Bach / Zelenka: Masterpieces of sacred music

Saturday 27 January 2018 – 7pm

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) / Jan Dismas Zelenka (1679-1745) 

Masterpieces of sacred music

The radiance of trumpets, the rhythm of drums and choral virtuosity will illuminate the program of this festive concert.


At the beginning of the 18th century, composers from Central Europe traveled to Naples, Florence, Venice, Vienna, Prague, Dresden, Leipzig and Hamburg, merging catholic and protestant, German and Italian influences. Religious music at the prestigious catholic Court of Saxe in Dresden was marked in the years 1720-1750 by the exceptional presence of Jan Dismas Zelenka (1679-1745), and also by Italian catholic influences (Leo, Conti) and German protestant composition (Bach). The two major European styles met in Dresden, where Zelenka magnificently fused and exalted them. Born in Bohemia, he became Master of Music at the Dresden court in 1719. He brought catholic religious music to new heights of evocative beauty that placed him at the level of his contemporaries, Bach and Handel. His Litaniae Lauretanae require great virtuosity from choir and orchestra and also offer soloists a monument of expressivity.

Leonardo Leo (1694-1744), a major opera composer, also created religious music for the Royal Chapel in Naples, and published in 1740 a splendid Dixit Dominus of considerable proportions, with two choirs, built on a strong counterpoint that structures the work.

The Florentine Francesco Conti (1681-1732) was called to Vienna at the Habsburg Court in 1701. He composed major operas and produced works for the Court’s main celebrations and for the Carnival. His resounding secular cantata Fra cetre, e fra trombe illustrates the glory of the Habsburgs “with lyres and trumpets”, in a dazzling style defying the greatest baroque compositions of his time!

Finally Bach (1685-1750) was the herald of German protestant music during his bountiful years in Leipzig. His sacred cantata Nun ist das Heil und die Kraft, an isolated piece from a lost work, is undoubtedly his most extraordinary contrapuntal chorale, with its extraordinary dynamics: all of Bach’s genius in less than 4 minutes! The masterfully written cantata O ewiges Feuer celebrates God with the splendor of a Magnificat.

Václav Luks who dazzled Versailles with Biber’s Missa Salisburgensis and recently with Vivaldi’s opera Arsilda passionately supports this Mitteleuropa repertoire, rediscovering its masterpieces with his elite musicians. Look forward to a magnificent concert…



Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) / Jan Dismas Zelenka (1679-1745) 
Masterpieces of sacred music

Leonardo Leo
Dixit Dominus

Francesco Bartolomeo Conti
Cantate Fra cetre, e fra trombe

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Cantate Nun ist das Heil und die Kraft BWV 50

Jan Dismas Zelenka (1679-1745)
Litaniae Lauretanae Consolatrix afflictorum ZWV 151

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Cantate O ewiges Feuer, o Ursprung der Liebe BWV 34



Hana Blažíková Soprano

Veronica Cangemi Soprano

Kamila Mazalová Alto

Aneta Petrasová Alto

Benedikt Kristjánsson Tenor

Tomáš Šelc Bass


Collegium Vocale 1704

Collegium 1704  

Václav Luks Conductor