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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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on 27 April 2015
Just extraordinary... I will just have to buy EVERYTHING the Collegium Marianum records - everything (vocals and instrumentals) is always superb !
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