Father Václav Gunther Jacob: Bohemian, Benedictine, and Baroque

Searching for a recording of Ian Dismas Zelenka’s wonderful Missa Dei Filii (Mass of God the Son), I found myself continuously running across a work of the same name by another Bohemian composer of the Baroque era, Václav Gunther Jacob. I had never heard of him. Finally stopping to learn something about Zelenka’s fellow countryman and contemporary, I was thrilled to learn that Jacob was not only a Catholic priest, but a Benedictine monk.

Since I don’t read Czech, I read the (much shorter) Latin article on Wikipedia, which tells us:

Venceslaus Jacob baptizatus est die 30 Septembris 1685. Pater eius Martinus Jacob erat iudex in oppidulo Gossengrün in Bohemia occidentali. Sicut puer cantabat in monasterio Cladrubiense, deinde venit Pragam, ubi erat cantor et organicus. Anno 1710 factus est monachus ordinis sancti Benedicti, in monasterio sancti Nicolai Vetero-Pragae professus, et nomen Guntherus accepit. Anno 1714 factus est presbyter ecclesiae catholicae. Obiit 21 Martii 1734 aetatis suae 49. Sepulcrum eius ignotum est.

Which is to say:

Václav Jacob was baptized on the 30th of September, 1685 [the feast of Saint Jerome]. His Father, Martin Jacob, was a judge in the village of Gossengrün in western Bohemia. As a boy, he sang in the monastery of Kladruby, then he went to Prague, where he was cantor and organist. In the year 1710, he became a professed monk of the Benedictine Order, in the monastery of Saint Nicholas of Old Prague, and took the name Gunther. In the year 1714, we was ordained a priest of the Catholic Church. He died on March 21, 1734, at the age of 49. His grave is unknown.

Apparently, Dom Gunther was largely self-taught as a composer. A little more can be read on him at the ArkivMusic site. Here is the Kyrie from his Missa Dei Filii:

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