15. června  2015 v 09:53  rubrika: Authors

Zach Jan (1699, 1713 - 1773)

Jan Zach belongs among the many Czech musicians who in the first half of the 18th century set off beyond the borders of the then Austria-Hungary and won considerable renown in their new professional positions.

There is not much verified information available about the life of Jan Zach, especially about the period before his departure abroad. His life and work remain an unsatisfactorily explored field of our musical history that is still waiting for a modern comprehensive study that would take the most recent findings into account. This contrasts somewhat with the fact that since the beginning of the 20th century Jan Zach has been considered a highly regarded figure of European importance, a direct precursor of the Viennese Class 

Jan Zach probably received his musical education in Čelákovice from the local schoolmaster Josef Hayer, who also instructed Viktorin Brixi, a member of the Brixi family. Later on he moved to Prague where he continued his education and performed as a violinist and organist under the direction of Šimon Brixi at the University Church: the Týn Church of the Virgin Mary and at St. Martin’s. He grew up and developed musically in the same environment as the members of the Benda and Brixi families. In Prague he could also meet Matěj Černohorský. The preserved sources have proved that in 1732 Zach was appointed organist at the Convent of the Hospitallers, at the Church of St. Simon and Juda. In 1737 he applied for the same position at St. Vitus’s, but without success, and only a few years later he appeared in Mayence. Here, at the Prince-Elector’s court, he started in the position of Kapellmeister (1745 – 50). During this period (in 1747) he undertook a two-month journey to Bohemia. Later on he was, because of his unyielding nature, dismissed from his post as Kapellmeister, and in 1756 he left Mayence for good. From that point on, he travelled around Europe and performed at various courts in Germany, Austria and Italy. He died, while on a journey, in 1773 in Ellwagen. 

Through his work, Zach contributed considerably to the development of European music. His legacy assumes a position in between two epochs, because his music unites the typical features of the late Baroque and the nascent era of Classicism. This concerns above all the search for themes of a new kind that are based on a symmetrical structure and result in a different, novel way of thematic treatment and the overall construction of a piece of music. These themes are written in homophonic style that was soon accepted by Czech musical circles. Counterpoint is used only scarcely. The novel musical passages are characterized by distinctive sound contrasts; dynamic or rhythmical twists and turns occur within short two-, four- or eight-bar groups. Solo parts of concertos become gradually more and more elaborate with growing emphasis on their virtuosity. 

Compositions by Jan Zach published in Czech Radio:
Concerto per il Cembalo obligato, Violino Primo, Violino Secondo, Viola e Violoncello GS C 17 - Jan Zach 


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