Posts by Alistair

    Hi, Shaun

    It's good to know your thoughts. These are more long-term than I had expected, and I see no reason why a Zelenka Society could not evolve from what we have now.

    Having read my own ravings again (see above), I think what I was getting at is that a Zelenka network has to be seen to function long before a Zelenka Society can be formed.

    The Yahoo business is fine, but there is no real advantage to having a free forum. The one we have is free as long as the Discover Zelenka website exists. The website itself is expanding mainly because of many-megabyte MP3 files arriving every week, not because there are so many contrributions to the forum!

    I see your point if a Yahoo forum has a higher profile than the one we have. But would it, though, given that we already have the address

    Thanks for explaining the situation G-A, and for your suggestion, Shaun.

    To me it seems as if there really is a good Zelenka following. Many of the people who have contacted me over the past 5 years have been long-term followers of Zelenka's music and collectors of Zelenka CDs. Some have just "discovered" Zelenka and are hungry for more.

    Having said that, I think there is a difference between being interested and in being committed. I would guess that there are very few people who are committed enough to follow the idea of a Zelenka Society.

    If I remember correctly, there was/is a Zelenka Society in the Czech Republic (which could be reached at but the website disappeared about 3 years ago as their proposed ventures were not funded.

    In my opinion, for the idea to work, it would have to start small and those involved would have to show that they are really committed.

    By committed I mean:

      Prepared to communicate by e-mail on a regular basis (e.g. answering within 1-3 days)

      Prepared to post regularly on the forum

      Prepared to contribute in a positive way that would be seen or felt by the others

      Even prepared to meet up

    I would say that the idea of money having to be paid is not so important in the beginning. It could perhaps be voluntary to pay, say, 50 dollars or less a year towards maintenance of the website. Indirectly, this would be a payment for the existence of the forum.

    For a small group of people - which to my eyes roughly corresponds to those we see contributing regularly to the forum - "Zelenka Society" is perhaps too fancy a term.

    Perhaps what I am getting at is that such a group would be small but not exclusive. The members would exclude themselves by failing to contribute. Then we would always know the sheep from the goats!

    Dear Derek,

    I expect that it will be on Carus or Raumklang and be released some time in 2007. I have now made enquiries...

    By the way, in my humble opinion the Thorofon recording of Missa Votiva, although not on original instruments and a bit reverberant, is really lovely. Certainly, we will get new insights into the work with the new recording.

    All the best. /Alistair

    There was an important academic conference on Zelenka and his music in 1995, held in Dresden and Prague.

    It was then that the plaque commemorating Zelenka was organized and unveiled in Dresden. The plaque is on a hotel wall only a short walk from the site of the original Catholic Court Church, which was attached to the court buildings until about 1890.

    Yes, I agree. Thanks also to G.Reuss who started this idea, and who has hopefully now put ZWV 29 on the "map".

    The public repository of electronic files can be reached from the starting page of the Discover Zelenka website.

    Best wishes from Sweden.

    I'm not sure I was trying to diminish Zelenka; after all, he wrote about 240 other works. ZWV 45 will probably always be attributed to him, but one can at least speculate. I am haunted by ZWV 45, and I love Zelenka's music in general, but I am not at all convinced that his style was as broad as this.

    This is what the Bach scholar Peter Wollny wrote about Jan Dismas Zelenka:

    "He must have been a strange man: stubborn, reserved, melancholy, fervently religious - which appeared as bigotry to some - and totally uncourtly in his manner". (CD notes to Hyperion CDA67350. Available at

    Mr. Wollny seems to have a very good imagination. Here is some more fiction, this time about Zelenka's reaction to Hasse being made kapellmeister and the remaining 10-12 years of Zelenka's life:

    "With his complex and ornate style he did not stand a chance against Hasse's disarming simplicity. Zelenka became withdrawn, composed far less and died in December 1745 an embittered, broken man".

    Nothing is mentioned about the fact that Zelenka had written 2 oratorios, 5 masses, 2 litaniae and other works during that last period of his life. Also, if Peter Wollny had been familiar with Zelenka's last masses, he would have known that there is tremendous energy and power there that contradicts his words "embittered" and "broken".

    Was J. S. Bach embittered and broken when he put together his B-minor (H-moll) mass near the end of his life? Bach had also applied for the same position as Zelenka, and neither of them got it. I would have said that Zelenka may have been flattered to be in the same rank as Bach, and his music certainly tells us that he had gained new strength - even in the face of failing health.

    I would appreciate other people's comments on this issue.:rolleyes:


    I was the one who started this thread, but I am not sure you have followed my argument. I didn't suggest that Fischer wrote music like that of Zelenka. This whole thread is about ZWV 45, which is not typical of Zelenka.

    Regards, Alistair

    "I got too much sparetime anyway." I like that!

    Anyway, I have done it, but in a way that doesn't have to involve me all the time. It is best just for responsible people to upload files to a directory. It might not be very fancy, at least in the beginning.

    The only problem is security, as I have noticed even now that there are people registering on the forum in order just to spam us! I take away a false name and entries on average once every 2 days.

    It means that those interested in participating would have to e-mail me their own choice of username and password (not necessarily the same as that you use for the forum, but it can be if you want), which I would have to enter into a list of priveleged users.

    Then you would go to the password-protected directory and click on the file "new_upload.php" to see the form for sending your files. This would allow you to upload individual files (max size 20 Mb), remembering that it will probably take several minutes before you will get any confirmation. The form page and the confirmation page have links back to the list of Midi files.

    The Midi files can be downloaded from the list by right-clicking on the names.

    Is all that clear? It will be once you have sent me a username/password combination and log in to the directory. The name of the Midi file or the inner content must contain meaningful information, as this is the only handle that the file will have. Start with the ZWV number. Any other information will have to be sent to me by e-mail, so that eventually the files can be placed on the website for the general public in a more presentable fashion.

    At the moment, this is just to make the idea function for a few individuals, at least until the list of Midi files grows.

    Hi Shaun,

    Great to hear from you again. I think your suggestion has a great deal of merit, but there are complications:

    1. Many of Zelenka's big works (e.g. the final masses) have already been published by world-renowned German publishers, and there might be copyright issues. I am not sure whether they own all the rights to copying/transcription/printing of these works. Perhaps someone can tell us.

    2. The music department of SLUB in Dresden photographs (not scans) the individual pages and charges per page. One is not allowed to photograph individual manuscripts oneself. Thus, if this was done in bulk, someone (I?) would have to fork out a whole lot of money - which of course everyone else could gain from.

    3. The head of the music department of SLUB is a very busy man and is not always communicative. I am busy trying to organize more manuscript pages for the Discover Zelenka website, but I don't know yet if it will happen.

    By the way, the link to CPDL is

    My question back to you would be: if one Zelenka work can land on CPDL, why can't others? What is it that determines whether a work can be included in that database of sheet music? Is it only unpublished works?

    Thanks, djdresden, for some very useful information.

    As I understand it, it is not just the style(s) of music in ZWV 45 that may point to it being a composition by someone else. Zelenka never entered it in his inventory. If, as you imply, he had written it at a period of his life when he was experimenting with different styles, the work should have been documented by him in his own hand.

    If it had been written late in life - perhaps too late for him to be bothered or well enough to continue documentation - it would probably have borne some degree of likeness to the music of ZWV 18-21 (the final masses) or ZWV 151-152 (Litaniae Lauretanae), when he was "doing his own thing", but it is markedly different.

    I have no knowledge of Lotti's music, so I cannot comment on him as a potential composer of this work. I am also prepared to believe that Zelenka's pen may have been responsible for the Introitus and Kyrie of ZWV 45. "Osanna" of the Sanctus, Benedictus, Osanna, Agnus Dei all have hallmarks of the colourful and melodious J. C. F. Fischer we can hear through Missa Inventionis Sanctae Crucis, but it is perhaps the "Cum sanctis tuis" that bears most resemblance. I doubt very much if the "Dies Irae" section (Dies Irae to Lacrimosa) was written by the same composer, and probably not by Zelenka either judging by the simple textures. To me, it is not polyphonic enough to be Zelenka.

    Don't get me wrong; I love the whole work and am haunted by it. My feeling that Zelenka did not write much of it does not detract from the pleasure I get from listening to it.

    I hope that some musicologist (musical archaeologist?) may be able to help us.

    Johan Caspar Ferdinand Fischer (1656-1746) was a contemporary of Zelenka, although Fischer was more than 20 years older. Both composers were Bohemian, and - like Zelenka - Fischer had strong professional ties with Prague. Fischer also had a wide knowledge of the musical styles of Italy, France and Central Europe and his keyboard music is said to have pre-empted J.S. Bach's set of pieces for 24 keys. One author called him "nostri aevi Componista absolutissumus" (Mauritius Vogt, Prague 1719).

    After having listened to the Missa Inventionis Sanctae Crucis by Fischer (on Supraphon SU 3534-2 231), I can't help feeling that J. C. F. Fischer is a better candidate composer for ZWV 45 (Requiem in C minor) than J.D. Zelenka! Zelenka's own style(s) is (are) quite different. Fischer certainly had a religious connection in Prague (with the Order of the Knights of the Cross), and the work (ZWV 45) comes to us from a copy kept in Strahov Monastery, Prague, and dated some 18 years after he and Zelenka both died.

    I suppose we can't rule out the possibility that there was more than one Zelenka, though.

    Question: Do we have any formal evidence that Zelenka and Fischer ever met?

    There appears to be some confusion here. ZWV 48 is Requiem in D minor and ZWV 45 is Requiem in C minor. I think this has come about because of a silly mistake on a Pascaille CD (Il Fondamento cond. by Paul Dombrecht) which states that ZWV 48 is in C minor (wrong).

    Which Requiem do you mean, Phil?

    Many thanks. This is obviously something that I have missed in the database, and should be corrected.

    One correction for people reading this page: as you pointed out in a private e-mail, skiaouros, the 2-CD issue was on Denon/Nippon Columbia (Japan) but the original recording and LP issue was from Supraphon.

    Greetings from Sweden. /A.

    With a performance of Missa Dei Filii in Glasgow (UK) this evening, a Zelenka evening with Heinz Holliger and friends on 8th April (Lucerne), a performance of Missa Omnium Sanctorum in Exmouth (UK) in May, and a performance of the Miserere in Hoorn (the Netherlands) in September, the Zelenka revival seems to be gaining momentum.

    One serious concern, which several correspondents to the Discover Zelenka website have expressed, is the very high cost of hiring performance material from the existing publishers. This is a potential stumbling block to performance of Zelenka material, as concerts have to break even or turn in a profit.

    Does anyone have any bright ideas as to how this problem can be solved in a legal fashion?