Jan Dismas Zelenka
http://static.bbci.co.uk/music_clips/2.8.6/img/default_artist_images/classical2.jpg
1679-10-16
https://musicbrainz.org/artist/34a4fc02-82fb-4168-9787-ab5e10a662f2
Jan Dismas Zelenka

Jan Dismas Zelenka Biography (BBC)

Jan Dismas Zelenka was born in Lounovice, not far from Prague, the son of the local organist and choirmaster. It is probable that he was educated at the Jesuit Collegium Clementinum in Prague, and his earliest employment seems to have been in that city as well, but in 1710 he moved to Dresden to join the orchestra of Friedrich August I, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland, as a double bass player.

The Dresden court musical establishment (or Kapelle) was one of the grandest in Europe, and there Zelenka worked alongside other distinguished musicians such as Pisendel, Quantz and Veracini. A further widening of his experience came in 1716, when he was one of four court musicians selected to travel to Italy for a study tour. It is not certain whether or not Zelenka actually made it as far as Italy (unsubstantiated reports claim that he had lessons from Antonio Lotti in Venice and also visited Naples), but it is known that from 1717 to 1719 he was in Vienna, where he studied with Johann Joseph Fux.

On his return to Dresden, Zelenka began to compose on a regular basis for the Electoral Chapel, which was rapidly becoming an important centre for Catholic church music in what was a predominantly Lutheran part of Germany. This work was interrupted for a trip back to Prague in the early 1720s, but taken up again even more keenly on his return; the majority of his surviving works date from this time.

Despite this, he seems to have received little recognition from his employers, gaining no official enhancement to his salary or status even when, following the death of the Kapellmeister Johann David Heinichen in 1729, Zelenka took over many of his duties. Worse still, Zelenka’s hopes of formally succeeding Heinichen were dashed when the younger and more fashionable Johann Adolf Hasse was appointed to the post instead. By the time Zelenka finally got a pay-rise in 1736, interest in church music was waning in Dresden, and in his last years he was a marginalised figure.

Zelenka’s music combines rigorous construction with a distinctive melodic and harmonic individualism, and ranges in tone from high seriousness to quirky humour. His interest in the work of earlier masters such as Palestrina and Frescobaldi was unusual for his time, and his skills in counterpoint won admiration from Bach, yet at the same time he was as responsive as any of his German colleagues to the latest Baroque developments from France and Italy.

Of his personality, we are told by a contemporary that he was ‘a reserved and bigoted Catholic, but also a respectable, quiet, unassuming man, deserving of the greatest respect’.

Profile © Lindsay Kemp, 2004


Jan Dismas Zelenka Performances & Interviews


Jan Dismas Zelenka Tracks

Sort by

Jan Dismas Zelenka
E voi siete d'altri, o labra soavi, ZWV 176
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p02ghfwz.jpg
link
E voi siete d'altri, o labra soavi, ZWV 176
Jan Dismas Zelenka
Te Deum in D major ZWV.146 for chorus and orchestra
http://static.bbci.co.uk/music_clips/2.8.6/img/track_fallback.png
link
Te Deum in D major ZWV.146 for chorus and orchestra
Jan Dismas Zelenka
Missa Dei filii (Missa ultimarum secundat) ZWV.20 for soloists, chorus and orche
http://static.bbci.co.uk/music_clips/2.8.6/img/track_fallback.png
link
Missa Dei filii (Missa ultimarum secundat) ZWV.20 for soloists, chorus and orche
Jan Dismas Zelenka
Overture concertanti in F for 2 violins, 2 oboes, viola, bassoon & continuo
http://static.bbci.co.uk/music_clips/2.8.6/img/track_fallback.png
link
Overture concertanti in F for 2 violins, 2 oboes, viola, bassoon & continuo
Jan Dismas Zelenka
Hipocondrie, ZWV187
http://static.bbci.co.uk/music_clips/2.8.6/img/track_fallback.png
link
Hipocondrie, ZWV187
Jan Dismas Zelenka
Trio Sonata No 3 in B flat major
http://static.bbci.co.uk/music_clips/2.8.6/img/track_fallback.png
link
Trio Sonata No 3 in B flat major
Jan Dismas Zelenka
Missa Nativitatis Domini, ZWV.8
http://static.bbci.co.uk/music_clips/2.8.6/img/track_fallback.png
link
Missa Nativitatis Domini, ZWV.8

Missa Nativitatis Domini, ZWV.8

Singer
Barbora Sojkova
Stanislava Mihalcova
Marta Fadljevicova
Marketa Cukrova
Sylva Cmugrova
Daniela Cermakova
Jaroslav Březina
Cenek Svoboda
Tomas Kral
Jaromir Nosek
Orchestra
Jan Dismas Zelenka
Alma redemptoris Mater; Succure Cadenti; Virgo Prius
http://static.bbci.co.uk/music_clips/2.8.6/img/track_fallback.png
link
Alma redemptoris Mater; Succure Cadenti; Virgo Prius
Jan Dismas Zelenka
http://static.bbci.co.uk/music_clips/2.8.6/img/track_fallback.png
link

Ensemble
L' Arpa Festante Munich
Choir
Marburg Bach Choir
Conductor
Nicolo Sokoli
Last played on
Jan Dismas Zelenka
Suite in F major
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p02ghfwz.jpg
link
Suite in F major
Jan Dismas Zelenka
Trio Sonata in F Major - first movt
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p02vbxy6.jpg
link
Trio Sonata in F Major - first movt
Jan Dismas Zelenka
Overture a 7 in F major ZWV.188
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p02ghfwz.jpg
link
Overture a 7 in F major ZWV.188
Jan Dismas Zelenka
Trio Sonata No. 5 in F major
http://static.bbci.co.uk/music_clips/2.8.6/img/track_fallback.png
link
Trio Sonata No. 5 in F major
Jan Dismas Zelenka
De profundis (Psalm 129) in D minor
http://static.bbci.co.uk/music_clips/2.8.6/img/track_fallback.png
link
De profundis (Psalm 129) in D minor
Jan Dismas Zelenka
1st movement [Allegro] from Sinfonia a 8 Concertanti in A minor (ZWV.189)
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p02gl3w8.jpg
link
1st movement [Allegro] from Sinfonia a 8 Concertanti in A minor (ZWV.189)
Jan Dismas Zelenka
Requiem mass in D major, ZWV.46
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p02gj41x.jpg
link
Requiem mass in D major, ZWV.46
Jan Dismas Zelenka
Sonata No.5 in F major, ZWV181/5
http://static.bbci.co.uk/music_clips/2.8.6/img/track_fallback.png
link
Sonata No.5 in F major, ZWV181/5
Jan Dismas Zelenka
Gloria (excerpt) (Missa Divi Xaverii, ZWV 12)
http://static.bbci.co.uk/music_clips/2.8.6/img/track_fallback.png
link
Gloria (excerpt) (Missa Divi Xaverii, ZWV 12)
Jan Dismas Zelenka
Magnificat anima mea Dominum (Magnificat)
http://static.bbci.co.uk/music_clips/2.8.6/img/track_fallback.png
link
Magnificat anima mea Dominum (Magnificat)
Jan Dismas Zelenka
Missa Divi Xaverii ZWV12
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p02gj41x.jpg
link
Missa Divi Xaverii ZWV12
Jan Dismas Zelenka
Benedictus; Hosanna (Missa Divi Xaverii, ZWV 12)
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p02gj41x.jpg
link
Benedictus; Hosanna (Missa Divi Xaverii, ZWV 12)
Jan Dismas Zelenka
Sanctus (Missa Sanctissimae Trinitatis, ZWV 17)
http://static.bbci.co.uk/music_clips/2.8.6/img/track_fallback.png
link
Sanctus (Missa Sanctissimae Trinitatis, ZWV 17)
Jan Dismas Zelenka
Litaniae di venerabili sacramento
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p0246gfq.jpg
link
Litaniae di venerabili sacramento
Jan Dismas Zelenka
Cum Sancto Spiritu (Missa Dei filii, ZWV 20)
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p02vbxy6.jpg
link
Cum Sancto Spiritu (Missa Dei filii, ZWV 20)
Jan Dismas Zelenka
Capriccio 4 in A major
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p02y4lvm.jpg
link
Capriccio 4 in A major
Jan Dismas Zelenka
Trio Sonata No 4 in G minor (2nd mvt)
http://static.bbci.co.uk/music_clips/2.8.6/img/track_fallback.png
link
Trio Sonata No 4 in G minor (2nd mvt)
Load more tracks

Back to artist