Zelenka conference Prague 2019


18.10.2019 from10:00 till 18:00 –  Knihovna muzikologického odd. Ústavu dějin umění AV ČR Praha, Puškinovo náměstí 447/9, Praha 6



Zelenka Conference Prague

in honour of the memory of Professor Wolfgang Horn

Friday 18. 10. 2019

Knihovna muzikologického odd. Ústavu dějin umění AV ČR Praha, Puškinovo náměstí 447/9, Praha 6




Chair: Samantha Owens (New Zealand School of Music – Te Kōkī / Victoria University Wellington)


10:00 – 10:10 Opening


10:10 – 10:50

Jóhannes ÁGÚSTSSON (Reykjavík): “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.


10:50 – 11.05 Coffee break


11:05 – 11:30

Janice STOCKIGT (University of Melbourne): “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.

11:30 – 12:00

David IRVING (ICREA & Institució Milà i Fontanals–CSIC): “French and Italian Bowholds in the Early Eighteenth Century: Implications for Musical Change within the Dresden Hofkapelle

From the 1670s to the 1760s two different styles of bowhold were described by writers on violin technique; these have become known respectively as ‘French’ and ‘Italian’, labels popularised by Michel Corrette in a treatise of 1738. The French bowhold involved placing the thumb under the hair of the bow, or under the frog, with the three middle fingers on top of the stick and the fifth finger beneath or on the side of the stick. For the Italian bowhold, the thumb touched the stick and all other fingers were placed on top of the stick, resembling the conventional ‘modern’ bowhold. Treatises and iconography of the period attest to the prevalence of both techniques, with the former associated strongly with the Italian-born French master Jean-Baptiste Lully. By the mid-eighteenth century, the French bowhold seems to have disappeared entirely from ‘art music’ – although it may have continued as an unbroken tradition in popular fiddling practice – and the Italian technique prevailed throughout Western Europe, including France. Reasons for this shift include the prevalence of Italian and Italian-trained violinists, changes in compositional style which required different kinds of technical capacities, and the emergence of new bow designs with diverse lengths and physical properties. Yet the French bowhold was clearly popular, and remained in widespread use from the seventeenth to mid-eighteenth centuries, especially in French or French-influenced musical centres. It is plausible that Jean-Baptiste Volumier and many violinists of the Dresden Hofkapelle used this bowhold, but equally possible that under the directorship of Johann Georg Pisendel from 1728, the thumb-on-stick bowgrip began to predominate. This paper explores the historical evidence for the use of the French bowhold and co-existence of French and Italian techniques in orchestras of the early eighteenth century, and makes a comparative demonstration of the different aesthetic and timbre through the test case of a violin obbligato from a Mass movement by Jan Dismas Zelenka (“Et unam sanctam” from the Missa Sanctæ Cæciliæ), in a version from 1711 and another from after 1727.

12:00 – 14:00  Lunch


14:00 – 14:30

Jana PERUTKOVÁ (Ústav hudební vědy, Filozofická fakulta Masarykovy univerzity Brno): „Oratoria, určená k provádění u Božího hrobu v českých zemích a Rakousku v 18. století a případ Zelenka“ / “Oratorios Performed at the Holy Sepulchre in the Bohemian Lands and Austria in the Eighteenth Century and the Case of Zelenka”

The review will focus on specific form of oratorios intended for performances during the Holy Week at the holy sepulchre. This form, originally popular at the Viennese court during the reign of Emperor Leopold I., was abundantly performed in the first half of the 18th century in many religions orders (i.e. Jesuits, Capuchins, Augustinians, Oratorians, Cistercians, Benedictines, The Knights of the Cross with the Red Star, Ursulines, Elizabethans, etc.), in parish churches and also in several noble families. The functional point of view, symbolically defined by the place and purpose of the performance, plays a decisive role in further research of this phenomenon. From the symbolic setting is therefore derived the term sepolcro that is used for all mentioned compositions. Apart from terminological tasks, the paper focuses on clients who requested sepolcri for their personal performance, and form of the compositions and language. Types of subjects used in sepolcri, the transfer of specific works or librettos, and the ways of possible stage performances will be presented on several examples as well. Finally, Jan Dismas Zelenka’s compositions written for performances by the holy sepulchre will be inserted in this broad framework.


14:30 – 15:00

Andrew FRAMPTON (University of Oxford): “Hidden in Plain Sight: Parody and Reworking in the Sacred Vocal Music of Jan Dismas Zelenka”

A hitherto neglected area in the study of Zelenka’s compositional practice has been his use of musical borrowing and parody – that is, the repurposing of existing music for a new work. In contrast to the sacred vocal works of Johann Sebastian Bach, which exhibit the frequent reuse of music drawn from occasional (usually secular) pieces, there are relatively few works by Zelenka that have been separately transmitted in different versions. However, a forensic examination of the manuscript sources reveals that Zelenka did in fact employ a variety of borrowing and reworking techniques, including parody of his own compositions, in a more regular and sophisticated manner than has been previously recognised.

This paper presents some preliminary findings from a new, ongoing research project investigating Zelenka’s working methods in his autograph scores. Through a close analysis of specific examples, with a particular focus on the masses, I seek to classify the various types of reworkings visible in his manuscripts, and offer suggestions about likely parody models. Are there systematic patterns that can be observed in Zelenka’s methods of recycling musical material? I also discuss the possible implications of these findings for the reconstruction of incomplete or lost works, and for what should be considered a ‘version’ in the context of cataloguing.


15: 00-15: 15 Coffee break


15: 15- 15:45

Shelley HOGAN (University of Melbourne): “A Reconstruction of Zelenka’s Early Membership in the Dresden Hofkapelle” (To be read by Samantha Owens)

Bohemian composer Jan Dismas Zelenka was an important figure in the musical life at the royal court in Dresden during the first half of the eighteenth century.  While the court lists his initial engagement as a contrabassist, Zelenka’s later activities at court were principally as a church composer and indeed his sacred works contributed to the music of the Catholic court chapel from the earliest years of his association.  He would serve the court for more than three decades from his 1710/1711 arrival to his death in December 1745.  Modern scholarly interest centres on Zelenka’s compositional activities while understanding of Zelenka’s earlier years remains substantially incomplete.  An important exception is the recent confirmation by Janice B. Stockigt and Jóhannes Ágústsson of Zelenka’s training and career prior to arriving in Dresden—previously the subject of scholarly speculation. This paper examines one further aspect of Zelenka’s early Dresden career: how he contributed as a contrabassist of the Hofkapelle during his first decade of service.  This decade saw significant change in the bass section and orchestra as a whole, through a move away from engaging multi-instrumentalists to those specialising on a single instrument, the arrival of a new wave of internationally trained personnel, and transition to new instrument types.  Archival sources of the Dresden court record many details of individual employment, and change to the Hofkapelle‘s size and administration from its re-establishment in 1709.  Drawing on analysis of these primary sources, this paper argues a reconstruction of the careers of Zelenka’s colleagues in the bass section provides substantial evidence to establish Zelenka’s own role and instrument type.  The paper concludes that Zelenka’s activities as a contrabassist in Dresden should be viewed as a key part of a larger plan by the court to transform its orchestra that met the preconditions for the Classicism that followed.

15:45 – 16:15

Pavel JURÁK (Ústav hudební vědy, Filozofická fakulta Univerzity Karlovy, Praha): “Nicola Porpora in the Inventarium of Jan Dismas Zelenka”

The discovery that Jan Dismas Zelenka had in his Inventarium compositions by Nicola Porpora, i.e., Dixit Dominus in C major, Laudate Pueri in B major and Magnificat in A minor, was a by-result of the bachelor thesis „J. D. Zelenka’s Magnificats in the context of contemporary compositions“. The paper demonstrates how three compositions in the Inventarium of Jan Dismas Zelenka, which were regarded as works of an anonymous composer, were by Nicola Porpora. These compositions were transcribed by Carl von Winterfeld (1784-1852) during his journey to Italy in 1812. The study of the oldest known surviving manuscript of the composition Magnificat in A minor by Nicola Porpora, copied by Josef Antonín Sehling (1710-1756), was an important step in making this identification. The analysis showed that Sehling arranged this work for the use of the St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague. And this is why the search for the original version of the Porpora’s composition had to continue and finally ended at the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin where the manuscript „Composizioni sacre di Nicolo Porpora“ of Carl von Winterfeld is preserved today. The author also considered the possibility that several other works from the Inventarium could be composed by Nicola Porpora. Furthermore, he deals with the question whether Jan Dismas Zelenka and Nicola Porpora knew each other and where they could meet.

16:15 – 16:45

Frederic KIERNAN (University of Melbourne): „Wolfgang Horn and Zelenka“

Nicola Porpora in the Inventarium of Jan Dismas Zelenka

This paper uses the late Wolfgang Horn’s own reflections on his relationship with Zelenka as a lens through which to consider broader questions about the nature of Zelenka’s music, its reception history, and music historiography. Based on an interview conducted with Horn during the Zelenka Festival in Prague, October 2017, this paper considers Horn’s legacy as a driver of, and witness to, the rise of Zelenka studies in the 1980s, and the impact of this German scholar on our understanding of Zelenka today.

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The Prague-Dresden Zelenka Festival  offers a one-day conference where  well-known Zelenka researchers will present their unpublished findings about Zelenka´s work and life. The aim of the Zelenka Conference is to create a platform to give publicity to the results of contemporary foreign research on Zelenka. In addition, it should bring inspiration to restart research of Zelenka´s work which has been standing still for many years in the Czech Republic.