Posts by rnkt

    Maybe this has come to the attention of others: in recent weeks a set of videos showing no fewer than 3 large scale works by Zelenka performed by the Daegeon Chamber Choir of South Korea have been posted on YT:

    ZWV 21 (performance from 11/2014):…N1RuTWChtppRw0VwElCRSgchA
    ZWV 19 (performance from 11/2015):…N1Rv0URDjHurMgwcXiXuEeZMm
    ZWV 146 (performance from 10/2016):…N1RsL5Dmc8ABFVy9_BYEc9AJR

    While the audio is not really of CD quality (would need some post-production) it is plain to see that these are exceptionally fine performances by really excellent players (Camerata Antiqua Seoul) and singers. Bearing in mind that these are some of Zelenka's most challenging works, the live performances are nearly note perfect and sometimes go at breakneck speed! I particularly like the ZWV 19 which I believe challenges the most recent existing recordings (Guttler, Bernius).

    I hope we can look forward to more first rate Zelenka from this group, perhaps even a CD release.

    Also, here is a very bad photo of our meeting before the Saturday´s concert ;)

    Zelenka was constantly distracting us, so we (nearly all) forgot to pose! Anyway, not a bad photo. On the right, the seasoned academics (djdresden and Jan Stockigt) and on the left the young (and not so young) upstarts and future seasoned academics (xanaseb :) ), from left to right, testudo, xanaseb, rnkt

    Hi everyone,

    I managed to download the video file from the streaming site, so for those who can´t watch it on the Czech Television website, i uploaded it here:!9Z48BNpH1azO/…-psalmi-vespertini-ii-mp4
    password (without spaces): Prague2016


    Thanks so much for the download link. I tried in vain to download it from the Czech Television website (I could stream it, but not download it). I have extracted the audio from the file you shared and broken it into individual mp3 files. In case anyone would like these for their own use (I won't put them on the internet) please PM me.

    Watched the broadcast last night. Wow, what a performance and now very excited about the soon-to-be-released CD. I think it will be an equal partner to disc 1. As has been noted elsewhere on this forum, only 3 of the 8 extant 2nd cycle psalms have so far been recorded. Now we can hear the other 5 and I think they really do well to fill in the gaps. Just like in the first cycle, there are clear unifying features. Particular highlights for me: The Nisi Dominus (picture Zelenka directing that from the violone!!!), The De Profundis (full range of emotions from the pleading leaps of the somewhat Handelian sounding opening movement to the optimistic Gloria). And then the Gloria of the Lauda Jerusalem where the chorus keeps on butting in with text from the start of the psalm. Eventually the soloist seems to just kind of give up and the chorus whips away with a double fugue from sicut erat using the two main themes of the psalm. Probably that's the best fugue of the cycle and one with more than a slight hint of the Cum Sancto Spiritu fugue of ZWV21, composed 15 years later!

    As usual Adam Viktora's Inégal were resplendent, and the soloists excellent. I especially liked the very powerful male alto, Filippo Mineccia, who seemed to even drown out Inégal some of the time (Maybe it was just a balance issue, I know this was "only" a TV recording). I hoped this performance got him hooked on Zelenka - would like to hear some more from him!

    And finally, that cheeky close cut to Vaclav Luks, applauding at the end. Just a coincidence, right? I am sure he would agree it was another triumphant night for the Czech-driven revival of Zelenka.

    It's pleasing to see quite some Zelenka activity in Germany over the next months (though all in the north and/or west!)

    November 2016

    Missa Votiva (ZWV 18) along with "Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen" by JS Bach
    05.11.16, Dom zu Altenberg see (
    Choir: Capella nova Altenberg
    Band: Consortium Musica sacra Köln
    Conductor: Rolf Müller

    December 2016

    Missa Votiva (ZWV 18) will be performed during high mass on 26.12.16 at St. Jodokus in Bielefeld at 10.00.

    February 2017

    Missa Divi Xaverii (ZWV 12), Bach: Mit Fried und Freud fahr ich dahin BWV 125 , Doles: Singet dem Herrn
    26.02.17, St Jacobi, Göttingen at 18.00
    Choir: ?
    Band: Göttinger Barockorchester
    Conductor: Stefan Kordes

    May 2017

    Capella Kreuzberg will perform Missa dei Filii (ZWV 20) along with works by Hasse.

    13.05.17, Trinitatiskirche, Berlin Wilmersdorf
    14.05.17, Emmauskirche, Berlin Kreuzberg

    Great, but I notice that most of the videos on that site are not available here in Germany. I'm guessing the stream (or watch again function) will only be available to users in Czechia. Hopefully one of our friends there can record it and share with us!

    Plan B: I noticed last week that the first petrol station over the border from Germany has free wifi! ;)

    Perhaps I can throw in another, hopefully exciting, new observation into the ZWV 45 mixer. I just purchased today the very fine new disc by Musica Florea under Marek Štryncl. It contains a requiem and some vesper psalms by a composer I admit is completely new to me: Jan Zach. Zach was born in 1713 (sometimes erroneously reported as 1699) near Prague and after about 30 years in Bohemia, became Kapellmeister in Mainz. He held that position only for a few years, long enough for him to do something very naughty (we don't know what) leading to his dismissal (or forced resignation) and he spent the rest of his life as a freelancer, travelling Europe and living off his music. He died in 1773.

    What is interesting to hear from Štryncl's new disc is that this composer, even more so than Zelenka (or any other composer I can think of right now, perhaps apart from Hasse or maybe Pergolesi) exactly straddles in style the late baroque and early classical. He seems to be, like Zelenka, a pretty quirky type and is really difficult to nail down: One minute stilo antico, the next minute humorous figurations with Haydn and Mozart written all over them, here a Zelenka-like fugue, there a classical aria with merrily chugging strings accompaniment. There's a Zelenka-like chromaticism too.

    I'll get to my point. I only had to hear a few bars of the requiem and I thought - this could be our ZWV 45 composer. Some scholars have suggested ZWV 45 could have been written by several composers because of the broad range in styles. Hearing Zach's requiem on the new disc, I have no doubt that he had the eclectic abilities to have written ZWV 45.

    And there's more. Zach's setting of "Dona eis Requiem" at the end of the Lacrymosa has more than a passing resemblance to the Kyrie fugue of ZWV 45.

    Well, besides highly recommending Štryncl's disc (can be downloaded already from the Supraphonline website) - which also contains some very interesting settings of vesper psalms, in much more classical style than the requiem - I encourage you to consider it as possible evidence for Zach's authorship of ZWV 45.

    Perhaps it got accredited to Zelenka because someone (in the 19th century) muddled their composers names starting with the letter Z!

    PS - a short relevant addition: Zelenka seems to have had one work by Zach in his collection. A Salve Regina by Zach is the last entry in his inventorium in the section for Salve Reginas. Since Zelenka doesn't seemed to have updated his Inventorium beyond around 1738 that means he added the work to his collection when Zach was below the age of 25. Perhaps a nod by Zelenka at someone he considered a rising star?

    Very curious to know how it was.

    I only attended the concert on Saturday evening in Prague. It was my very first Zelenka concert and a wonderful experience, not only because of the music but because I got to meet most of the main Zelenka scholars as well as several members of this forum. On my return, I made some notes which I would like to share here:

    If you are thrown the keys to a powerful sports car and pointed to a hundred miles of empty road, what would you do? Such a question was asked of Frieder Bernius, one of the greatest early revivers of Zelenka’s sacred music, when he was brought in to guest-conduct Ensemble Inégal, a band which has on regular occasion shown that they are not afraid to go supersonic. With two of Zelenka’s most expressive, energetic and inventive works on the programme Bernius marked his 2016 “Zelenka reboot” in style and challenged a largely Zelenka-familiar audience (the concert concluded the 3rd Zelenka Festival) to a truly emotionally and physically demanding hour of music.

    As “overture” we started with a characteristically dramatic reading of the Miserere (ZWV 57) with its dark pulsing strings at the opening, driven incessantly by Inégal’s extremely dynamic bass section. Considering what was coming later in the evening, the chorus then got a welcome warmup with some early 17th century polyphony, transcribed by Zelenka from Frescobaldi’s Fiori Musicali. This nod to the past was followed by the starkly modern Gloria Patris in empfindsamer stil, brightly performed by Andrea Oberparleiter. After the inevitable return to the dark material of the Miserere’s start, we moved to the evening’s main work, the Missa Dei Filii (ZWV 20). The fairly cursory Kyrie is followed by a Christe for solo soprano that is somewhat similar to the Gloria Patris that we had just heard in the Miserere. This time the honours fell to Maria Bernius, who sung crisply, though perhaps filled the church slightly less than her colleague earlier. Then, with a repeat of the Kyrie, the engine was warm and the audience eagerly anticipating what would follow, namely the overdimensional Gloria, one of Zelenka’s most brilliant and original settings - quite something for a composer who mostly only composed brilliant and original music. With the opening movement of the Gloria Bernius and his forces took us on an exhilarating white-knuckle ride, surely obliterating the 9 minute “record” set by an already energetic performance by the Wroclaw baroque orchestra and Dresden Chamber Choir under Vaclav Luks, broadcast on radio earlier in the year (by comparison the two CD recordings of ZWV 20, including Bernius’s own and a live recording of the Freiburg Barockorchester with the Collegium Vocale Gent clock in at between 9:45 and 10:00). Indeed, the pace that was set at the start drew silent gasps from the audience and one almost instinctively reached out for something to hold on to. And then, thoughts turned to the chorus, for when one knows the work, one knows what is coming!! ;) Indeed, the nervous grins exchanged between members of the chorus during the opening ritornello said it all: “he said he would take it a tad quicker on the night and he kept true to his word”. However, full credit goes to the singers of the Stuttgart Chamber Chorus – they started second but never sounded like they were just “keeping up” with Inégal – they were full partners in crime in a high octane getaway dash! At these speeds, the text becomes rather less prominent (Zelenka even messes with the order of the liturgical text in order to meet his aims and he also treats the Laudamus te section as a recurring refrain). Instead, the work is like a concerto for two orchestras, one instrumental, one vocal. Both compete for attention with an eclectic mix of leaping acclamations, dizzying syncopation, unison plainchant and, of course, those famous swooping scales. In this performance the latter could actually have been better described as rising and falling glissandi, though they rarely felt out of control despite the ample reverb of the Salvatorska church somewhat muddying the effect. The concentration and virtuosity of the choir cannot be understated – they particularly impressed with the antiphonal entries in the recapitulation of the Domine Deus during which the band tries its best to distract with a repeat of those snakey syncopations of the opening ritornello. And then all those false endings, a trademark of Zelenka, when it seems that first the chorus and then the orchestra try to delay the inevitable. I think we were all thankful for the oasis of calm that came in the form of the Qui Tollis, that wonderful soprano aria with a slinking chromatic accompaniment in which, just when you think it has run its course, up pops a bass, and then a few bars later, a tenor. They reinvent the aria as a duet and go on to really crank up the tension. The soloists and particularly tenor Tobias Mäthger put in a fine performance which reminded us of Zelenka’s apparent deep interest in the world of opera. That interest was further displayed in the almost rage-aria like Quoniam, which followed the troubling strains of the Qui sedes, with its many suspensions in the choral texture beautifully and mysteriously “hung” by the chorus over the restless accompaniment. The Quoniam was taken at top speed but was perfectly phrased by the violins and oboes to add some, almost comical, twists to the various repeated figures. The male alto, Adam Schilling did a fine job with the showy vocal lines. His voice did however seem sometimes a little overpowered by Inégal’s accompaniment.

    With the Cum Sancto Spiritu fugue, one of the most ingenious ever composed to that text, we were strapped in for a return to the turbo-charged tempo already encountered at the start of the Gloria. Full credit to the chorus who kept together throughout, though they carried off the those off-beat “oompah” Amens rather less confidently than is possible at a slower tempo. At the close, following that clever recapitulation of the Gloria theme and those glissandi-scales accompanied by a final wild blast of G major from Inégal, the lightning tour ended.
    Both Ensemble Inégal and the Stuttgart Chamber Choir gave their all in what was evidently a performance which demanded considerable mental and physical strength. Thanks go to Frieder Bernius (and of course Adam Viktora) for making this unique occasion possible. It was certainly the most energetic interpretation of 18th century music that I have experienced. I am sure many critics would argue it was at times way too fast. Certainly, one could not wallow in Zelenka’s intricate invention, because it flew past and if you blinked, you missed it. However, Bernius knew that his audience were probably mostly familiar with this work, even his own recording of it. So, he was not out to win new fans of Zelenka, but to play to (and with) those “already hooked”. The great thing with Zelenka is that his music is very robust to different interpretations - this one included. In all, this interpretation was both exhilarating and draining and if anyone ever makes a recording like that, I’ll be needing a faster car!

    After a lot of tweaking and tinkering I am finally happy to release my latest Zelenka keyboard arrangement. After the first two, fairly straightforward transcriptions I set myself the challenge of doing the Quoniam from Missa Dei Patris, a number which is certainly right up there in terms of being one of the most bonkers works in all of Zelenka's output. Getting to know this work was a joy and it was fascinating to see how Zelenka constructed practically the whole thing from just the first few bars. I really see this work as one of his greatest visions of the upcoming classical period and in the piano arrangement you cannot help sometimes thinking you are hearing a lost early Haydn or even Beethoven work.

    Anyway, I leave you to judge for yourself. I have uploaded both the score and a rather poorly performed recording. I hope some enjoyment can be distilled from it, until a proper pianist can do real justice to it:…,_Jan_Dismas)#IMSLP443968

    Contrast that to ZWV 2-4 which can be at times rather intense and awkward with all his experimenting (Zwv 1 Missa Sanctae Caecilliae is quite different and restrained. ... Although, it goes without saying that I'd look forward to hearing all them recorded too some day.

    Indeed they are all brilliant and in no way should be gathering dust! It seems that we are gradually working our way backwards through Zelenka's life regarding recordings of his vocal music, especially the masses. But it would be good if someone takes the plunge and makes a recording of his very earliest masses. This is music which I am sure made a huge impact in its time and is begging to be heard again. As you note, ZWV 1 is really lovely and one can get an inkling from that "brave" Texas performance that Zelenka is kicking off his mass-writing career on quite a swagger. Actually we also already have a taste of some of it from the stuff he reused in ZWV59 - on the Sepolcri disc. Also Missa Judica Me (we are pretty sure it can be reconstructed from ZWV 26, ZWV 30, ZWV 2, ZWV 26) is an absolute must as it is simply immense and must have terrified the wits out of the performers and congregation in equal measure. I would propose Collegium 1704 does ZWV 1 (it is lyrical like Divi Xaverii) and Inégal does ZWV2 (because it is violent like the Gloria of ZWV 17 and the Credo of ZWV 21 which they executed impeccably) ... but they'll first need 3 'bones :)

    And now you convinced me of the brilliance of ZWV 3 too! Much to do...

    The disc arrived today and it is a complete joy. It's not every day you get to hear a Zelenka mass for the first time and it turns out that Missa Fidei (ZWV 6) is an absolute peach even though it seems only the Kyrie and Gloria have survived. I had never looked at the score and did not know when it was composed, but following my first listen I thought to myself, I'd bet my house on it being penned in late 1725. Bingo! Those of you who were, like me, blown away by Inégal's Psalmi Verspertini I disc from late last year will find that this new release of ZWV 6 is a perfect partner to that disc. Fidei is dated November 1725, exactly when Zelenka was churning out his first vespers cycle. In that cycle Zelenka seems to be experimenting a lot with through-composed works (Dixit, Confitebor) or by having themes which unify whole works (e.g. Beatus vir). The mass is definitely in this vein. For instance the Kyrie theme (which is uncannily similar to the first theme of Laudate Pueri, ZWV 82 which is dated only 18 days earlier) is fused with the Christe theme to make a double fugue for the second Kyrie. And then the Gloria is unified by the recurring acclamation of Laudamus te etc... When I first heard that I immediately thought of Missa dei Filii from 15 or so years later. It's kind of the same trick (though much less complex), and actually the Laudamus te theme is almost the same, just inverted. Finally, there is a rather experimental-sounding "Amen", quite like those in the Vespers settings.

    So this premiere recording of ZWV 6 is a very timely and wholly enjoyable experience. Congratulations go to all the performers, who absolutely nailed it. The soloists are very fine and Sop and Alto do well to hit Zelenka's absolutely fiendish first entries in the Gloria (he could be quite a meany couldn't he?!). For me their highlight though is in the Qui tollis II - a wonderful duet in antiphony with the two oboes.

    The disc ends with a very fine and moving performance of one of Zelenka's Salve Regina settings (ZWV 140). Those who don't (yet) have the disc can download it on this thread.

    Also on the disc is the premiere recording of a mass by Stölzel, a composer I only knew from a rather beautiful trio sonata I found in my school music library in the 90s. I think I read somewhere that Stölzel had more to do with JS Bach than Zelenka. However, the style of this mass is actually more in the direction of the latter (let's say north european-italian fusion). While it is much more conventional than Zelenka, there are some lovely moments, like the echos between the soloist, oboes and violins in the Laudamus Te. And the Crucifixus is very poignant and in the stilo antico (possibly even a parody of a much earlier work). Stölzel shows his true colours at the end though with a cheeky and cheesy quotation of Pachelbel's canon on the words "Dona nobis pacem" (at least that is what it sounds like). A more serene and reflective end to a mass would be hard to find...

    The choral works are framed by some very stylishly played organ works by Pachelbel and Böhm.

    Many thanks Elwro for making this disc possible through your transcriptions of the manuscripts and of course thanks so much for sending out the recording to Zelenka devotees, who I am sure are gobbling it up just like me! Fingers crossed you have another Zelenka premiere recording in the pipeline ;)

    And two stunning works, at that!

    Indeed, and in that context it is worth linking to a few thoughts of the conductor of the concerts, Ambros Ott, which he pens under the title "Oh Lord, receive this gift of a somersault"

    The German is far too flowery for me to translate eloquently, but google translate will give you the gist.

    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.

    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.

    The festival website has been updated with the soloist line-ups for the concerts. In particular the Bernius/Inégal concert will be sung by a team of upcoming German soloists:

    Maria Bernius
    Adam Schilling
    Tobias Mäthger
    Emanuel Fluck (Prague, 22.10.2016)
    Johannes Hill (Dresden, 23.10.2016)

    I also discovered I can reach Prague in 2 and half hours by road. So my ticket's booked!!

    The programme is very interesting, especially the performance of the "Missa Dei filii"!

    Not just very interesting, more like mind-blowingly brilliant. Over a quarter of a century after his definitive recording, Bernius gets to flex the muscles of a band which is undoubtedly one of the most naturally born Zelenka-performing groups since, well, the 1740s! Any word on which soloists are going to join this "dream team"? And any news on whether either performances will be recorded/filmed?

    So, it would seem that the Czech Television is not going to post the video recording online after all... But I´ll look into this further, it would be a shame if it were to remain in the archives. Stay tuned, Odie

    A pity... but presumably they recorded it with the intention to broadcast it at some point. Even if it will not go online, perhaps someone in the Czech Republic can record it when it is broadcast and share that?

    Great photos from the rehearsals and concert on Inégal's facebook page by the way...

    Notenschreiber - thanks for confirming my impression re copyright
    Xanaseb - Some of your suggestions (e.g. the Trinitatis vitam fugue) are still in the pipeline. The ZWV19 transcription took a lot of my time and energy - it is on a different level in terms of structure and complexity compared to the ZWV 83 fugue and ZWV 14 waltzy thing I did already. However, I think the effort is paying off. So here, exclusively, as a "teaser trailer" (and to gently ease any Zelenka purists out there into my interpretation ;)), an mp3 of the opening ritornello:…19_Quoniam_intro.mp3?dl=0

    Please excuse the mistakes, I am years past my prime on the piano! but anyway, enjoy! ;)

    Dear all,

    I will hopefully soon be releasing "my" magnum opus, a piano transcription of the eclectic Quoniam from Missa Dei Patris (ZWV 19). As this is a simply fantastic work, dazzles on the keyboard and thereby sheds a completely new light on Zelenka's invention, I do hope it will be performed, even recorded (but not by me - it is too hard for me to play properly!). Before I release it I have some niggles about copyright. ZWV 19 was not published in the 18th Century and it seems that we generally assume it (along with its equally remarkable chums, ZWV 20 and ZWV 21) were not performed (my gut feeling tells me otherwise, but obviously I cannot prove anything!). If I understand copyright law correctly, this means that ZWV 19 is not automatically in the public domain. So, even though I only used the autograph manuscript (SLUB digital library) as source for my arrangement, I may be violating the copyright of the first person to publish ZWV 19. As far as I can tell, the first publication of ZWV 19 was in 1985 by Breitkopf & Härtel as an urtext edition as part of the series "Das Erbe deutscher Musik". That is 31 years ago.

    Based on my very poor grasp of copyright law I believe that ZWV 19 is now in the public domain in the EU and I can safely release my arrangement without violating copyright of anyone. That is because, in the EU at least, Urtext editions (editions with very minor changes to the original manuscript) are protected for 30 years rather than the 70 years after the editor's death for non-urtext editions.

    Are any of you more familiar with this type of issue and can confirm my interpretation is correct?


    Northern Switzerland is going to be digging to some of Zelenka's funkiest tunes later this year with no fewer than **eight** performances:

    Miserere (ZWV 57) and Missa Votiva (ZWV 18) will be performed on 10, 11, 24 and 25 September at various venues by the Tablater Konzertchor along with the Cappricio Orchestra (famous for the 2012 premiere recording of the delightful Sollicitus fossor, ZWV 209) conducted by Ambros Ott
    More details here: (interesting portrait - is that him?!)

    And just when it couldn't get better...

    Four performances of Te Deum (ZWV 146) and Missa Purificationis (ZWV 16) at various venues along the Swiss-Austrian border on 15, 16, 17 and 18 December by Origen Vokalensemble
    and Concerto Stella Matutina conducted by Clau Scherrer.

    Details of the concert on 15 December here: The other 3 concerts are going to be performed in the locomotive shed of the Rhätischen mountain railway (I AM NOT KIDDING!) in Landquart, but no ticket details yet (see here:

    I just hope the roof of the train shed is well fixed because those two works could easily lift it....