Posts by Rik1

    Two new Zelenka articles are found in the next issue of Clavibus Unitis:

    This includes Anselm Harasim’s fine study about the Magnificats ZWV 107+108. This was the paper he gave in the Zelenka conference last October as reported above. I am hoping that more papers from the conference will be added to this issue soon, especially Michael Maul’s report on the important document he uncovered in Pirna.

    My co-written article with Jan Stockigt on the Te Deum performance in Bautzen in May 1733 is also included. This has been forever in the works so it is a big relief to have it out of the way. Some of the information is already in our big Zelenka article from last year, but here is the full story. It was such a great pleasure to work on this article and to walk in the footsteps of Zelenka in the St Petri Dom, and also to see the house where he stayed with the butchers wife. Enjoy!

    Thanks very much for posting these. Really interesting reading.

    On reading the Te Deum article, it reminded me about something I had been meaning to post on this forum for a while; the interpretation or best practice on allocating flute parts from Zelenka's scores. The Te Deum is an example of a score where flutes only appear in a couple of movements in the score, but in some Dresden works you will find that although flutes don't appear in the score there will be parts for them where they double the oboes in Tutti sections of the music. An big example of this is the score and parts for Hasse's Cleofide (although the parts in existence might not be the original first performance performing parts, I'm not sure). JS Bach's Dresden Mass is another example where the parts show the flutes doubling in movements other than those indicated in the score. But that doesn't always appear to be the case. There are also other examples, where the original flute parts only have the movements indicated in the score.

    When I have been asked to transcribe a work for performance, I get round this issue by adding the Tutti movements into the flute parts (particularly where the ritornello of an aria is simply marked in the score as Tutti) but marking them as only an option for performance as this is not indicated in the score. But I like to set out the options for a director to make an informed choice. Likewise, I have in the past supplied idiomatic oboe parts which I have extracted from a violin line where the director is likely to have oboe players who don't want to just be given the violin line as written in the score (though usually baroque oboists can work out their part themselves from a violin line quite competently). Heinichen is another example where it would be fine to add the flutes to the Tutti lines in movements of a concerto where the score doesn't indicate their presence per se.

    I have not carried out any formal research myself, so I don't claim to be an expert. But I was curious to know what research there might be out there to read or what other's opinions are on this from their experience of the Dresden archive. Perhaps the answer is that it's inconclusive as enough evidence for either way is not there? I don't know.

    Apologies, this was quite long winded in the end. Maybe it needs a new thread if it turns out to be a big topic.

    Now we have a new edition of the Missa Purificationis (ZWV 16) by Werner Jaksch at IMSLP!

    This is great, I hadn't looked at it yet. The only query I had was I wondered why the Kyrie wind line has been assigned to the flutes? The instrument labels on the staves are missing for the Kyrie, but given that the scoring includes strings and trumpets it seems more likely that those wind lines would be for oboe or at least oboe+flute. You don't really see flutes with trumpets very often and even then there would be oboes involved.

    I think you meant bar 139, not 45. It is indeed great orchestration from Zelenka and a good example of how he injects further energy into already frantic music by shuttling figures between the violins. I believe there are nice examples of this type of orchestration in ZWV 14 (Josephi) which I personally feel was all a big experiment with "interesting" orchestration on the part of Zelenka. A good example is in the Osanna after the Benedictus. It is a fughetta, really quite a simple one by Zelenka's standards. But what it lacks in complexity Zelenka makes up for in terms of orchestration. Clearly he wants a massive crescendo through this short piece (it's only ~45 seconds long!) and so he gradually adds his instruments, the strings with the voices, then the wind, brass and drums. Just when you think he cannot crank up the energy any more he unleashes the 1st and 2nd violins to alternately double the pedal note of the basses, not on (boring) long notes but on semiquavers with the first semiquaver in each figure an octave higher. Just like in the part of Missa Votiva referred to by Rik1, the 1st and 2nd violins alternate this figuration, almost like they are battling it out to emphasis the pedal note the best. It is a remarkable moment which is from a tonal sense totally unnecessary (surely the basses can deal with the pedal note!) but leads to a shimmering texture which brings this short fughetta to a stunning climax. If you did not notice it before (it supports the overall texture so well the specific figure can be missed!) I strongly recommend a closer listen. The other case of alternating semiquaver unison figurations in ZWV 14 is in the totally batty Laudamus Te. That time it is octave semiquavers alternating between the violins and the violas.

    Thanks for that. I dont know that mass particularly well so I will go and have a good listen. :)

    And you're right I had confused the page number with the bar number. It's definitely bar 139.

    That was fast. Ive just noticed one tiny mistake in the Gloria (by chance I might add only because it looked odd). Bar 45, second violin beat 3 - the 'a' semiquaver should be an 'e'. Actually that section is a funny bit of orchestration from Zelenka. The orchestra is basically unison but with each violin part alternating on semiquavers. I've not seen that in Zelenka before.

    In bar 193, the violins are in unison with the bass but obviously the bass goes too low in the first beat of the bar. I see you've chosen to put a 'g; in the violins but I'd probably just repeat the 'e' in the violins to keep the unison. Obviously that's just a choice you have to make, there's no right or wrong so up to you.

    Assuming I am looking at the bit you mean, you are talking about 8 bars of the Buffardin concerto ritornello theme being very similar to bars 7-10 of the Kyrie opening?

    You're right they are very similar, but it's difficult to say if it's enough material to constitute a theme that is shared between the two. They both use a similar melodic fragment, and both use it sequentially with the exact same harmonic progression. The similarity is made even more audible because the key is the same and therefore the pitches are the same.

    The problem is that Baroque music is full of this type of thing, ie melodic fragments treated in sequence including ones that use the 7th chord like this one. You can find shared thematic material between lots of composers. And since the Vivaldi style (which was popular in the 1720s and 30s) was to put melodic fragments through harmonic sequences in succession, inevitably you're going to find thematic material treated to the same sequential patterns between composers. There are examples of this type of harmonic sequence in Vivaldi.

    All the composers in Dresden share some similarities and some thematic Vivaldian patterns that they used and it seems likely that when they are working and playing together there may be unconscious sharing of similar ideas between them. So yes, its possible Zelenka knew Buffardin's concerto and therefore might have influenced this work. But I don't think (in my view anyway) there is any evidence that Zelenka deliberately quoted Buffardin. I would think that if Zelenka wanted to quote him, he would do so more deliberately rather than extending the idea and adding a scalic phrase (which is also very Vivaldian). I'd also think the quote would be something a bit more specific and in a prominent place of the music, rather than a fairly generic (though striking) Vivaldi pattern.

    Handel for example likely did take themes from other composers like Telemann. You can hear it all the time, but there the themes are more obvious even though handel might have different harmony that the piece the theme came from.

    I think it probably stands out to our ears more so because it's in the same key, and also I don't think it would sound as similar if the harmonic progression was different.

    Sorry that's waffly, just trying to explain in words why I do think it's similar but not necessarily for the reason you suggest. Great spot though, and interesting!

    It's been a long time, but I have the Sanctus ready. Once again, scrutiny and proof-reading would be much appreciated (hopefully with fewer issues than last time ;) ).

    I have a question about the range of the baroque violins and viola - could they actually play the unison sections with the bass, even when it goes down to A (in the C2 octave) in the viola (bar 35) and B (C2) in the violins (bar 46)? Surely not, when the G string limits it to g below c' (middle C)...
    Zelenka doesn't write anything to help out here, should I alter the notation to keep it within range, or is there something I'm missing?…S_ZWV_21_Sanctus.pdf?dl=0

    Great, I'll have a look through.

    When upper strings are asked to double the bass, they actually play the notes an octave higher (as in bars 78-81). It's really just short hand, but is also similar to a 'bassetto' (which Vivaldi used a lot), where bass clef appears in the violin lines. The bass clef is an indication to the player that they are now playing the bass line, but the sounding notes are an octave higher than written (including viola). I assume players at the time were used to doing this and could read all clefs, though in Dresden the copyists used to put the notes into the right clefs an octave higher. The first beat of bar 36 confirms this.

    For a score, you could leave as is but for performing parts the violin and viola lines would need to be put into the appropriate clef's transposed up an octave. You might want to do it in the score anyway though to avoid the constant jumping between clefs.

    Congratulations on this, I look forward to seeing it :)

    Im not aware of any copyright issue. The work doesn't have to have a performing date to be in the public domain. Old art works in manuscript should be free of copyright. In addition, since you used the original manuscript, the B & H edition you mention is irrelevant. B & H has no claim to the manuscript simply because they published an urtext edition.

    You shouldn't have any problems. I don't know much about copyright outside of the EU, but since your issue is about the original manuscript I doubt you'd be in breach of any international copyright.

    You might as well just use the manuscripts, they aren't too bad to read though I suppose that depends on what your research is exactly. I think at least number 21 is available to purchase somewhere in Europe but for large sums of money unfortunately.

    Yes, it now looks exactly as the manuscript. Such an odd ending now seeing it complete, the orchestra and choir moving through the suspensions at different times very slowly (adagio) and then coming together by the second half of bar 29. I must admit superficially it doesn't look as slick as say a JS Bach composition but Zelenka isn't that kind of composer!

    I don't agree with bar 28 in either Seb's or the Breitkopf edition :) Now I see there was already some discussion about it. But in my opinion it's better to keep the viola part as it is written, namely "g4 a2 g4". You cant really say that changing it to "g4 a4 g2" is "following the vocal parts". And the oboe's 3rd quarter note is clearly written as "a". In my opinion such a dissonance doesn't pose too much of a problem and in fact I think it's something that happens in Zelenka. If we really wanted to "follow the vocal parts" we should also change the next measure in Oboe 1, so that it would really follow the altos. But somehow no one is suggesting that :) In my opinion, if we're not doing it here, why do it one measure earlier, if the manuscript is clear?

    edit: just noticed the soprano-alto parallel fifths in bar 27 :)

    Thought I'd chime in as this is interesting. I'd agree with Elwro actually. It's an awkward passage and looks odd on the manuscript. But I don't personally see how changing the oboe 3rd beat to 'G' (as it shows 'A' in the manuscript) and having the viola part as "g4 a4 g2" improves it that much.

    What's odd is that the note G in the Alto and Tenor lines clash with the figures in the continuo bass line which is showing a 5/3 chord on the F second beat. This suggests it should still be a 5/3 on beat 3. If you take out the vocal lines, all the orchestral parts match and fit the harmony in the figures. This would suggest the vocal lines are wrong. But changing the Alto and Tenor lines would break up the horizontal melodic lines which are important in this style of writing. As you'd have to change too many notes of the orchestra parts to try and smooth out these clashes, the editing is then maybe going a bit too far towards re-writing Zelenka

    So, as it isn't obvious if one of the notes is a 'typo' it might be best to just keep it as the manuscript and put it down to the fact Zelenka is more concerned with the horizontal vocal lines working for him than the vertical harmonic movement of the orchestra.

    Very interesting, and not something I've noticed in the other movements.

    Thought I'd bring this to everyone's attention especially as there is no mention of Zelenka on the promotional material.

    Last year, I worked on some of Il Diamante and Il Serpente di Bronzo for a performance by Sounds Baroque in the UK. They have now put together a new opera with new English text in the Baroque pasticcio style. At least one aria from Il Diamante is included with new text, but also music by Hasse, Gluck, Handel etc. There will only be a very small amount of Zelenka, but hopefully will be a nice surprise for the general audience and should be striking set alongside Mozart for example!

    Tickets available here

    Looking at the score this also has to be close to a record for Zelenka for the most pedantic dynamic markings (and that is saying something because he was clearly very very picky about dynamics). Indeed, he seems to have everything from pp to ff. On one long note with a fermata sign above (bottom of p37) he even asks for the singer to go forte - piano - forte while the accompanying instruments go piano - forte - piano. Talk about micromanagement! :rolleyes: But I suppose such pedantic dynamic markings might add support to the theory that these works were to be performed by Zelenka's vocal students...

    I still haven't yet got this recording but it sounds interesting. Honestly, Zelenka seems to me the most detailed composer of the time its almost shocking. Il Diamante in particular is covered in detailed dynamics where players have to shift from ppp to ff through mp and mf quite rapidly sometimes. When I typeset bits of Il Diamante for modern performance the detail is quite overwhelming. The players in particular were surprised. One aria in particular the violins have a number of dynamics, a variety of articulation markings, along with ornaments, triple stops and quadruple stops all in the first ritornello. Zelenka would not have been able to write like this outside of Dresden, I'm sure!

    Well done on this, the typesetting is great.

    Regarding bar 13/14, I agree with Elwro. Bar 13 just looks like a 'typo'. Zelenka has corrected it in pencil. Bar 14 is odd, but I would assume that this is also an error as it is inconsistent with the rest of the music. I think the note has just been put on the wrong line of the staff. Ive seen this a few times in Dresden scores where there are lots of C clefs. Sometimes when parts are duplicated, while copying one line into the next, the composer forgets about the different clefs.

    Just a couple of hopefully helpful observations - I noticed that you may need to remove the slur in the last beat of bar 21. The manuscript has only the daggers there, it's a complete change of articulation in the strings. I think the forte marking is also just on those dagger notes, not before. You could in theory save paper space by merging the soprano and alto lines, for a practical performance you don't need those lines separated out even though that's how it looks in the original.

    I've been working on the large Credo movement if that's any help to anyone.

    The favourite movement for me however is the Gratias.


    Not that I wish to dampen any enthusiasm for this work, but unfortunately I don't believe Zelenka was quite as adventurous as that Youtube recording would have us believe. I think it is bar 2 of the Gratias that has the extraordinary harmony, but I (and I am sure others) believe this may actually be a typesetting error from the manuscript. The tenor line in the recording (along with the doubling trombone) is being sung a tone lower than in the manuscript resulting in an extraordinarily modern cluster chord. It sounds wonderful, but it isn't Zelenka. The correct harmony can be heard when the same material reappears later in the movement. It's quite a common error (Ive done it myself) when transcribing choral music written in multiple C clefs into the modern Treble clef usage.

    Please someone do correct me if I've got this wrong and there is another explanation, but the manuscript on IMSLP clearly shows harmony that's more standard for the time. However RISM shows there is a set of parts, so maybe there is a copyist error to be fond in there?

    As for the timps, they aren't mentioned in the score and the set of parts I dont think includes a part for them. It's not usual to get timps without trumpets either so i'm sceptical without further evidence. So at the moment I can only assume the conductor wanted to beef up the octave stamping motive despite the fact that Zelenka uses this same figure as a bass line in a lot of his works.

    I feel like I've come across as negative, I dont mean to. I love this work, I am just wary that some of the unusual elements of that performance risk making the work stand apart from other works for the wrong reasons. :)

    I wish I had been there. I think Bury Court would have been a much better acoustic for this music.

    And thanks for reminding me about the contrabass player. I had forgotten, but I had the same thoughts as you. The only way to play those bass lines on it is with lots of energy, which makes such a visual impact.

    I wrote another comment with the info on the Wiki page and a mini review of the 1st Nov concert :). They are still awaiting approval/moderation, but I'm sure he'll see it. My bombardment might give a funny impression. I'm in danger of coming across as a ...Zealous Zelenkan... who am I kidding? :p

    I talked with the conductor, Julian Perkins, after the event last night. He said that he did in fact end up hiring the full score for ZWV20 Missa Dei Filii from that ridiculously priced company. They originally quoted £960 for just hiring it. Julian, tongue in cheek, replied saying: 'Don't you mean £96...?'. They said that there must be some confusion, but he managed to heckle a lower rate from there! (he didn't say how much the final price was) Now that's desperation. He asked (pleaded) that someone gets on the case for the future, and produce a more available score for ZWV20.

    That price is completely shocking! It effectively keeps this music under lock and key, rarely to be performed. Most groups just would not contemplate hiring at those prices. However, the publisher would argue that for the money you are getting music that does not require interpretation or any other 'work' as they have done that bit for you. I would agree with this, if it weren't for the fact that the price is still outrageously high, and the fact that all musicians who play early instruments can generally interpret this music themselves without that much instruction from a publisher. For other musicians, many directors acquire good knowledge of performance practice anyway.

    Did you enjoy last nights performance?

    A disappointing read. However, (to give an opposing view) I have found that for some people the problem with Zelenka (and their perception) is that his music features a lot of high baroque excesses that is often the reason they don't like Bach for example. So I have heard people tell me that they don't like 'Big endless fugues, weird twisting harmony that loses it's way, relentless noisy energy, OTT virtuosity. For me these are things I love, but for people who don't like this kind of thing Zelenka will inevitably be at the peak of their hate. He typifies some of the things that some will criticise about the era in general. As Zelenka tends to the extreme at times, he will divide opinion and cause controversy.

    I find that to get the most out of Zelenka it helps if you are already fairly familiar with the musical language of the day. That way, you can hear how he breaks the rules and feel the different sonority's within the 18th century musical landscape - like merging the operatic with the religious etc. Otherwise, some of Zelenka's music can be at risk of sounding like a big wave of sound that makes your head spin and be tiresome to listen to. I have found this just from some experience exposing people who don't like the Bach to Zelenka. It makes interesting conversation and reminds me that what I hear in the music can be very different from someone else's.

    Nevertheless, a critique on Zelenka's compositional technique does not equal a review of a concert.

    I do love the comment at the bottom of that review left by a member of the California Bach Society which sums up our collective thoughts no doubt.

    Yes, I noticed that bit about Bach in the review too. I think part of the problem is that it is naturally assumed that only one person could have a post of 'Church composer' when actually it isn't that simple. The first glowing review takes a lot of information from the programme notes.

    I attended this one, well actually I attended both concerts. There were some last minute changes for the Bury Court one this week, including the cut of the Il Diamante sinfonia and one of the Il Serpente arias that they had intended to perform. I think part of the reason is that they had no plans to use flautists (there will not be room at Bury Court). Therefore the sinfonia was dropped, and the minimal flute obbligati in the oratorio were played on violins. Nevertheless, there was plenty of music and certainly no room for any more than they presented! It turned out to be a well chosen and varied programme. The trio sonata in particular was astoundingly well performed. It was very disappointing on the poor audience turn out. St John Smith Square is a very expensive venue, so I hope they didn't take too much of a loss particularly as this may discourage performance of Zelenka.

    The aria from Il Diamante worked very well and showed a real operatic bravura side of Zelenka. Augusta Hebbert was wonderful singing it. The mass was fantastic, not many choirs can tackle a work like that. The natural trumpets were also welcome. What a great way to give them more to do in the concert (other than the fanfares they only played in the Bach) while presenting more Zelenka.

    I think Bury Court will be a better venue and better attended I would think. It's a shame I cannot be at that one.

    The other concert was nice, with a mostly Bach programme showcasing the horns and violin virtuoso players from the Royal College of Music. It had a good turn out and gave a good case for wind orientated Dresden orchestra music.