9th Biennial Conference on Baroque Music


The Royal Polish and Electoral Saxon Court and State Calendars 1728–1745

Janice B Stockigt

With few exceptions, the Königl. Polnischer und Churfürstl. Sächsischer Hof- und Staats-Calender (Leipzig, from 1728) was issued annually. These publications contribute to current understanding of Lutheran and Catholic life, liturgy, and music, especially in Dresden.

‘Galla-Tage’ lists and reports of courtly activities published in the calendars have frequently been used as primary sources—relating the composition of secular music for birth- and name-days of the ruling family (including works written by Bach for performance during visits of the Dresden court to Leipzig) and to explaining the style, length, and orchestration of certain liturgical works composed for the Dresden Catholic court church.

Nevertheless, little or no reference has been made to the monthly calendars appearing at the opening of each edition—the closely related ‘Verbessert.’ (Lutheran) and Gregorian (Catholic) calendars, and the Julian calendar. These represent resources of importance to understanding the annual cycles of Dresden society—Lutheran and Catholic—and the place of liturgical music within that society. The Gregorian calendars demonstrates that plenary indulgences had been re-introduced into Saxony; they illuminate the role of court composers and musicians in the confessional displays by the Royal Polish and Saxon Electoral court; they reveal more fully the use of music in the proselytizing activities of the Dresden Jesuits. Moreover, the purpose of many musical works composed for the Dresden Catholic court church during the era of Heinichen, Ristori, Zelenka, and Hasse is more clearly defined.

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Last updated on 22 March 2000 by Yo Tomita