Posts by Xanaseb

    Dear all,

    Below is my summary of the papers which were presented at the Zelenka Conference in Prague, dedicated to the memory of Wolfgang Horn, held on Friday 18 October at the Musicological Library, Puškinovo náměstí 447/9. This was chaired by Samantha Owens, musicologist at the New Zealand School of Music.
    Apologies for not getting this out sooner. I am mostly going by my notes from the conference. Please message me if you would like me to edit/add to them.
    For each paper, I start with the abstracts which were given here on the Zelenka Festival website.
    Important note: I've included a couple links to the free-access journal Clavibus Unitis. There have been some new articles added to the 2019 issue of this journal which compiles papers presented at the Zelenka Conference from 2017-2019. Please see here to access them all. I will post a separate thread about this and also the 2020 issue, so far.

    1. Jóhannes ÁGÚSTSSON: 'Johann Samuel Kaÿser 1708-1750: Composer, Double Bass Player and Zelenka's Colleague and Assistant'

    In November 1731, the twenty-three-year old Johann Samuel Kaÿser was hired as a double bass player in the Dresden Hofkapelle. When his formal employment began on 1 February 1732, Kaÿser became only the second youngest instrumentalist in the famous orchestra and this fact suggests that he was considered a talented musician by his superiors. But who was Kaÿser? This paper looks at his life and musical activities in Leipzig and Dresden, and introduces new sources confirming his close relation to Zelenka.

    Jóhannes Ágústsson (whom you may also know as djdresden on the Zelenka forum) presented research on this colleague of Zelenka's, who was 2nd Bass player, an organist, teacher and composer.

    [The following parts in 'quotation marks' are taken directly from the paper, excerpts of which he kindly shared with me:]
    "The sources presented in this paper give us a fascinating insight into the relation between Kaÿser and Zelenka, both on a personal and professional level. And it is easy to see why they might have been drawn to each other, in spite of the difference in age and religious beliefs. Both were sons of the local schoolmaster and church organist; both learned music from their fathers and later, they took up the same instrument.”
    "Kaÿser applied for an organist position in Leipzig before he came to Dresden. In 1733 he applied for the organist position in the St Sophien church in Dresden, which was awarded to WF Bach. He was a teacher of the Lutheran choristers in that church."
    Ágústsson went into his findings from the church registers of Dresden. This significantly expanded our understanding of how relationships functioned through wedding and baptismal witnesses in the Dresden Hofkapelle. Here are some interesting points related to Zelenka:
    - Zelenka was godfather to J.S.Kaÿser's son. This was a Lutheran baptism, showing that they were crossing denominational confessional boundaries. "The fact that Zelenka was a godfather to a Lutheran child is a very pleasant surprise, because it does not wholly agree with the image presented by Moritz Fürstenau in the 19th century of Zelenka’s supposed bigotry […]. When one considers that Zelenka stood witness alongside his close friend, the Lutheran concertmaster Johann Georg Pisendel, to the wedding of the Catholic Uhlig to a Lutheran woman, in what can only be described as a union of the two religions, it suggests that in spite of his strong beliefs in the Catholic rites, Zelenka’s religious attitude was much more liberal than we have been made to believe. Moreover, this baptismal entry lays to rest baseless statements in the literature that Zelenka was isolated from the family circles of his musical colleagues; clearly he was not."

    Ágústsson then showed some evidence which point to Kaÿser being a student of Zelenka. There are two pieces known to be composed by Kaÿser. Firstly, there is a 1734 cantata written by Kaÿser which borrowsexactly, the opening of the Invitatorium from the 1733 Requiem music for Augustus II by Zelenka. Secondly, there is a motet which Ágústsson found in the Berlin State Library which is currently attributed to another composer but is in fact an autograph of JSKaÿser. There are also three Miserere settings signed as 'S. G. K.' - very likely S[ignor] G[iovanni] K[aÿser]. (As Jan Stockigt has pointed out, we know that Zelenka seems to have set the Miserere for his students as a compositional task). Kaÿser's hand is also seen in several works in Zelenka's collection.

    It is quite possible that Zelenka visited Töplitz/Teplice in July 1739 to direct a musical event held for August III and Maria Josepha at the nearby estate of Dux. There is evidence that places Kaÿser and other virtuosi from the Hofkapelle there and very likely Zelenka as well, who would have directed the performance as the acting Kapellmeister.

    Ágústsson finished by displaying the calligraphic title page of Zelenka's 1741/44 Litaniae Lauretanae 'Consolatrix Afflictorum', which is in Kaÿser's hand. He also demonstrated that Kaÿser assisted Zelenka when the music catalogue of Maria Josepha was compiled in 1743: this important but incomplete catalogue is in Kaÿser’s hand.

    2. Janice STOCKIGT: 'The Genesis and Evolution of Zelenka’s Missa Sanctae Caeciliae (ZWV 1)'

    An overview of the sources of Zelenka’s earliest known mass, whose first reported performance took place in Dresden on 22 November 1711, gives a complex and often confusing history. On 31 January 1712, this mass again was heard in Dresden in the presence of August II, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland to whom the work is dedicated. The dedication score prepared by Philipp Troyer at an unknown time during the second decade of the eighteenth century probably gives the best record of the performance of 1712. Movements from Missa Sanctae Caeciliae were then were used by Zelenka in his Latin oratorio Attendite et videte (ZWV 59) which was performed in Prague at the Holy Sepulchre of St Salvatore on Good Friday, 1712. Moreover, a set parts for the Credo of this mass came to the collection of the Prague Kreuzherren Order after the death in 1734 of one of the copyists, Kryštof Gayer. In circa 1727, Zelenka used the original score to revise his Missa Sanctae Caeciliae. Such is the confusing state of this manuscript that when, more than a century later, Christian Wilhelm Fischer attempted to make a clean copy, he did not – or could not – proceed beyond the second movement of the Gloria. Examination of these sources, especially the autograph and the copy by Troyer, raises many questions about Zelenka’s reasons for the revisions of 1711, 1712, and circa 1727 (and possibly even later). Alterations to both the structure and scoring of Missa Sanctae Caeciliae lead to hypotheses about the changing personnel within the Dresden Hofkapelle and a shift in musical taste and performance styles of sacred music in the Catholic court church of Dresden.

    Prof. Stockigt took on this monster of a Mass ( in terms of its history), with its multiple revisions and copies. Here is her paper which was made into an article for Clavibus Unitis 2019.


    This Welsh concert held in Brecon Cathedral from 25th October 2019 completely missed my notice, which is a shame because it looks like it was a great success, producing a number of positive reviews:

    The Arts Desk

    Wales Arts Review

    The Guardian

    The Church Times (a review of concerts from the whole festival)

    The performers were:

    'The 24' University of York choir, conducted by Robert Hollingworth of (the great) 'I Fagiolini'
    'Brecon Baroque' ensemble, led by esteemed period-violinist Rachel Podger.

    Rebecca Lea soprano
    Ciara Hendrick mezzo soprano
    Nicholas Hurndall Smith tenor
    George Clark baritone
    Stuart O’Hara bass
    Baritone George North - sung the 1st Lamentation.


    The programme was:

    ZWV19 Missa Dei Patris
    ZWV53 Lamentation of Jeremiah, no.1 [performed after the Kyrie]
    H.I.F Biber
    Rosary Sonata 'The Resurrection' [performed after the Credo]

    The Arts Desk review written by Stephen Walsh was particularly eye-opening! Here's just an extract:

    "But Zelenka isn’t just eccentric; his music is evidence of an acute but oddly conditioned ear. His orchestral sonorities are sometimes little short of incredible, twittering and groaning, long bass pedals that you expect to lead to finishes (as in Bach) but don’t, or the mercurial, quick-stepping fanfares that open the “Et Resurrexit”. Above all his expressive line and his use of vocal ornament are utterly personal, utterly riveting. His Lamentatio pro Die Mercurii Sancto, a setting of part of the biblical Lamentations, is painfully beautiful music unlike anything in Bach or Handel to my knowledge, with an exquisitely shaped vocal line and rich, dark string sonorities like echoes from a deep tomb."

    and here's an extract from Cath Barton's review from Wales Arts:

    "In his opening remarks, Hollingworth compared Zelenka to a d o g with a bone, and this certainly evoked the spirit of this music which seemed to pre-figure that of later composers. It was not without reason that Hollingworth pointed out that this was not Mozart; he could have mentioned Haydn and Rossini too."

    The music of Zelenka strikes again,


    Hi Odie,

    I would definitely be up for such a meeting :cool:. It would be good to chat about Zelenka &c.

    Let us all hope that this virus crisis situation will ease off by October for the next Zelenka Festival & Conference in Prague.

    All the best,


    Great stuff, I for one am supporting it on indiegogo. :cool:

    The YouTube recording is promising, but also quite shocking, as the tempo on the Christe Eleison ostinato is *fast*! I trust Collegium 1704's interpretation, and hope it sounds good as a whole.
    I commend Václav Luks for approaching this challenging work(s).

    Best wishes,


    Dear all,

    I've just come across this concert advertisement for the Svatováclavský hudební festival:

    and this from the Collegium website:…/959/-/zelenka-missa-1724

    Václav Luks is putting together the various ZWV manuscripts of the Mass Ordinary from c.1724 and dubbing it 'Missa 1724'. This is very exciting, as these works provide some idea of Zelenka's early period exuberant long-format writing style and use of trombones. It's not technically a world premiere, as most of these have been performed and filmed before by the Russkaya Conservatoria with director Nikolai Khozhdinsky. Here is their meaty performance of the ZWV30 Gloria:, and you can find the Qui Tollis II, Gratias Agimus Tibi and the liberally interpreted Cum Sancto Spiritu ( it includes timpani!)

    I am very much looking forward to Collegium 1704's interpretation, if I ever get to hear it. I hope some recording will surface.

    Best wishes,


    I remember his insightful analysis of Zelenka's Mass compositions at the 2016 conference. For example, he pointed out that in his Masses, Zelenka almost never composed arias for a quartet of voices, but for a trio of voices at most. Then afterwards at the pub he was great and company with many stories, indeed.
    Zelenka research and performance would have been a lot poorer without his contributions - Rest in peace, Prof. Wolfgang Horn.

    Great news, though I was half-hoping they'd do ZWV 4 Sancti Spiritus first - I guess we have to wait!

    I wonder what other music they'll record to accompany ZWV1, because it surely isn't long enough for the CD by itself

    Merry Christmas everyone! Have fantastic holidays, happy New Year and hopefully, see you all next year in Prague for the Festival!

    Ondřej Dobisík

    I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas & a happy New Year indeed!

    Waiting especially on this CD to become active, as I hope others may be too. This last set of psalms promises to be the most radical and rewarding of the whole series!


    Best wishes,