Music of the Polish Renaissance

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Program: #09-42   Air Date: Oct 12, 2009

Music of the Polish Renaissance--One of the first series on our program 30 years ago was dedicated to composers featured in a new release by the Rutgers Collegium Musicum: Waclaw of Szamoulty, Marcin Leopolita, Mikolaj Zielinski and Bartlomiej Pekiel. NOTE: All of the music on this recording is from the recording Music of the Polish Renaissance with the Rutgers Collegium Musium directed by Andrew Kirkman. It is on Direct-to-Tape, and the CD number is DTR2018. For information on the disc: and on the ensemble:

Bartlomiej Pekiel (fl. from 1633; d. c. 1670) was a notable Polish composer in the 17th century. P?kiel served the court in Warsaw from at least 1633. He was the assistant to Marco Scacchi when the latter was head of the Royal Chapel there, and later was Kapellmeister himself from 1649-1655. He then moved to Wawel Cathedral Chapel in Kraków, where he led the orchestra after the death of Franciszek Lilius in 1657.--Missa Pulcherrima


Waclaw z Szamotul (Szamotuly, near Poznan, ca. 1520 – ca. 1560, Pinczów)--Waclaw studied first at the Lubra?ski Academy in Pozna? and in 1538 at Kraków University. Waclaw Szamotulski, as Waclaw of Szamotl?y was also known, was a true Renaissance man, educated in such diverse areas as law, mathematics and philosophy—Aristotelian, in particular. In addition to music, he wrote poetry in both Polish and Latin. In 1547 or 1548 he was appointed composer to the court of Sigismund II Augustus. However, he was not required to teach young singers, probably due to difficulties with voice. In 1555 Wac?aw left Kraków, having received the title of "royal composer." He died early, and only a few of his works survive. In the words of Szymon Starowolski, who wrote the first concise biography of Waclaw, "If the gods had let him live longer, the Poles would have no need to envy the Italians their Palestrina, Lappi or Vedana." His motets In te Domine speravi and Ego sum pastor bonus were the first Polish musical compositions to be published abroad. According to Gustave Reese, Wac?aw's style may be seen in both of these motets; "the constant overlapping of phrases and full-fledged imitative style reveal Franco-Netherlandish influence."

--Nunc scio vere ("Now I know truly, that the Lord has sent His angel")


Mikolaj Zielenski (birth and death dates unknown)--Zielenski's only known surviving works are two 1611 liturgical cycles of polychoral works, the Offertoria/Communes totius anni. These were dedicated to the Archbishop of Gniezno, Wojciech Baranowski. The sets consist of large-scale double- and triple-choir antiphons, as well as some monodic works typical of the Seconda pratica style of early Monteverdi. Ziele?ski's music is the first known Polish music set in the style of the Baroque.
--Vox in Rama ("A voice was heard in Rama of weeping and lamentation")

Marcin Leopolita (c. 1540 – c. 1589) Also known as Marcin ze Lwowa; apparently a student in Cracow--only four works survive.
--Cibivat eos ("He fed them with the fat of the wheat")


--Ave Maria


--In Monte Oliveti ("On the Mount of Olives He prayed")


We have featured most of Andrew Kirkman's superb work with the Binchois Consort--a list (with citations for excellence) is below:

  • CD 1: "Glorious Companion: Music for St Anthony of Padua by Guillaume Dufay," released July, 1996: 'Critics' Choice', Gramophone.
  • CD 2: "Music for St James the Greater and other early Works by Guillaume Dufay," released May, 1998: 'Early Music Recording of the Year' for 1998-9, Gramophone; 'Recording of the Month', Gramophone, July, 1998; Gramophone 'Critics' Choice'; 'Classic CD Choice', Classic CD, July, 1998; 'Early Music Disc of the Month', Classic FM Magazine, August, 1998; 'Diapason d'Or', Diapason, September 1998; 'R10,' Répertoire, September, 1998.
  • CD 3: "A Marriage of England and Burgundy," music by Walter Frye and Antoine Busnois, recorded August 11-13, 1999, released October, 2000: 'Recommandé,' Répertoire, February, 2001; 'Choc,' Le Monde de la Musique, March, 2001.
  • CD 4: "Josquin and His Contemporaries," recorded January 9-11, 2000, released September, 2001: runner-up, 'Early Music Recording of the Year' for 2001-2, Gramophone.
  • CD 5: Busnoys, Missa L'homme armé, Domarto, Missa Spiritus almus and motets, recorded June 19-21, 2001, released October, 2002: 'Editor's Choice,' Gramophone, December, 2002; 'G5', Goldberg; '5 stars' BBC Music Magazine; finalist, 'Early Music Recording of the Year' for 2002-3, Gramophone.
  • CD 6: Dufay (?), Missa Puisque je vis and motets by Dufay, Compère and anon., recorded July 24-6, 2002, released June, 2003: '5 stars', BBC Music Magazine, September, 2003; 'Diapason découverte', Diapason, September, 2003
  • CD 7: Dufay (?), Mass for St Anthony Abbot, Binchois, Nove cantum melodie, Domitor Hectoris, Mass movements, recorded January 13-15, 2004, released January, 2005, finalist, 'Early Music Recording of the Year, Gramophone.    


Composer Info

Bartlomiej Pekiel (fl. from 1633; d. c. 1670), Waclaw z Szamotul (Szamotuly, near Poznan, ca. 1520 – ca. 1560, Pinczów), Mikolaj Zielenski (birth and death dates unknown), Marcin Leopolita (c. 1540 – c. 1589)

CD Info


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