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Jan Dismas Zelenka (1679-1745)

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Zelenka & Tůma: Music From 18th Century Prague

Zelenka & Tůma: Music From 18th Century Prague


Orschler:

Sonata in F for Two Violins and Basso continuo

Tùma:

Stabat Mater in G minor

Zelenka:

Sanctus et Agnus Dei in D minor ZWV36

Sanctus et Agnus Dei ex Missa Nigra sum a 4 in G minor ZWV34


Collegium 1704 & Collegium Vocale 1704, Václav Luks

Recorded at the Domovina Studio, Prague, November 8-10 and December 3, 2013.

An inherent, characteristic feature of the musical language of Zelenka and Tůma, the two most distinguished Czech Baroque composers, is perfectly mastered counterpoint, which alongside progressive trends in Baroque continued to live as a stile antico. Zelenka, Tůma, as well as their currently virtually unknown contemporary J. G. Orschler, studied in Vienna with the Imperial Kapellmeister Johann Joseph Fux (1660-1741). All three had strong Prague links and although they mainly gained recognition beyond the Czech lands, their music was performed and highly valued in Prague too. Zelenka’s stile antico pieces represent a little-known yet interesting part of his oeuvre. Tůma’s Stabat Mater is a masterpiece bearing witness to the transformation of the “old craft” into a new pre-Classicist style. The recording, made by the internationally renowned Collegium 1704 ensemble, includes several modern-time premieres providing us with a fascinating view of the little-known works by the three Czech Baroque masters.

“The laments of 'choral' lamentation, surprisingly galant passages and solemn fugues are revealed beautifully and accompanied with tastefulness by a continuo group that varies its colours unobtrusively.” Gramophone Magazine, August 2014

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Supraphon Music From 18th Century Prague - SU41602

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Zelenka: Good Friday Responsories, etc.

Tùma:

Sonatas in A minor and E minor

Symphony in B-flat major

Zelenka:

Good Friday Responsories


Boni pueri & Musica florea

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Supraphon - SU38062

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Zelenka: Il Penitenti al Sepolero del Redentore

Zelenka: Il Penitenti al Sepolero del Redentore


Magdalena Kožená (contralto), Martin Prokes (tenor), Michael Pospisil (bass)

Cappella regia musicalis, Robert Hugo

“Kožená displays her remarkable versatility by shining in a contralto role. Her smoky vocal colour blossoms effortlessly to dramatise the suffering of Maddalena.” BBC Music Magazine, September 2004 ***

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Supraphon - SU37852

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Zelenka: Lamentationes (6) Jeremiæ Prophetæ, ZWV 53

Zelenka: Lamentationes (6) Jeremiæ Prophetæ, ZWV 53


Collegium Marianum

Recorded in Church of Virgin Mary under the Chain, Prague, May 21, 22 and 26, 2014 Recording director Jiří Gemrot, sound engineer Aleš Dvořák.

The emotive Old Testament Book of Lamentations, ascribed to the Prophet Jeremiah, has been the subject of a number of settings since the Middle Ages, with that of Jan Dismas Zelenka occupying a significant position among them. One of his first mature works composed during his time at the Dresden court, the Lamentations, alongside the Sepolcri, written for Prague (Supraphon SU40682), and Responsories, are intended for Holy Week. In his Lamentations, performed as part of the liturgy of Tenebrae, the Service of Shadows, Zelenka succeeded in combining the contemplative aspect with a powerful dramatic charge. His penchant for unusual instrumentation is evident in, for instance, the final Lamentation (solo violin, bassoon and chalumeau, an instrument akin to today’s clarinet). Zelenka only set to music two lessons of the first Nocturn for each day; on the present recording, every third reading takes the form of Gregorian chant, as was most likely heard at the Dresden court. The renowned Collegium Marianum ensemble has materialised the very first complete recording of Zelenka’s Lamentations in the third millennium, one characterised by rigorous instrumentation, profound performance and remarkably conceived by three stellar soloists (Damien Guillon, Daniel Johannsen and Tomáš Král).

“In comparison to his contemporaries, Zelenka's style will seem almost quaint, if not downright old-fashioned...Of the performances themselves, all is splendid. The balance of the period instruments is perfectly judged, with intelligent and characterful singing from all three soloists.” Gramophone Magazine, December 2014

“Zelenka’s 1722 lamentations make an appealing, varied sequence especially when performed as well as this. Semeradova’s period musicians play with grace and beauty, and the soloists...Anyone with an interest in byways of the baroque will find much to love here.” Classical Music *****

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Supraphon - SU41732

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Zelenka: Magnificat

Zelenka: Magnificat

and other choral works


Zelenka:

Magnificat

Kuhn Mixed Choir

Psalmus 129 de Profundis

Litany omnium sanctorum, ZWV 153

Salve Regina, mater misericordiae Z135


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Supraphon - SU33152

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Zelenka: Melodrama de Sancto Wenceslao ZWV 175

Zelenka: Melodrama de Sancto Wenceslao ZWV 175


Musica Florea, Musica Aeterna, Ensemble Philidor & Boni Pueri, Marek Stryncl

The coronation of Charles VI as Czech king in Prague was the event of 1723. Besides the Imperial Kapellmeister J. J. Fux’s monumental opera Costanza e Fortezza, the greatest attention was paid to the melodrama Sub olea pacis, created by Fux’s pupil Jan Dismas Zelenka, who at the time had been doublebassist in the Dresden court orchestra for more than a decade. In a succession of allegories, the composer guides us through the history of the Czech lands and evidences the genealogically founded title of the Habsburg royal couple to the crown of Bohemia, as well as their reign’s benefit for the Czech people.

Owing to its quality, the music clearly eclipses this encomiastic work’s other components. Zelenka ingeniously works with instrumentation and frequently makes effective use of obbligato solo instruments (including the chalumeau). Over 150 performers appeared in the play, among them the thirteen-year-old František Benda. The performance at the Jesuit Klementinum met with a tremendous response among the noble audience and the royal couple alike, while the Jesuits sold over 4,000 (!) printed librettos. The work’s most recent and similarly spectacular staging was at Prague Castle in 2000, performed by leading Czech and other European ensembles. This critically acclaimed recording was made on that very occasion. Prague 1723 – Zelenka’s grandiose music in tribute to the newly crowned Czech king.

“From instrumental obbligatos to antiphonal choruses it’s all so fresh and exuberant.” The Times, 22nd September 2012 ****

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Supraphon Music From 18th Century Prague - SU41132

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Zelenka: Missa Nativitatis Domini

Zelenka: Missa Nativitatis Domini


Zelenka:

Magnificat in C, ZWV107

O magnum mysterium. Motetto pro Nativitate, ZWV171

Missa Nativitatis Domini in D major, ZWV8

Chvalte Boha silného. Motetto (Ps 150), ZWV165


Barbora Sojková (soprano), Markéta Cukrová (alto) & Tomáš Král (bass)

Musica Florea (on period instruments), Marek Štryncl

Lesser-known works of Jan Dismas Zelenka – music (not only) for Advent and Christmas.

Following on from the previous two titles (Sepolcri, SU40682; Melodrama de Sancto Wenceslao, SU41132), Supraphon’s Music From Eighteenth-Century Prague series now reflects Prague-related works by Jan Dismas Zelenka (1679–1745), whose pieces were performed at the city’s churches with increasing frequency from the middle of the 1730s.

One such composition was Missa nativitatis, ZWV 8, preserved at the Saint Nicolas Church in Prague’s Lesser Town; another copy is from C. Ph. E. Bach’s personal effects, which indicates that this very piece was one of the two Zelenka masses his father Johann Sebastian had in his library.

The aria of the Christmas motet O magnum mysterium is derived from the mentioned melodrama; Zelenka furnished it with a different text and added two flutes. The motet Chvalte Boha silného (Praise God Almighty), a setting of Psalm 150, is most likely the one and only Zelenka piece to a Czech text and has only been preserved in Prague copies.

The Advent spirit is supplemented by with the Marian hymn Magnificat. Zelenka’s lesser-known works are once again presented within the acclaimed Supraphon series by Musica Florea, a renowned Baroque orchestra who stood at the beginning of the modern discovery of this exceptional composer.

“It is hugely persuasive music and is performed here by the period instrument group Musica Florea under Marek Štryncl with real tenderness and commitment. Soloists and choir are in good voice, and the disc also contains a couple of world premières.” Chris O'Reilly, Presto Classical, 3rd December 2012

Presto Disc of the Week

3rd December 2012

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Supraphon Music From 18th Century Prague - SU41112

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Zelenka - Orchestral Music

Zelenka - Orchestral Music


Zelenka:

Overture à 7 concertanti in F major

Sonata No. 3 in B flat major

Concerto à 8 concertanti in G major, ZWV186

Hipocondrie à 7 concertanti in A major, ZWV 187

Sinfonia à 8 concertanti in A minor ZWV 189


Collegium 1704

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Supraphon - SU38582

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Zelenka: Requiem & Miserere

Zelenka: Requiem & Miserere


Zelenka:

Requiem in D minor

Magdalena Kozená (mezzo)

Miserere in C minor, ZWV 57

Anna Hlavenková (soprano)


Ensemble Baroque 1994, Czech Chamber Choir, Roman Válek

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Supraphon - SU00522

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Zelenka: Sepolcri

Zelenka: Sepolcri

Recorded in Church of Virgin Mary under the Chain, Prague, May 5–7, 2011


Zelenka:

Immisit Dominus pestilentiam, ZWV58

Attendite et videte, ZWV59

Deus dux fortissime, ZWV60


Hana Blažíková (soprano), David Erler (alto), Tobias Hunger (tenor) & Tomáš Král (bass)

Collegium Marianum (performed on period instruments), Jana Semerádová

Jan Dismas Zelenka, the most distinctive figure of Czech Baroque music, no longer requires any introduction. His Prague works, however, have yet to be paid much attention. And unjustly so. The three sepolcri (cantatas intended for performance on Good Friday at the Holy Sepulchre) represent the earliest music of Zelenka’s that has been preserved, yet they are already truly singular pieces encompassing all the traits of their creator’s remarkable compositional style.

Zelenka created the pieces for Prague’s Klementinum, the oldest Jesuit college in Bohemia, and in a unique manner they serve to document the copious music performances that took place at the Saint Salvator Church, one of the most significant places on the “music map” of Baroque Prague. In 1709, Zelenka conducted at this church the performance of the first sepolcro.

Three centuries later, the cantatas were recorded for the very first time (at the church located at the opposite end of the Charles Bridge) by Collegium Marianum, one of the finest Czech and European Baroque ensembles, together with four outstanding soloists. Another instalment in the successful Music from Eighteenth-Century Prague series, and another chapter of Jan Dismas Zelenka’s remarkable oeuvre presented to the listener. Zelenka’s Easter cantatas come back to life after three centuries.

“Credit is due to Jana Semeradova for a world-premiere recording, and for the cool professionalism with which he and his choir illuminate the score's structure. What fails to come through is the verve with which the composer appealed to his Jesuit constituents...The artistry of Zelenka, rather than the performers, is what makes this disc a worthwhile acquisition.” BBC Music Magazine, June 2012 ***

“Though the more consistent balance of later works is yet to be achieved, his many admirers will surely be delighted at the opportunity to acquaint themselves with this younger but clearly recognisable and lovable version of their hero. Collecgium Marianum introduce us to him in performances that are skilful, stylish and attractive to the ear...A beautiful, warming Baroque discovery.” Gramophone Magazine, April 2012

“They are the earliest pieces by Zelenka to have survived...The long, achingly expressive melodic lines that are so characteristic of Zelenka's later instrumental writing can be heard in the vocal writing here, along with his fondness for constructing elaborate fugues, and for coming up with totally unexpected dramatic twists. They are fascinating rediscoveries.” The Guardian, 15th December 2011 ***

“The tone, unsurprisingly, is restrained, yet there is an underlying sprightliness and restless invention, well captured by the Prague forces.” The Telegraph, 13th January 2012

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Supraphon Music From 18th Century Prague - SU40682

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This item is currently out of stock at the UK distributor. You may order it now but please be aware that it may be six weeks or more before it can be despatched.

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