Jan Dismas Zelenka, 1679-1745


Selected Recordings

Symphonia in A minor

Capriccio II

Il Diamante

Selected Sheet Music


Source: IMSLP.org

Showcase Piece

Miserere I

Notes and Commentary

Jan Dismas Zelenka, also known as Johann Dismas Zelenka, was the most important Czech Baroque composer. His music is admired for its harmonic invention and counterpoint.

Zelenka’s pieces are characterized by very daring compositional structure, with a highly spirited harmonic invention and perfection of the art of counterpoint. His works are often virtuosic and difficult to perform, but always fresh and surprising, with sudden turns of harmony. His writing for bass instruments in particular is far more demanding than that of other composers of his era.—Excerpted from Wikipedia

Books and Music

Selected Books

Jan Dismas Zelenka: A Bohemian Musician at the Court of Dresden
Oxford Univ. Press, 2001
Janice B. Stockigt
$166.70 on Amazon


“Stockigt’s lively discussion of Zelenka’s music is illuminating and wide-ranging. Her judgement is fair, her conclusions well-balanced and supported by generous musical illustration.”—BBC Music Magazine on Amazon

Selected Music

zelenka3 Trio Sonatas (1999), 2-CD set

zelenka4 Missa Votiva Zwv.18 (2008), 1 CD

zelenka5 Orchestral Works (2003), 5-CD set

More Jan Dismas Zelenka music

Complete Works

Sacred music
The most appreciated of Zelenka’s sacred works are probably his masses, above all his Missa Purificationis (this is the last mass to include brass instruments) and his final five pieces, ZWV 17–21, called “High Mass” compositions, written from 1736 until 1741, considered as Zelenka’s compositional peak. The last three were also called “Missae ultimae” (Last Masses). The following list contains only the most important sacred works, that have been sufficiently explored to date.

Masses and requiems

  • Missa Sancti Spiritus
  • Missa Sancti Josephi
  • Missa Purificationis Beatae Virginis Mariae
  • Missa Sanctissimae Trinitatis
  • Missa Votiva
  • Missa Dei Patris
  • Missa Dei Filii
  • Missa Omnium Sanctorum
  • Requiem in C Minor
  • Requiem in D Minor


  • Il Serpente di Bronzo
  • Gesù al Calvario
  • I penitenti al sepolchro del Redentore


  • Litaniae de Venerabili Sacramento
  • Litaniae Lauretanae
  • Litaniae Lauretanae “Consolatrix afflictorum”
  • Litaniae Lauretanae “Salus infirmorum”
  • Litaniae Omnium Sanctorum
  • Litaniae Xaverianae

Psalms and hymn settings

  • Dixit Dominus
  • Confitebor tibi Domine
  • In exitu Israel
  • Lauda Jerusalem
  • Laudate pueri
  • Ave maris stella in D Minor
  • Chvalte Boha silného
  • Ave Regina coelorum
  • Regina coeli
  • Salve Regina

Other liturgical and spiritual works

  • Te Deum in D Major (2 settings)
  • Magnificat in C Major and D Major
  • Miserere in D Minor and C minor
  • Lamentationes Ieremiae Prophetae
  • XXVII Responsoria pro hebdomada

Secular works
Zelenka composed only a few extensive vocal-instrumental pieces on secular themes, but one of them – Sub olea pacis et palma virtutisMelodrama de St. Wenceslao (1723) – not only represents one of the high points in baroque music, but transcends it, as with many others of Zelenka’s works. It is a monumental opus with aspects of melodrama, oratory and contemporary opera, composed for the coronation of Charles VI by the Czech king and celebrating the memory of the greatest Czech saint and patron of Bohemia, prince St. Wenceslaus (Václav), one of the founders of the Czech state.

Vocal-instrumental works

  • Sub olea pacis et palma virtutis (conspicua orbi regia Bohemiae Corona – Melodrama de Sancto Wenceslao)
  • Il Diamante

Instrumental works

  • Trio or Quartet Sonatas Nos. 1–6
  • Capriccios Nos. 1–5
  • Concerto à 8 Concertanti
  • Hipocondrie à 7 Concertanti
  • Overture à 7 Concertanti
  • Simphonie à 8 Concertanti—Excerpted from Wikipedia

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