Jump to content

Zelenka- what happened to him?

Symphony Concertante

Recommended Posts

Recently I bought some music from eClassical by Zelenka - a Czech baroque composer. Though I have not listened to the music yet, I have done a little research on him, and it seems he a master of counterpoint, and even shared a job as Kappelmeister in Dresden. And yet few people know about him. The clips that I heard of his music was quite good, and I'm wondering why his reputation is so low if he was such a good composer. Does anyone out there know?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here are some links for more information on him:


Zelenka, Jan Dismas: Biography

Jan Dismas Zelenka: a biographical note


A catalogue of his compositions:


And here are questions and answers about him:

Frequently asked questions (FAQ) about Jan Dismas Zelenka

in which is the answer to my question:

Q. Why did Zelenka's music disappear into obscurity for 200 years?

A. This is discussed at length in Janice Stockigt's book. After Zelenka's death, much of his music was "kept under lock and key" by the Dresden court, and the reasons for this are not clear. Telemann (1681-1767) is known to have written of ZWV 55 (Responsoria) being guarded jealously "as something very rare" (a more complete translation is given below). Copies of certain works (which had presumably been given away while Zelenka was alive) were made after his death and ended up in different parts of Germany and Czechoslovakia. There were even a few performances in the 1800s. Perhaps one of the strongest reasons for the obscurity of Zelenka's music was that Catholic liturgical music had no place in a Lutheran society.

So, now that I have actually answered my own question, I hope others are enlightened as well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...