Jan Anselm Fridrich (?-1769) - Musica in luctu sive piae considerationes in amarissimam Christi passionem
František Ignác Antonín Tůma (1704-1774) - Stabat Mater in g
Musica Florea, Collegium Floreum, Marek Štryncl
wolrd premiere recordings
Music and the Production of Oratorios at the Monastery in Želiv
In the eighteenth century, the Želiv monastery of the Order of Canons Regular of Prémontré was one of the most important spiritual and cultural centres in the borderlands of Bohemia and Moravia. There, music was an essential part of the liturgy and other ceremonies, including those of a secular character. To a large extent, music was performed by pupils at the Latin grammar school founded at the monastery in 1652. The students there were expected to have musical ability even before their admission to the school, and those abilities were further developed under the supervision of specially chosen teachers (cantor musicae) who were usually members of the order. The youngest pupils regularly sang soprano or alto at worship services at the monastery’s Church of the Nativity of Our Lady, while some of the older pupils served as instrumentalists as well.
The quality of the music at the Želiv monastery is perhaps best documented by its preserved music collection, which now contains, if we set aside a few liturgical books (antiphonaries, hymn books etc.), more than 660 compositions from the years between 1707 and 1858. The bulk of the collection consists of compositions from the latter half of the eighteenth century, including many works by important Czech and foreign composers such as A. Boroni, F. X. Brixi, C. Ditters von Dittersdorf, B. Galuppi, C. W. Gluck, J. A. Hasse, J. Lohelius-Oehlschlägel, V. Mašek, J. Mysliveček, J. J. Ryba, A. Reichenauer, and J. A. Sehling. The most valuable compositions include a unique set of cantatas titled Cithara Nova (1707) by Josef Leopold Václav Dukát (1684–1717), who served in various musical capacities at the monastery during the last years of his life. The collection mostly contains liturgical works, which cover virtually the whole church year, as well as opera arias that were used at various ceremonial worship services, but with new Latin texts. The few instrumental compositions (symphonies, concertos, divertimentos, partitas) can be connected with musical recreatio, entertainments performed upon the visits of important guests, celebrating the abbots’ name day or birthday, feasts, or purely for the entertainment of the brethren.
Another of the traditions at Želiv, of course, was the performing of lengthy Passion oratorios, designated as oratorium musicum or opera passionis. One of them was performed in 1764 as part of the Good Friday services. The work’s full title is Musica in luctu sive piae considerationes in amarissimam Christi passionem ex prophetarum Oraculis extractae et sacro die Parasceves in Monasterio Fontis B. V. Mariae ad Zaram post solis occasum ad sepulcrum Domini auri et audiendum: Menti ad conteplandum Oratorio musico praepositae (Music of Sorrow or Pious Meditation on the bitter suffering of Christ, selected from the books of the prophets and performed on the holy day of Good Friday at the monastery at the Fountain of the Blessed Virgin Mary after the setting of the sun at the Lord’s Tomb, to be seen and heard for reflection and contemplation). As the title page tells us, the work was not originally performed in Želiv, but instead at the Cistercian monastery in Žďár nad Sázavou, which at the least equalled the Želiv monastery with respect to the producing of oratorios.
The oratorio is by Jan Anselm Fridrich, the organist in Žďár, about whose life and works we know almost nothing, unfortunately. In the records of the monastery Žďár archives kept by the archivist Otto Steinbach, only one mention of Fridrich appears: “in 1769, the composer and famed organist Anselm Fridrich died.”
(text from CD booklet, Pavla Semerádová, Arta Records 2019)
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