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DHM Splendeurs: Zelenka: Missa Dei Filii

DHM Splendeurs: Zelenka: Missa Dei Filii

19 Apr 2004

£7.09 (VAT included if applicable)
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Product details

  • Original Release Date: 29 Mar 2004
  • Release Date: 29 Mar 2004
  • Label: deutsche harmonia mundi
  • Record Company Required Metadata: Music file metadata contains unique purchase identifier. Learn more.
  • Total Length: 1:10:07
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B001RC947U
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 164,483 in MP3 Albums (See Top 100 in MP3 Albums)

Customer Reviews

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Sid Nuncius HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on 31 Dec 2008
Format: Audio CD
This disc consists of two of Zelenka's liturgical works: Missa Dei Filii and Litaniae Laurentanae. They are both lovely settings, full of invention and beautiful moments, with some very inventive - almost quirky at times - harmonic and melodic ideas. Zelenka's music is beginning to be recognised for the excellent stuff it is, and this is a very good representation of it.

The performances are superb. Nancy Argenta in particular sings wonderfully, and Michael Chance's performance is also of the very high standard we have come to expect of him. Tafelmusik play perfectly, in my view, with exactly the right degree of suppleness and vigour when needed, and exquisite tenderness in other places. The recording quality (from 1990) is excellent and it all adds up to a gem of a disc which I would recommend in the highest terms.

You may like to know that this disc is included in a magnificent, mega-bargain 50-CD box commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the label DHM. Deutsche Harmonia Mundi 50th Anniversary Box If you can run to a few extra quid you get this very fine disc and 49 others, too!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Lady Fancifull TOP 500 REVIEWER on 17 Feb 2012
Format: Audio CD
Having very recently discovered Zelenka by some chance or other, I'm very quickly enamoured! I have been instructed (thankyou fellow reviewer E.L Wisty) that he is sometimes referred to as `the Catholic Bach' There is certainly a greater degree of sumptuous opulence in this music than in JSB, and indeed I had many images of gold, red velvet, richly painted icons, stained glass windows and the like fill my mind, as I listened. There is also a particularly, I can only describe it as bouncy, quality to his music - listen to that opening Kyrie, which is almost folksy. This is music which has a certain earthiness to it, a flesh and blood quality. It never quite leaves the ground, there is some sort of pragmatic, tangible joy, rather than austerity or mysticism (both of which I also love, musically) Here, I almost expect the choir to be dancing with each other, swinging each other round, wearing elaborate traditional high-days-and-holidays costumes (listen to that Gloria!) Most unseemly behaviour in a church - but why not! This is a delight in the divine, a joyousness. The musical runs in the Gloria made it hard to sit still. Had I heard it in a church setting I'm sure I would have been expelled for bad behaviour, as it would be necessary to skip and twirl in the aisles!

What a very happy and energetic performance of Zelly this is.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By E. L. Wisty TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 27 Jun 2012
Format: Audio CD
In his later life, Jan Dismas Zelenka set about the task of writing a cycle of half a dozen masses, of which we only have two and a half. It seems that he was writing them purely as an artistic exercise, and it is unlikely that any were performed in his own lifetime, seeing as they only survive in draft form rather than performing editions, and in any case would have been too long in duration for performance at the Dresden court where a limit of 45 minutes had been imposed.

The Missa Dei Filii is the second of Zelenka's planned sequence, only having a Kyrie and Gloria. It is possible that it was, as some commentators claim, a Missa Brevis as was a common style in Germany and Italy at the time, but given the scale and scope of the other two complete masses of the sequence, it is more likely that it is simply unfinished.

The other work on this disc, the Lauretanian Litany "Salus infirmorum" ZWV 152 (along with its paired work ZWV 151 not on this disc) does appear to have been performed at the Dresden court in the context of votive services when Maria Josepha, wife of the Elector Frederick Augustus II, was ill.

This is a thoroughly decent production of the work and worthy of a place on the shelf of Baroque music enthusiasts. The four vocal soloists are excellent, the music of the instrumental ensemble Tafelmusik suitably joyful and uplifting. The chorus however is a little too much on the large side (I count 37 names in the booklet) for my own taste, and the recorded sound is perhaps not quite as sharp as would be desirable.

I would love to hear what Václav Luks and Collegium 1704/Collegium 1704 Vocale, undoubtedly makers of the best recordings of Zelenka around right now, could do with this work. No doubt they will get round to it sooner or later.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 2 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Zelenka's Late Masterpiece 23 Mar 2008
By M. De Sapio - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The Bohemian-German composer Jan Dismas Zelenka (1678-1745) is becoming increasingly known as one of J.S. Bach's most fascinating and original contemporaries. More accommodating towards operatic and GALANT stylistic elements (especially in his later years) than Bach was, Zelenka's style is distinguished by daring invention, contrapuntal mastery, and an extravagant late baroque exuberance that seems to spill over the printed page. Zelenka wrote a series of Masses at the end of his life which appear to have been intended as an "independent work of art" without definite plans to be performed. One of these Masses, the MISSA DEI FILII (Mass of the Son of God), consists of only the Kyrie and Gloria, leading some scholars to believe that the composer died before completing the work. For me the standout portion of this Mass is the "Gloria in excelsis". In this movement Zelenka builds a mosaic out of a panoply of motifs, combined and manipulated within an astounding large-scale design and carried along by a chugging pulse of irrepressible joy; it is an overwhelming ten minutes of music.

This 1990 recording (here reissued at budget price) is a key entry in the already considerable Zelenka discography. The vocal soloists (especially the wonderful countertenor Michael Chance) are excellent, the Tafelmusik orchestra airy and transparent (surprisingly, Zelenka stuck with the standard orchestra of strings and oboes for this work, rather than augment it with brass), and the chorus especially lovely in the celestial polyphony of the twice occurring "Kyrie" movement. Baroque aficionados take note: you owe yourself to become acquainted with this composer, especially this, his late (and perhaps unfinished) masterpiece.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
a voice teacher and early music fan 15 Feb 2009
By George Peabody - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
THE BAROQUE MUSICAL TRINITY: HANDEL, BACH AND ZELENKA.
If Handel and Bach are the first two members of the Baroque Musical Trinity then Jan Dismas Zelenka(1679-1745) is the third. From the opening 'Kyrie' of this beautiful Mass I was 'hooked'!

Zelenka's entire repertoire only runs to some 150 compositions and consists of a small number of instrumental selections and a larger group of sacred vocal selections such as masses and requiems, psalms, magnificats, hymns and a few secular vocal works. The music on this disc is melodious, harmonically satisfying and very creative throughout both in the instrumental accompaniment and solos. His repeated use of ascending and descending scale passages ending in unusual harmonies is unique and pleasing to the ear as is the harmonic progressions throughout the composition.

The 'Missa Dei Filii' ZWV20, is a mass in honor of the Son of God. As was usual in the first half of the 18th century, Zelenka's masses and litanies are so-called number works in which the five parts of the Mass(Kyrie-Gloria-Credo-Sanctus/Benedictus-Agnus Dei) are subdivded into smaller, musically independent single movements.

Zelenka left nine large scale settings of various litanae, the 'Litanae Lauretenae' subtitled 'Salus Infirmorum' (the healer of the infirm) was composed in 1744. It has nine movements with varied ensemble groupings: Trio(S.A.T.), quartet (S.A.T.B.), three arias, one each for soprano, alto, tenor and four choruses, all of which are very well rendered on this disc and lovely to hear!

It's difficult to understand why it took so long for Zelenka's music to surface, but fortunately for us, more and more is being discovered and recorded. Frieder Bernius, the director of this recording, has recorded several more of his works which can be found on this website and from other musical purveyors.

All the music herein, as a whole, demands much technical ability and sometimes virtuosity for singers as well as instrumentalists. Just one example of this is: "Quoniam tu solus Sanctus II" as sung by Michael Chance in the 'Gloria'; it requires much flexibility and control, as you will hear for yourself if you purchase the recording.

The overall performance on this 1989 recording is impressive partly because the excitement never ceases during the performance: Nancy Argenta(soprano) seems to be more involved emotionally than usual-Michael Chance (countertenor) is perfection exhibiting great control along with a rich full tone quality-Christopher Pregarden(tenor) has a warm and resonant delivery and Gordon Jones(bass) sings with ease and a lightness of sound. the Kammerchor Stuttgart is as usual smooth sounding with a lovely buoyancy and Tafelmusic is great as always ('bravo' Jean Lamon). And all brought skillfully together by the very capable Frieder Bernius.
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