The collection of six sonatas by Jan Dismas Zelenka is composed – with the exception of the third sonata that includes the violin – for a pair of oboes, bassoon, and basso continuo. In the context of Baroque chamber music, this represents a true rarity. Here, Zelenka elevates the sonata da camera to a genre of enormous technical difficulty for the performers, making great demands especially on the wind players, and the composer confronts his listeners with a most intimate personal statement.
Zelenka’s sonatas are exceptional works in the repertoire of Baroque chamber music, but because of their great difficulty, they appear only occasionally in concert programmes. Recordings of these sonatas are equally rare. The last complete recording of all six sonatas on historical instruments was made over twenty years ago by Ensemble Zefiro in 1993, so this new recording by the Prague-based ensemble Collegium 1704, known for their excellent Zelenka interpretations and recordings, has been eagerly awaited!
Recorded: 3-5 March and 8-10 July 2016, Church of St Simon and Jude in Prague (Czech Republic)