Jan Dismas Zelenka’s ‘Dixit Dominus’ settings within the context of the Dresden Hofkapelle
Driscoll, Michael Thomas
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Bohemian composer Jan Dismas Zelenka (1679–1745) composed forty-one Vespers works for performances at services of the Dresden Hofkapelle. Zelenka maintained an inventory of sacred works in his possession, which he titled ‘Inventarium rerum Musicarum Ecclesiae servientium.’ Zelenka categorized his psalm settings into two collections: thirty-three ‘Psalmi Vespertini totius anni’ and eight ‘Psalmi varii…Separatim Scripti.’ Together these psalm settings comprise four cycles of Vespers music, each of which begin with a setting of the psalm Dixit Dominus. Of the four Dixit Dominus settings (ZWV 66–69), Dixit Dominus c.1728 (ZWV 69) is now missing and Dixit Dominus 1726 (ZWV 68) was published by Carus-Verlag in 1984. The remaining two settings, Dixit Dominus c.1725 (ZWV 66) and Dixit Dominus c.1728 (ZWV 67), are presented here in critical editions. The three extant Dixit Dominus settings are analyzed from the standpoints of composition style and structure. Zelenka’s Inventarium also lists more than eighty similar Vespers works by other composers, under the heading ‘Psalmi Variorum Authorum.’ These works, which are mostly by composers of Italian and Bohemian origins, were edited and adapted by Zelenka for use at the Dresden Hofkapelle. No critical editions of these works are known to exist. Zelenka’s inventory of ‘Psalmi Variorum Authorum’ lists ten Dixit Dominus settings, of which three survive in Dresden. The three surving Dixit Dominus settings, attributed to Pitoni, Fabri, and Inge[g]nieri, are presented here with two critical editions of each: one with Zelenka’s edits included and one with Zelenka’s edits removed. In addition to an analysis of the compositions style and structure of each work, Zelenka’s approach to editing and adapting these works for use at the Dresden Hofkapelle is provided. Finally, the performance practice of the basso continuo group in Dresden is considered, with particular emphasis on Zelenka’s method of notation for this group. A select group of Zelenka’s autograph scores are used to create a set of guidelines that will assist modern editors in interpreting Zelenka’s intentions for the basso continuo group.