzing, 2001.


    I have just come back from Dresden where Il serpente di bronzo and the Miserere ZWV 57 were performed in the Frauenkirche, by the Dresdner Barockorchester, Sachsisches VocalEnsemble and soloists directed by Matthias Jung.
    I am delighted to say that the concert was great success. The tempos were generally a bit slower than on the recently released cd but the overall shape was very good. The fiery allegro aria of God which has to be one of the most aggressive arias of Zelenka, was brilliantly sung by the bass Jochen Kupfer. The majestic Miserere was also beautifully sung by the choir. After both works there was a long silence and then a long and heartful applause. Two days earlier I heard Concerto Köln in the same church, great concert but the reaction was nothing like this. Let's hope that the Snake will now slip into the repertoire...

    Many of Zelenka's works have already been printed by various publishers and in the catalogue of Das Erbe Deutscher Musik there is an impressive list of works that are on deposit and await publication and performances. The link is:

    In addtion to this there are probably other works that have been edited elsewhere and are not presented in this catalogue. My guess is that roughly 75-80% of Zelenka's music has been edited. This is quite an achievement in a relatively short time.

    Hats off for the musicologists, they are doing a fantastic job!

    Thankfully there are more and more live performances of
    Zelenka's music every year. I regularly scan the internet
    wishing I could witness them all.

    Here is a small addition on upcoming and important concerts:

    Dresdner Musikfestspiele Montag, 29.05.2006,
    Frauenkirche, Dresden,
    Zelenka: Miserere ZWV 57, Il serpente ZWV 61,
    Sächsisches Vokalensemble,
    Dresdner Barockorchester,
    Matthias Jung.

    So., 2. Juli
    Jan Dismas Zelenka: Missa votiva ZWV 18,
    Susanna Pütters, David Cordier, Eric Stokloßa, Henryk Böhm
    Dresdner Kammerchor
    Dresdner Barockorchester
    Leitung: Hans-Christoph Rademann
    Schwarzenberg, St. Georgen

    Dresden „Tage der Alten Musik“
    anlässlich des Dresdner Stadtjubiläums Eröffnungskonzert
    J. D. Zelenka: Missa votiva ZWV 18,
    Solisten, Dresdner Kammerchor, Dresdner Barockorchester
    Hans-Christoph Rademann

    It will be great to hear the Dresdner Barockorchester take on
    Il serpente, which is a stunning work as can be heard on the new
    recording on Nibiru.