Orchestra: Ensemble Inégal. Conductor: Adam Viktora.
Soloists: Makoto Sakurada (T), Václav Čížek (T), Gabriela Eibenová (S), Carlos Mena (A), Roman Hoza (Bar), Lisandro Abadie (B), Marián Krejčík (B)
Year composed: 1733. Recording performance: 2007.
00:00 - Kyrie Eleison
02:02 - Christe Eleison
06:30 - Kyrie Eleison II
08:32 - Gloria in excelsis deo
11:32 - Gratias agimus tibi
15:42 - Qui tollis peccata mundi
17:33 - Qui sedes
18:46 - Quoniam tu solus
19:10 - Quoniam tu solus II
21:10 - Cum Sancto Spiritu
23:07 - Credo in unum deum
29:02 - Sanctus
30:17 - Benedictus
31:37 - Hosanna
33:33 - Agnus Dei
37:32 - Agnus Dei II
37:53 - Dona nobis pacem
Zelenka composed this mass in celebration of the birth of a son (Karl Christian Joseph) on the 13th July 1733 to his employer-sovereign and patron, the Electress of Saxony, Maria Josepha (soon to be crowned Queen consort of Poland). This year was a tumultous and yet great one for the family, seeing the death of Augustus II, and the succession of his son as both Saxon-Elector and Polish King and the successful birth of another son. The mass, in true Baroque symbolic pious fashion, was meant to reflect the offering made, according to scripture, by the Virgin Mary to Simeon in the Temple of Jerusalem 40 days after the birth of Jesus.
The jubilation, happiness and optimism is reflected by Zelenka in this piece. It is truly a stunning musical work, especially considering that it was written within the space of 10 days! It would have been a glorious experience for Maria Josepha, to return to the Dresden chapel for the first time since her childbirth and hear this mass.
The year of 1733 was a crucial year for the Czech composer which had both ups and downs. His hopes for gaining the position 'Kapellmeister' were finally dashed, when the new Elector announced Adolf Hasse for that role. Nevertheless, Zelenka had many opportunities to show his compositional prowess in this year. Hasse spent the whole year abroad busy with his music interests in Italy. Zelenka therefore was given great freedom and responsibility to compose during such an important year for the family, and he did not dissapoint.
As if a reflection of this last triumph whilst in an important composing role, Zelenka never again composed with a brass section (besides from the 1737 serenata 'Il Diamante') or timpanies in his music. Ironically, Hasse's influence prompted Zelenka to increasingly modernise and transform his style (despite already being in his mid 50s!) to great, new and vibrant effect.
....anything you can do, I can do better?
Background Fresco Painting: Andrea Celesti - "The Presentation of Jesus at the Temple" - c.1710
Latin text and translation for the composed mass: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mass_(music)