Zelenka: Missa Paschalis, Litaniæ Omnium Sanctorum

Gabriela Eibenová, Terry Wey, Cyril Auvity, Marián Krejčík, Ensemble Inégal, Adam Viktora
68:21
Nibiru 01582231

There are few composers who rival Zelenka when he is in full festive mood; the Catholic chapel in Dresden must have been an exciting place to be when one of his great masses was performed and the impact of the first performance of his Missa Paschalis ZWV7 with four trumpets and pairs of oboes and flutes can only be wondered at. Adam Viktora’s full forces go at it with aplomb and I even felt the hairs raise on the back of my neck at various points. The mass dates from 1726 and was performed on “the second day of Easter” (i. e., Easter Monday), the piece for the principle feast having been penned by his boss, Heinichen. All that would change within a few years after the latter’s death, although Zelenka was not successul in his efforts to be elected to his official position. He wrote the All Souls Litany ZWV153 in 1735 as part of the court worship in the hope of Maria Josepha’s success in giving birth to an heir; Zelenka seems to have had a fondness for his employer and this work again is full of melodic delights, as well as demonstrations of his impressive counterpoint and word-setting skills. Typically, these performances are judged to perfection with an excellent solo quartet, well-disciplined and balanced choir, and stylish orchestral accompaniments. Every Zelenka fan must own this.

Brian Clark