After arriving in Prague in 1724, Jan Zach initiated
studies with Bohuslav Cernohorsky and accepted several
musical posts, including those as violinist at St.
Gallus and at St. Martin and then those as organist at
St. Martin, at the monastic church of the Merciful
Brethren, and at the Minorite chapel of St. Ann.
Following various travels, he was appointed
Kapellmeister at the court of the Prince-Elector of
Mainz. His compositions, many of which were
rhythmically influenced by Czech dances, include
masses, requiems, arias, Misereres, vespers, hymns,
sinfonias, partitas, sonatas, preludes, fugues, and
concertos. He also worked as a music teacher at the
Jesuit school in Munich and spent the majority of his
later years traveling throughout Europe. Zach's
compositions are almost exclusively recorded under the
Arte Nova label, especially his vocal and choral works.
His Miserere in C minor and his Offertorium, Terra
tremit in C were both recorded in the 1980s, while his
Missa Solemnis in D and Stabat Mater in D minor were
recorded in 1995 and 1997, respectively.
One of Zach's masses was performed at the coronation of
the Emperor Franz I. He traveled for a brief period in
Italy the influence of which appears in his music
particularly the instrumental sinfonias and concertos
which were set in three movements employing parallel
sixths and thirds, Alberti bass, and occasionally heavy
ornamentation. For various conflicts in personality
Zach was dismissed in 1756. from then until the end of
his life he traveled, performed, sold copies of his
music and taught. The exceptional range in his music is
probably indicative of his own complicated personality.
Resulting musical compositions range from the
melancholy to the vital. Zach wrote instrumental and
sacred compositions which included characteristics of
Czech dance rhythms, homophony, and polyphony. The
"Requiem in C minor" employed considerable use of
chromaticism. Zach's instrumental sinfonias and
concertos were often scored for strings and wind
instruments alike in which he set the works with the
aforementioned Italian characteristics.
Although originally composed for Pipe Organ, I created
this Interpretation of the Prelude & Fugue in C Minor
(KomZ A4) for Woodwind Quartet (Flute, Oboe, Bb
Clarinet & Bassoon).
Download the sheet music here: