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Zelenka: Sacred Music (Hyperion: CDH55424) [Import]

The King's Consort , Jan Dismas Zelenka , Robert King Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Zelenka: Sacred Music (Hyperion: CDH55424) + Zelenka: The Lamentations of Jeremiah
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Product details

  • Conductor: Robert King
  • Composer: Jan Dismas Zelenka
  • Audio CD (31 Jan 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Hyperion
  • ASIN: B006FNN8IM
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 108,876 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Litaniae de Venerabili Sacramento Z147
2. Regina caeli laetare Z134
3. Salve regina, mater misericordiae Z135 - Various Performers
4. Officium defunctorum Z47 extracts

Product Description

CD Description

Czech-born Jan Dismas Zelenka was by all accounts one of Baroque musics trickier customersfervently religious but completely lacking in courtly graces. Combine this with a tendency to throw out the rulebook when it came to harmonic convention and its hardly surprising that he was underappreciated in his lifetime. Yet here is some of the most pungently exciting writing of the Baroque, as individual as that of his near-contemporary, Johann Sebastian Bach. The very opening of Zelenkas Litaniae sets out his stall and Robert King and his eponymous Consort make the most of its startling qualities. But he is a composer to tug at the heartstrings too, nowhere more so than in the Salve regina, ravishingly sung by a young Carolyn Sampson.

Product Description

Litaniae de Venerabili Sacramento, Z147 - Regina caeli laetare, Z134 - Salve regina, mater misericordiae, Z135 - Lectiones et Invitatorium de Officium defunctorum, Z47 / The Choir of The King's Consort - The King's Consort - Robert King, direction

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable choral music 15 Aug 2013
By Sid Nuncius #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD
This is an enjoyable disc of very good sacred music by an under-appreciated contemporary of Bach. Zelenka wrote complex counterpoint which was well received in the early part of his career in his native Czechoslovakia but became regarded as rather old-fashioned in Dresden where he spent the later part of his career. This means that his music was not nearly as well-known as it should have been. In fact it is skilful, tuneful and capable of being charming, beautiful and moving in places. He's no Bach or Handel, but Zelenka was a very good composer and I find his music enjoyable and rewarding.

The King's consort do it proud here. They were a superb ensemble and many of their recordings remain the benchmark years after they were made. This one, from 2003, features a lineup of star soloists including Robin Blaze, Carolyn Sampson and Michael George and the others and the chorus give an excellent performance, as do the orchestra. It's exemplary singing and playing in this repertoire and makes the music really shine.

This would be a very good place to start with Zelenka if you don't know him, and would sit very well in a collection of him, too. The recorded sound is excellent and the notes full and interesting with full texts and translations. Very warmly recommended all round.
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a voice teacher and early music fan 14 Feb 2012
By George Peabody - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
COLORFUL,COMPLEX,ORNATE, OLD-FASHIONED BUT LOOKING FORWARD, JAN DISMAS ZELENKA'S MUSIC NEVER CEASES TO AMAZE AND ENTERTAIN!

Jan Dismas Zelenka(1679-1745) was the most important Bohemian composer before Gluck. He wrote no operas and few instrumental works, but a great body of sacred music for the Catholic court at Dresden plus a few choice secular works. Only recently have his works come to light, but they show that he was an important and uniquely gifted composer, with a superb ear for melody, exceptional contrapuntal skills, and a sparing but effective penchant for surprising harmonious twists and unusual turns of phrase. While his music, on the surface, may appear somewhat like Bach, it actually takes its own path into less traditional and less profound musical territory. After all, there is only one J.S.Bach!

This recording presents four representative sacred works by Zelenka from the period of about 1727-1733 which Friedrich Rochlitz (a Leipzig musicologist) held in high esteem for the 'admirable idiosyncrasy; of the harmonic language and 'ornately entwined' voices. We are treated herein to sacred works engaging and purely beautiful(Regina Coeli and Salve Regina), and at his most exquisitely functional(the Litinae). All of these works display Zelenka's keen sense of color-scoring for parts such as muted oboes, clalameu and muted strings; and his affecting way with fitting text and groups of instruments.

The Litaniae de Venerabili Sacramento in C major consists of eleven single musical numbers composed predominatly in an old-fashioned style of contrapuntal craftsmanship interrupted by occasional harmonic twists. The Marian antiphon 'Salve Regina in a minor' is a generously scored and substantial motet of five movements whose fine, elaborated composition is very much shaped by Zelenka's personal style, especially in its splendid quirks of orchestration.

The last four selections on this disc are part of the 'Officium Defunctorum' containing thirteen movements. The 'Invitatorium' from this work gives a powerful impression of Zelenka's choral style, presenting a mixture of modern, dramatic gestures of harmony, dynamics and scoring. The instrumental elements are mixed with passages of extended semi-recitative for the alto soloists and interpolations of the chorus. I found this work fascinating!

Highlights included 'Pater de coelis' duet (Litinae) and the beautiful little choral 'Agnus Dei' that concludes the Litinae. However, the 'Lectione' from the 'Officium Defunctorum' remain my favorite work on the disc. The six soloists are excellent, experienced as they are in Early Music, and the entire performance of Robert King and the choir of King's Consort is inspirational as is that of the instrumental group the King's Consort. Robert King provides a solid and confident leadership which I think assisted the soloists in their sensitve and expressive performances.

FANFARE: "The performance is outstanding, capturing the startlingly original nature of the piece with singing and playing of such vitality and oommitment."

The package comes with adequate liner notes which have pertinent information as well as the Latin text and English translation.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable choral music 15 Aug 2013
By Sid Nuncius - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This is an enjoyable disc of very good sacred music by an under-appreciated contemporary of Bach. Zelenka wrote complex counterpoint which was well received in the early part of his career in his native Czechoslovakia but became regarded as rather old-fashioned in Dresden where he spent the later part of his career. This means that his music was not nearly as well-known as it should have been. In fact it is skilful, tuneful and capable of being charming, beautiful and moving in places. He's no Bach or Handel, but Zelenka was a very good composer and I find his music enjoyable and rewarding.

The King's consort do it proud here. They were a superb ensemble and many of their recordings remain the benchmark years after they were made. This one, from 2003, features a lineup of star soloists including Robin Blaze, Carolyn Sampson and Michael George and the others and the chorus give an excellent performance, as do the orchestra. It's exemplary singing and playing in this repertoire and makes the music really shine.

This would be a very good place to start with Zelenka if you don't know him, and would sit very well in a collection of him, too. The recorded sound is excellent and the notes full and interesting with full texts and translations. Very warmly recommended all round.
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful 5 Feb 2013
By ivana - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
If you like baroque music, you already probably know the work of Jan Dismas Zelenka. If not, then do not hesitate. His music is beautiful.
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars painting 11 Mar 2014
By BELLIN Jean Marie - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Who is the painter of this nice an remarkable picture ? In this area, surely, it was the gold age at this time !
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