Zelenka: Responsoria Pro Hebdomada Sancta

Album cover art for upc 4015023242593
Label: ACCENT
Catalog: ACC24259
Format: CD

Collegium 1704 & Collegium Vocale 1704, Vaclav Luks

Jan Dismas Zelenka: Responsoria Pro Hebdomada Sancta ZWV55 / Lamentatio Ieremiae Prophetae ZWV 53

Since early mediaeval times, the characteristic church services held in the Catholic Church have incorporated the prayer times of the Officium on Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday, particularly the Matins. These services were originally held in the early hours of the morning but were in later centuries transferred to the afternoon of the previous day. Each of these Matins consisted of three nocturnes in which Psalm recitations alternate with readings from the Lamentations of the prophet Jeremiah and texts by the theological teacher St Augustine and responses. Over the course of time, the settings of these texts became progressively more elaborate in their polyphony. The popularity of these Matins in Catholic Europe, particularly up to the end of the eighteenth century, was however not limited to their frequently rich musical design; the names given to these services such as “Pumpermetten” or “Finstermetten” accompanied by the customs of hammering on the church pews or the gradual extinguishing of the candles are testament to a great folk tradition. August the Strong’s conversion to Catholicism created a demand for ceremonial church services to cele-brate Holy Week at the court chapel in Dresden and Jan Dismas Zelenka was commissioned to compose the appropriate music. Zelenka wrote six Lamentationes Jeremia Prophetae ZWV 53 (of which only the first lamentation is included on this CD) and the 27 Responsoria pro hebdomada sancta ZWV 55.The Collegium 1704 and Collegium Vocale 1704 under the direction of Vaclav Luks have produced a pair of extensive CDs with the firs complete recording of the nine nocturnes of Holy Week within their liturgical context with all lessons in church modes, the Gregorian antiphons and the entire collection of 27 responses from the Responsoria pro hebdomada sancta ZWV 55, conjuring up a comprehensive impression of the celebrations of Holy Week at the Dresden court chapel during the 1720s.

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