1 LP - 6.42415 AW - (p) 1980
1 CD - 8.42415 XH - (c) 1989

Jan Dismas Zelenka (1679-1745)

Hipocondrie à 7 concertanti A-dur
8' 53" A1
für 2 Violinen, 2 Oboen, Viola, Fagott und B.c.

- (Grave) - Allegro - Lentement - Adagio

Sonate Nr. 2 g-moll
17' 48" A2
für 2 Oboen, Viola, Fagott und B.c.

- Andante 2' 56"

- Allegro
6' 31"

- Andante 3' 06"

- Allegro assai
5' 15"

Ouverture à 7 concertanti F-dur
20' 01" B
für 2 Violinen, 2 Oboen, Viola, Fagott und B.c.

- Grave - Allegro - Grave
7' 18"

- Aria
4' 31"

- Menuett I - II 2' 12"

- (Siciliano) 4' 19"

- Folie 1' 41"

CONCENTUS MUSICUS WIEN (mit Originalinstrumenten)

- Alice Harnoncourt, Violine
- Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Violoncello

- Walter Pfeiffer, Violine - Eduard Hruza, Violone
- Peter Schoberwalter, Violine - Jürg Schaeftlein, Oboe
- Anita Mitterer, Violine
- Paul Hailperin, Oboe
- Wilhelm Mergl, Violine - Milan Turkovic, Fagott
- Kurt Theiner, Viola
- Herbert Tachezi, Cembalo
- Josef de Sordi, Viola

Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Leitung
Luogo e data di registrazione
Casino Zögernitz, Vienna (Austria) - marzo 1977, marzo 1978 e maggio 1979
Registrazione live / studio
Producer / Engineer
Prima Edizione CD
Teldec "Harnoncourt Edition" - 8.42415 XH - (1 cd) - 47' 05" - (c) 1989 - AAD
Prima Edizione LP
Telefunken "Das Alte Werk" - 6.42415 AW - (1 lp) - 47' 08" - (p) 1980

The name Jan Dismas Zelenka conveys little to anyone other than historians, or rather to a few experts on Bohemian music during the baroque period. Not even a picture of him exists. Although his 300th anniversary on 16th October, 1979 gave rise to a slightly greater knowledge of his name and some of his instrumental works, he has remained unknown, indeed an anachronism, for all that his spiritual affinity with Bach repeatedly been praised.
Jan Dismas Zelenka came from Bohemia, from Lounoviĕe near Blanik, southeast of Prague. According to the researches of Milan Pošto1kas his received his musical teaching first from his father and later at the Jesuits’ College in Prague. This may well be where his religious outlook was formed, and it is also possible that it was here that he wrote his first religious compositions, probably including a cantata for the Collegium Clementinuin. From 1710 onwards widcr opportunities presented themselves to Zelenka in Dresden, wherr he joined the Court orchestra, originally merely as a double bass player; in 1715 or 1716 he was considered worthy of being allowed to continue his studics in Vienna with Johann Josef Fux. The story is that his teacher soon prevailed upon the Elector of Saxony to allow him further study, and in 1716 Zelenka is said to have undertaken an extended study tour to Venice, where he may have met Antonio Lotti. Whether in the end he became a pupil of Alessandro Scarlatti and Francesco Feo in Napels is not established.
After completing his studies, Zelenka returned to Dresden via Vienna. There he, who had “graduated” in the strict style, had to contend with Neapolitan opera because the representative of that art form, Johann Adolf Hasse, dominated the musical scene at Dresden. In comparison with his status, Zelenlk’s own position as Vice-Kapellmeister of Church Music, wich he had assumed on his return in 1721, was of only secondary interest. True, he received the prestigious commission to write the (Jesuit) opera "Sub olea pacis” for the coron ation celebrations in Prague in 1723, but his music did not appeal widely, not least, no doubt, because of the influence of Fux on his style. lncidentally, Zelenka was appointed Director of Church Music in 1729, and Court Church Composer in 1735. This explains his large literary bequest of movements for Masses, liturgical vocal music, oratorios, cantatas, motets etc., which has still not been fully explored. Although Zelenka’s own career suffered on account of Hasse’s meteoric rise as an opera composer, yet he was sufficiently recept ive to new artistic trends to employ the Neapoiitan style in his works, for example in his oratorio ”Gesù al Calvario”. He managed to come to terms with the Vivaldi cult as encourag ed in Dresden by the composer Johann Georg Pisendel, and also with the influence of the style galant as typified by the works of his colleague Johann David Heinichen.
Zelenka’s works, which are generally guided by tradition, reflect these varied influences; even so, his idiom is quite different from that of his contemporaries. While their orchestral compositions were predominantly suites based on well-tried forms, Zelenka wrote, in addition to concertos and symphonies (overtures), so-called capricci and finally a concertante work in three sections for seven parts, to which he gave the mysterious name of "Hipocondrie",
Although with its slow introduction, fugato middle section and slow ending, this composition is akin to the French overture, it is only in the central section that Zelenka allows all instruments their share in the strict but Well distributed imitatory part-writing, without losing track of the harmonies amid the welter of modulations. Incidentally, the description "a 7 concertanti” does not refer to passages with special emphasis on the soloists, but to the totality of the obbligato parts, in which Zelenka, in the manner of the Concerto grosso, makes a distinction between the small solo group of the concertino and the whole ensemble, which is used to achieve dense harmonic (i.e. modulating) effects in the slow final section. The name ”Hipocondrie” continues to elude explanation. Is it possible that the composer had in mind the hypersensibility of the texture, consisting as it does of oboes, bassoon and strings? There is no reliable information on this point.
Just as cryptic a title would also be appropriate to the six "Sonate a due Hautbois et Basson”, the last three of which are even ”a due bassi obligati”. According to C. Schoenbaum, Zelenka attempted in these works to explore the furthest extent of the contrapuntal capacity of the Sonata da chiesa, the church sonata with four alternating slow and fast movements. The title of the collection makes it quite clear that the upper parts of Sonata No. 2 in G minor, which are written predominantly in an imitatory and contrapuntal style, are intended for oboes. The bassoon is part of the "due bassi obligati”, since the two bass parts are virtually identical. However, in the more transparent sections the bassoon is accorded an enhanced position as a solo instrument, from which one may conclude that what Zelenka had in mind with these six sonatas for wind instruments, which are as much of a joy to play as they are skillfully constructed, was not three but four soloists.
Like ”Hipocondrie", the Overture in F in five movements, a suite in disguise, dated ”a Praga l723”, is written in seven parts. Uniquely for Zelenka, the French overture-suite pattern is followed with virtually no modification at all. Only the close thematic links between the slow outer sections and the fugato central part disturb the formal scheme of the extensive first movement. The second movement, an aria in 3/4 time in A minor, contrasts with the first in that it is only scored for strings, but in the two movements which follow Zelenka makes extensive use of the opportunities provided by a wider range of sonorities. A Siciliano in B flat major, in 12/8 time, containing unexpected harmonic modulations, is followed by a concluding Folia, the melody of which is reminiscent of Czech folk dances.

Gerhard Wienke
Translation: Lindsay Craig

Nikolaus Harnoncourt (1929-2016)
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