Zelenka, via Collegium 1704
Jan Dismas Zelenka is a Bohemian Baroque composer who should need little introduction. Unfortunately, this is not the case.
The main reason is that as a Bohemian in Dresden, he spent a large part of his career playing “second fiddle” to his German colleagues.
Nevertheless, his music speaks for itself. Indeed even Jan Sebastian Bach held Zelenka in high esteem.
And while his works were almost forgotten in the 19th century, they are seeing a revival among contemporary Baroque ensembles such as Collegium 1704.
Founded by Václav Luks in 1991, Collegium 1704 regularly performs at international festivals such as Prague Spring, Festival de Musique de La Chaise Dieu, and Arolser Barockfestspiele. This Baroque orchestra uses historical instruments to bring us the music of Zelenka and his contemporaries.
As of 2008, Collegium 1704 has been collaborating with Dresdener Kammerchor and travels regularly to Dresden. Their current project is a concert series called Musical Bridge Prague-Dresden which ties together the rich cultural heritage of both cities.
The unifying element is Zelenka.
This Saturday (Nov 17) at the Church of Sts Simon and Jude they will perform their Prague Vespers program featuring music that was heard in Prague churches during the first half of the 18th century. You can look forward to the works of Caldara, Lotti, Vivaldi and, of course, Zelenka.
– Frank and Hana Trollman
Photo Credits: Top: Collegium 1704; Bottom: Miroslav Setnička