- Thomas Kohlhase zur Person
- Paul Horn zur Person
- Jan Dismas Zelenka zur Person
JAN DISMAS ZELENKA: Missa Gratias agimus tibi
Bohemian-born Jan Dismas Zelenka (1679-1745) a student of Fux, was court music director at Dresden. His output of church music, which includes over 20 Masses, has recentlv begun to be studied, and editions of several of his Masses are newly published or being prepared. The “Missa Gratias agimus tibi” is a festive cantata Mass, divided into 17 movements and scored for a large ensemble SATB chorus, SSAATB soloists, two flutes, two oboes, four trumpets, two violins, viola, and basso continuo with cello, bass, bassoon, and organ). Completed in 1730, this late-Baroque Mass shows Zelenka to be a composer of distinct originality and inventiveness, possessing a wealth of ideas. The title “Gratias agimus tibi” refers to the unusual setting of that text (from the second movement of the Gloria) for soprano solo accompanied by two obbligato flutes and a high bass line provided by unison violins and violas. Zelenka is a master of contrapuntal writing, which he introduces in large measure at the traditional points such as the conclusion of the Gloria and Credo as well as other places, e.g., an elaborate fugal structure in the Kyrie. He is equally at home in the homophonic idiom, as seen in the first section of the Credo, where a vigorous ostinato in the strings propels chordaI textures in the voices. The original source of this Mass, the composer’s “draft” autograph score, presents numerous problems which the editor has handled with great care and skill. Kohlhase provides an extensive historical introduction and performance suggestions based on information derived from relevant sources and performance practice in the Dresden court.
The critical notes are especially useful because the editor not only gives the original reading, but, in many cases, explains the process of reasoning that led to his final decision about a given item in the score. For a choral group that has the necessary resources, the “Missa Gratias agimus tibi” would make a fine addition to the “standard repertoire.”
Jane Schatkin Hettrick
Quelle: The American Organist 3/93, S. 75