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Zelenka: Sepolcri - Music 18th c. Prague CD

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Zelenka: Sepolcri - Music 18th c. Prague + Zelenka: Missa Nativitatis Domini + Zelenka: Music From 18th Century Prague
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Product details

  • Conductor: None
  • Composer: Zelenka
  • Audio CD (12 Dec. 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Supraphon Records
  • ASIN: B005Z4D2VU
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 253,934 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Immisit Dominus Pestilentiam
2. Feriam Pestilentia
3. Recordare, Domine
4. Sacrificemur Domino
5. Orate Pro Me, Lacrimae
6. Parcite, Boni Angeli
7. Clamate, Guttae Sanguinis
8. Deus, Qui Non Mortem, Sed Poenitentiam Desideras
9. Ut Dum Tibi Devotus Existit
10. Attendite Et Videte
11. Adoramus Te, Christe
12. Omnes Gentes Plaudite Manibus
13. Psallite Deo Nostro
14. Omnipotens Deus
15. Deus Regit Nos
16. Dignus Es, Domine
17. Deo Subjecta
18. Adoramus Te, Christe
19. Deus, Dux Fortissime
20. Solare, Christiadum Turba
See all 27 tracks on this disc

Product Description

Immisit Dominus pestilentiam, ZWV58 - Attendite et videte, ZWV59 - Deus dux fortissime, ZWV60 / Hana Blaziková, soprano - David Erler, alto - Tobias Hunger, ténor - Tomáš Král, basse - Collegium Marianum - Jana Semerádová, direction

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By M. Nordbakke on 19 Dec. 2011
Format: Audio CD
Readers of Janice B. Stockigt's book on Zelenka (2000) as well as other Zelenka fans have undoubtedly been looking forward to a recording of the sepulchre cantatas, three of Zelenka's earliest surviving works. At last, a CD recording has been released; and the performance under the direction of flautist Jana Semerádová is exquisite!

As a genre, the sepulchre cantata originated at the seventeenth-century Habsburg Court in Vienna, where it may have taken the form of a staged performance. Zelenka's cantatas have been described as an amalgam of the Viennese genre, the Jesuit Latin school drama, and the Roman oratorio. The music was to be performed on Good Friday during an adoration taking place in front of a cabinet intended to represent the Holy Sepulchre. Typically, thousands of candles and oil lamps placed behind the cabinet were used for illumination. Curiously enough, no aspect of Zelenka's cantatas links the works with Holy Week.

Wolfgang Horn, in the liner notes, is right in pointing out that these cantatas already show the fingerprints of the composer's mature style: "the tendency to expressive, often dolorously sounding melody and a penchant for thoroughly elaborate fugues with remarkable themes." In fact, these may be the very traits that are drawing an increasing audience to Zelenka's works. The music is just so beautiful! "Immisit Dominus pestilentiam" (ZWV 58), composed by the 29-year-old Zelenka, features recitatives, arias, arioso sections, declamatory choruses, and fugues. "Sacrificemur Domino" is a choral fugue based upon double counterpoint, in which all the characteristics of Zelenka's mature style are already present.
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By E. L. Wisty TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 25 Oct. 2012
Format: Audio CD
Jan Dismas Zelenka's earliest surviving works, written whilst still in his native Prague, are these three works for performance on the morning of Good Friday, dated 1709, 1712 and 1716 respectively. They are in effect cantata-like pieces using both chorus (here SATBx2) and solo arias and recitatives. The poor state of preservation of the autograph manuscripts means that there has been considerable reconstruction necessary, although for the most part the fact that texts are taken from the Vulgate plus application of rules of composition has taken care of much of this.

The intended occasion of performance means not surprisingly that this is music in a somewhat darker tone than much of his later work, though as the booklet notes, the "mature style" of Zelenka (he was nearly 30 by the time the first of these was written) is already recognisably there.

Excellent vocal soloists here include soprano Hana Blazikova who seems to be first to get the call when a new recording of Zelenka is in the offing, plus countertenor David Erler who performs with the stunning Renaissance polyphony ensemble "The Sound and the Fury", though he seems slightly more subdued here.

The booklet (which is virtually impossible to get back into the case without wrecking it) supplies some notes, along with Latin sung texts and separate translations (English, German, French, Czech).
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 1 review
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
a voice teacher and early music fan 20 Dec. 2011
By George Peabody - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD

Three miniature oratorios composed early in Jan Dismas Zelenka's (1679-1745) compositional life (though in his early 30's), written in 1709, 1712 and 1716, while he was still in Prague writing for the Jesuits. Each was composed to be performed on Good Friday during the contemplation of the Holy Sepulchre at San Salvator Church in Prague. As of now 250 works are made available on discs which are derived mostly from liturgical compositions he wrote later when he was in the service of the royal court in Dresden.

The music of these early 'sepolchri' already manifests many traits typical of a later Zelenka: expressive frequent mournful sounding melodies, an inclination for elaborate fugues with remarkable themes and totally unexpected twists. Though early in his output, they do not in any way sound like a composer 'feeling' his way. Rather within the vocal writing is contained long intensely expressive melodic lines that are certainly characteristic of Zelenka's later instrumental writing. These oratorios are already singular pieces encompassing the traits of a creative compositonal style.

The Collegium Marianum, on period instruments, of which there are nine: violin, viola, violoncello, double bass, organ, bassoon, chalumeau, oboe and transverse flute, add considerable to the colorful accompaniment throughout these oratorios and all are played skillfully. The four soloists: soprano, Hana Blazikova; male alto, David Erler; tenor Tobias Hunger and Bass Tomas Kral; all performed adequately wtih good sounds, the Bass seeming to be the singer who provided the most dramatic excitement. Indeed if one did not first look at the text of these works,it would be difficult to ascertain what the mood was dramatically speaking. Granted these are sacred, but they are filled with passions of all kinds.

The first oratorio 'The Lord sent plague on Israel' is introduced by the soprano beautifully but rather blandly considering that God might destroy everyone with a plague! However, the bass enters and gives us some drama. This is followed by an aria that did seem to portray something 'Feriam pestilentia' sung by the countertenor, in which he asks God to remember His covenant and to spare them; a lovely Zelenka melody and Erler does something with it. This work was kept alive by the varied instrumental colors, particularly that of the chaluemau and the flute.

The second oratorio begins with 'Attend and Behold'; this is Jesus on the cross describing what has happened to Him; it's all about Passion, Penitence and Adoration on the part of the people. I don't get this from the delivery of it via the performance. It begins with a lengthy recitative by the countertenor 'Attend and Behold'; Jesus is talking about His mistreatment and his sorrow and reminding everyone that they are redeemed at a great cost. I could not believe how undramatic Erler sang this! He is really an accomplished singer, but he seemed to be holding back somewhat and one has to ask WHY? I kept wishing for a Michael Chance or a David Daniels to come along and sing it. How extraordinary it would have sounded!!!!The highpoint of this work was the very fine and passionately rendered violin solo along with the soprano aria"Deo subjecta"; the violin showed so much more intensity than the voice.

Oratorio number three was militant in text and speaks of God, the mightiest commander, and asks that He give strength to the armies of Christians. Of the three works on this recording this one came alive and I am certain that Zelenka (wherever he may be)is grateful. It helped that it opened with a terrific bass solo that proved to be the dramatic highpoint of the work and it was sung wonderfully by Kral. The final three choruses were also well-done and exciting. I should mention that they are made up of not only the soloists, but a singer is added to each part and that does liven up things throughout the recording; each oratorio has at least two choruses.

My hope is that other groups will be recordings these and I would love to hear Frieder Bernius, Kammerchor Stuttgart do so, because he is definitely a Zelenka expert conductor. If you have not heard his 1989 recording of Zelenka's 'Missa Dei Filii' and 'Litaniae' you will hear how very excellent Zelenka can sound for he is indeed a great composer. Lest you think that I am 'trashing' this disc, erase that thought because I will listen to it many times and enjoy it. It comes with a 45 page booklet that inludes information as well as the text in English, German, French, Hungarian and of course, Latin.

BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE, June, 2012: "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 consitutents...The artistry of Zelenka, rather than the performers, is what makes this disc a worthwhile acquisition."
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