Zelenka church music

Missa Dei Filii, ZWV20
Edited by Wolfgang Horn, continuo realisation by Paul Horn
Breitkopf Urtext PB 5565 – Full score €68.90

Missa Omnium Sanctorum, ZWV21
Edited by Wolfgang Horn, Piano reduction by Matthias Grünert
Breitkopf Urtext EB 8052 – Vocal score €12.90

Both of these masses were issued as part of Das Erbe deutscher Musik  (volumes 100 and 101 respectively) in editions by two of the experts on the Catholic chapel at the Dresden court during the late 17th and 18th centuries. The Missa Dei Filii  was the first piece by Zelenka that I heard performed on period instruments (the recording available is on youtube) and it is a most impressive piece with all of the trademarks of the composer’s style and equally demanding for chorus and orchestra (strings with woodwinds only). The fact that Breitkopf also sell vocal scores (EB 8050, €19.90 each) and hire performance materials will hopefully encourage choirs to explore the repertoire.

If the vocal score for the Missa Omnium Sanctorum  (his last, dating from 1741) is anything to go by, choirs can have absolute confidence in buying it – and at least three quarters of the 94 pages are for chorus, so there is a LOT of singing in the work. The text is (again) based on Das Erbe deutscher Musik, though with a new keyboard reduction of the instrumental parts (which possibly even I could play most of!) All four voices have solo movements (the Tenor Christe eleison  is perhaps the most virtuosic). There is a video of a live performance here – let it inspire you!

Beautifully printed and laid out, these are exemplary editions of music that deserves to be better known.

Brian Clark