Jan Josef Ignác Brentner

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Jan Josef Ignác Brentner (Johann Joseph Ignaz, surname also spelled Brenntner, Brendner, Brendtner, or Prentner) (November 3, 1689 – June 28, 1742), was a Czech composer of the Baroque era.


Jan Josef Ignác Brentner was born into the family of the mayor of the small town of Dobřany in Western Bohemia. What we know about him comes mostly from time he spent in Prague, from 1717 to about 1720, where he published at least three major volumes of music. Brentner's opus 1 is a collection of 12 sacred arias for voice, strings, and continuo, Harmonica duodecatometria ecclesiastica seu (1717), popular enough to demand a second printing in the 1720s. In addition, Brentner published a collection of six offertories for chorus, strings, and continuo entitled Offertoria solenniora (1717) as his opus 2 and a collection of six church sonatas, Horae pomeridianae seu Concertus cammerales (1720) as his opus 4. If Brentner published an "opus 3," it has never been accounted for. Brentner's patron was Raymond Wilfert, abbot of the Premonstratensian (Norbertine) monastery in Teplá, located in Bohemia but administered out of Austria. Scholars agree that most of Brentner's music was first performed in Teplá under Wilfert's direction, excepting his funeral motets, which were written specifically for the Brotherhood of St. Nicholas Church in Prague. Brentner died in his home town of Dobřany.

Although a great many of Brentner's works are known to be lost, a scattering of manuscript copies survive throughout the Czech lands and a large number of them are located in the Music Archive of the Bendiktinerstift in Göttweig, Austria. Still others have turned up, in modified versions, in Bolivia; no one knows how Brentner's music managed to travel to South America. Registries of lost collections belonging to provincial churches in Eastern Europe bear witness to Brentner's works that are no longer extant; however, the library at Teplá cathedral—the second largest historical library in Bohemia—may contain music by Brentner as yet undiscovered, as its store of music manuscripts remain uninvestigated.

Brentner's music fuses a simple and direct melodic component, reminiscent of contemporary Moravian practices, with a complex and highly ornamented instrumental accompaniment more typical of Bohemian musicians. Although Brentner has never been a famous name, his music has proved enduring—it was still being performed in Prague in the mid-nineteenth century, and they have never stopped playing it in Bolivia.


  • Harmonica duodecatomeria ecclesiastica op. 1 (Prague 1716)
  • Offertoria solenniora op. 2 (Prague 1717)
  • Hymnodia divina op. 3 (Prague 1718)
  • Horae pomeridianae, Concertus cammerales 6, op. 4 (Praha 1720)
  • Laudes matutinae (lost)


  • Concertos & Arias [op. 4 a selection from op. 1], Hana Blažíková – soprano, Collegium Marianum, Jana Semerádová, Prague 2009, Supraphon SU 3970-2, (Music from Eighteenth-Century Prague).
  • Vesperae cum ordinariis psalmis, [selection from] Hymnodia divina op. 3 (Music of baroque Bohemia). Ensemble Inégal, Pražští barokní sólisté (Gabriela Eibenová, Barbora Sojková – sopranos, Lester Landenoye, Marta Fadljevičová – altos, Jaroslav Březina, Hasan El Dunia – tenors, Tomáš Král, Jaromír Nosek – basses), Adam Viktora. Praha 2008, Nibiru 0148-2211.
  • [selection from Motetti pro defunctis, Offertoria solenniora op. 2 and Harmonica duodecatometria ecclesiastica op. 1], Ensemble Inégal (Gabriela Eibenová – soprano, Jaroslav Březina – tenor, Mathias Gerchen – bas, Hasan El Dunia, Martin Prokeš, Marián Krejčík, Helena Zemanová), Adam Viktora, Praha 2003, Nibiru 0144-2211.
  • Music from the Missions and La Plata (Bolivian baroque Vol. 2), Florilegium and Arkaendar Bolivia Choir, Channel classics, 2006. Contains Brentner’s Gloria et honore from op. 2.
  • San Ignacio. L’opéra perdu des missions jésuites de l’Amazonie, anciennes réductions de Chiquitos et Moxos, Bolivie (Musique Baroque à la Royale Audience de Chacras 2), Gabriel Garrido, L’Ensemble Elyma, K617, 1996. Contains Brentner’s Cantemus Domino from op. 2.


  • Kapsa, Václav (2009). "Arias and Concertos by Jan Josef Ignác Brentner". Concertos and Arias (CD). Johann Joseph Ignaz Brentner. Prague: Supraphon. SU-3970-2.

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