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Bachwoche Stuttgart

Bachwoche Stuttgart © photo hs
Bachwoche Stuttgart

Our postponed 2021 Bach Week has not been lost, it will take place in spring 2022 and is devoted to “In dialogue: J.S. Bach and Jan Dismas Zelenka”. With our master classes, workshop concerts and discussion formats, we attract young professionals from all over the world to Stuttgart, and you will be amazed how young and fresh Baroque music sounds during this week! The Bach Week, bridging creatively between a musical workshop and small Baroque festival, presents the music of Johann Sebastian Bach every year in an eloquent dialogue with works by other composers.

This year it is “Bach in Dialogue with Jan Dismas Zelenka”. Bach knew Zelenka (1679–1745) personally through his close contact with the Dresden court ensemble, where Zelenka was employed as a double bass player. In fact, after the death of the Kapellmeister David Heinichen in 1729, Zelenka even became its director, but in 1733 he was displaced by Johann Adolph Hasse as the new court Kapellmeister. Instead, Zelenka was given the title “Kirchen-Compositeur” in 1735. A considerable quantity of church music by him survives, some of which still deserves to be rediscovered. Bach himself held Zelenka’s music in high regard.

The opening concert of this year’s Bach Week takes place on J.S. Bach’s 337th birthday.  On this occasion Akademie Director Hans-Christoph Rademann and the Gaechinger Cantorey with specially chosen soloists perform a magnificent programme of birthday cantatas and an orchestral suite by the birthday boy.

Six days later, in the final concert of the Bach Week, soloists from the master classes and the Young Stuttgart Bach Ensemble (JSB Ensemble), conducted by Hans-Christoph Rademann, present two Masses by Bach and Zelenka alongside each other: Bach’s “Lutheran” Mass in G major BWV 236, which he wrote around 1738/39, and set as a Missa brevis with just the Kyrie and Gloria. And Zelenka’s Missa Dei Filii ZWV 20, written just a few years later (1740/41), which is also a Missa brevis.

Between the birthday concert and the final concert, the moderated workshop concerts with the Young Stuttgart Bach Ensemble set in motion a musical dialogue between Bach and Zelenka in contemplative juxtaposition. These feature Bach’s Mass in B minor in its original form, which he composed as a Missa brevis in 1733 for Dresden, Zelenka’s Missa gratias agimus tibi written three years earlier, two Magnificats by him, plus Bach’s famous Magnificat from the 1730s. Discussions with well-known musicologists, journalists and musicians complement this great dialogue in music, and make the whole Bach Week into a fascinating exchange between “Bach and Zelenka”.

JSB Ensemble © photo hs
JSB Ensemble

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