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Brentner, Jan Josef Ignác Sacred works
Rediscovering unjustly forgotten composers and their music is a fine experience and adventure at the same time, and this CD ...
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- Author: Brentner, Jan Josef Ignác
- Catalog number: 144
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Brentner, Jan Josef Ignác Sacred works
Rediscovering unjustly forgotten composers and their music is a fine experience and adventure at the same time, and this CD offers music-lovers both. J. J. I. Brentner (1689 - 1742) was one of the most successful Czech composers of his time (measured by the number of compositions published in print).
|2||Perfice gressus meos||2:27|
|5||Gloria et honore||4:39|
|6||Motetto pro defunctis „Himmelssonne“||8:58|
|8||Motetto pro defunctis „Jesu, du mein treus Hirt“||5:09|
|9||Plaude exulta cor meum||4:20|
|11||Motetto pro defunctis „O Jesu mein“||6:59|
|15||Quam suavis amor||6:46|
Gabriela Eibenová - soprano /1-16/
Eva Rukavičková - soprano /2,3,5,7,10,12-14,l6/
Hasan El Dunia - alto /2, 3,5-8, 10, 12-14, l6/
Marta Fadljevičová - alto /2, 3,5 ,7 ,10, 12-14, l6/
Jaroslav Březina - tenor /188.8.131.52.10.12-14, 16/
Martin Prokeš - tenor /2.3.5-8,10,12-l4,l6/
Matthias Gerchen - bass /2, 3, 5-8, 10, 12-14, l6/
Marián Krečík - bass /2, 3, 5, 7,10, 12-l4, l6/
Rediscovering unjustly forgotten composers and their music is a fine experience and adventure at the same time, and this CD offers music-lovers both. J. J. I. Brentner (1689 - 1742) was one of the most successful Czech composers of his time (measured by the number of compositions published in print). Thanks to missionaries, his music got as far as South America only to lapse into total oblivion after his death for more than a quarter of a millennium. The demands that his beautiful melodies place on performers gives one an idea of how accomplished the instrumentalists and singers of his time must have been. Our CD (world recording premiere) was made using period musical instruments in Baroque surroundings by the group Ensemble Inégal specializing, in particular, in historically enlightened interpretation of 17th- and 18-th century music. Please, accept our invitation to the realm of lovely sounds and joy of discovering the as yet unknown.
Praeclarus componista Jan Josef Ignac Brentner
Having one's compositions put out in print has always been one of the criteria of the author's success, indeed, a significant condition for the particular work's propagation and popularity. The most successful domestic composers of the former half of the 18th century included Jan Josef Ignac Brentner, who had four collections of works published in print in Jiří Laboun's printing works in Prague. There is a wealth of evidence - beginning with period inventories and ending with works preserved in home and foreign collections to this day. The composer himself, however, soon lapsed into oblivion. Hence, in the early 19th century, music lexicographer Jan Bohumil Dlabač was able to mention, apart from a few of Brentner's compositions, only the fact that thanks to his printed work the composer was well known at home as well as abroad. Even today, we know only little more about his life.
Jan Josef Ignac Brentner was born in 1689 in the Czech village of Dobřany as a third child in the local mayor's family. Nothing much is known about his education or career, though it seems obvious that he spent part of his life in Prague. A resident of its Lesser Town, he composed motets in praise of the deceased for a spiritual fraternity attached to the local St. Nicholas' Church, and concertos for the Count Thun orchestra. He was also active in the Old Town church of St. Francis of Seraphim, then a famous centre of music, if, indeed, we can trust the scribe of one of Brentner's arias, who flatteringly described the composer as Capellae Magistro virtuosissimo at the church of the Knights of the Cross. It seems likely that Brentner stayed in Prague just at the time his works were issued in print.
The first to appear - in 1716 - was a collection of spiritual arias Harmonica duodecatometria ecclesiastica op. 1. In these twelve da-capo arias composed on Latin texts by an unknown author, Brentner displayed his intimate familiarity with the Italian style of composition as well as a great deal of melodic inventiveness. This gave him a prominent position among Czech authors dedicated to writing spiritual music of this kind such as Josef Antonín Plánický - to name at least one. Most of the arias are intended for soprano, and the make-up of the instrumental accompaniment ranges from the usual solo instrument to a string ensemble. One of the most impressive in the collection is aria No. 10 Desidero te with its remarkable virtuoso part of the solo violin.
Offertoria solenniora op. 2 published in 1717 are dedicated to Raymund Wilfert, abbot of the Premonstatensian monastery of Teplá referred to in the dedication as the author's "protector and patron". These are six compositions for a choir, two violins and bass. The composer evidently strove to make the collection as variegated as possible, which is why he made accomplished use of different styles for each offertory. Thus, Laudate dominum is a refined example of the art of counterpoint with the instruments partly developed colla parte with the voices, while Jubilate Deo, Cantemus Domino and Gloria et honore coronasti are, in contrast, composed in a modern concerto style with a ritornello structure of the movement on a da-capo groundplan; and last, the two-part Perfice gressus meos or Benedicite gentes with a tenor solo and the final fugue show the form of a multi-part motet composed in a mixed style.
Brentner's third printed collection entitled Laudes matutinae has not been preserved to this day, and so was long regarded as lost also his collection of instrumental works Horae pomeridianae op. 4 of the year 1720. This is the first ever piece of chamber music published in Prague as a fine example of the composer's instrumental works. Predominant in Brentner's music preserved in manuscript is spiritual music, in particular: psalms, vespers, litanies, arias and masses. Of particular value are the already mentioned motets for the deceased composed for the spiritual fraternity The Lord's Mortal Anxiety associated with the Jesuit college of the Lesser Town of Prague. Only four of the total number of sixteen have remained preserved. These compositions on German texts were designed for regular requiem services. As such, they were an important part of the activities of this significant fraternity, significant enough to have a crypt of their own in the newly erected St. Nicholas' church.
Brentner seems to have been in quite a close contact with the Jesuits in particular. Thus, preserved in Dresden, is a caligraphic copy of Brentner's Litanies of Loreto which newcoming Jesuit Pater Johannes Frantze dedicated, as a show of thanks, to his predecessor in the position of head of the local choralists. Thanks to Jesuit missionaries, Brentner's works were well known as far away as South America, particularly in missions on the territory of today's Bolivia. Incidentally, Brentner's most favourite offertory Cantemus Domino is one of the composer's only two works to have been recorded on compact disks - both recorded as compositions from South American Jesuit missions by local music ensembles. There is not much that we know of the life story of their author. While he may have spent some time abroad, he cannot have got as far as his compositions. In the end, he did come back to his native Dobřany, but nobody knows when. Only a laconic entry in the local parish registry tells us that this invents et praeclarus componista (bachelor and remarkable composer) got accidentally drowned in the river in 1742.
The vocal and instrumental group Ensemble Inégal have been appearing before music-loving audiences since the year 2000 with their authentic period rendering of 17th to 20th-century music at a growing number of concerts given at music festivals in this country and abroad, including Spain, Latvia or Hungary.They have a record of co-operation with prominent music celebrities such as, e.g., the British conductor Andrew Parrott in 2001. Their CD of Dvorak's Mass in D major (The Lužany Mass) published in 2002 proved to be quite a success. The ensemble is headed by organist and conductor Adam Viktora.
Adam Viktora (b. 1973) is a graduate of the Conservatoire of Plzeň (western Bohemia) and the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. As an organist, conductor or choirmaster he has taken part in a number of music festivals in the Czech Republic and abroad. His concert
appearances have taken him to most of the countries of Europe. Much of his interest is centered on historical organs and on efforts aimed at salvaging and promoting them. He is noted for his active participation in the international project "Organ as a European Cultural Value". Since 1998, Mr. Viktora has been an organ teacher at the Plzeň Conservatoire. He is the founder and artistic director of the Ensemble Inégal.
Devoted mainly to concert activities, soprano Gabriela Eibenová is often invited to appear with early music ensembles (Musica Florea, Collegium Marianum, Arte dei Suonatori, Orquesta Barroca de Sevilla); she has given concerts with such orchestras as the Czech Philharmonic or Südwestfunk Baden-Baden as well as guest performances with Czech theatre companies in Liberec, Plzeň, and the State Opera Prague. She has made recordings for Czech Radio and Television, and her voice can be enjoyed on thirteen compact discs. She is a co-founder of the Ensemble Inégal association.