Naxos Distribution—Three More Renaissance Discs

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Program: #15-08   Air Date: Feb 16, 2015

NOTE: All of the programs once again this month feature recordings that are part of the expanded Naxos Distribution family. Including two superb new recordings celebrating the Renaissance masters at the Polish court.

All of the releases on this program are from the Naxos Distribution family; for more information:

I. Virgo Prudentissima—Adoration of the Virgin Mary at the Polish Court (Weser-Renaissance/Manfred Cordes). CPO CD 777 772-2

Virgo prudentissima

From This enterprising programme paints a picture of early baroque music at the Polish Royal Chapel in Warsaw, at a time when the irresistible influence of the Italian `seconda prattica', pioneered by Claudio Monteverdi, was making itself felt throughout Europe. The Polish king Sigismund III Vasa (r. 1587-1632) very sensibly decided to supplement the existing royal ensemble with a number of Italian musicians; and from then on, for most of the 17th century, Polish and Italian musicians co-existed and flourished in court and church. The results of this fruitful collaboration, as the present CD shows, were both fascinating and beautiful.

The three composers represented here are Marcin Mielczewski, Mikolaj Zieleñski and Adam Jarzêbski (no dates of birth known, but all died around 1650). The first two of these contribute vocal works, and the third provides the instrumental pieces. As is normally the case with the superb Weser-Renaissance Bremen early music ensemble, director Manfred Cordes tailors his group's personnel according to the needs of the music chosen. In fact he has an exceptional talent for collaring the finest early-music practitioners around and, appropriately for this recording, he has roped in several Polish musicians, both instrumental and vocal - of which the two sopranos, Magdalena Podkoscielna and Maria Skiba, make an especially distinguished contribution. So the ensemble here consists of eight voices, with sopranos and male altos taking the upper parts, as well as an instrumental group of strings, trombones, dulcian and continuo.

Mielczewski's 13-part motet `Virgo prudentissima', unashamedly modelled on Monteverdi's wonderful `Sonata sopra Sancta Maria' from the 1610 Vespers, makes for a stunning opening.

Marcin Mielczewski (t 1651)
[1] Virgo prudentissima à 13 [4'56]
[2] Quem terra pontus à 12 [4'55]
[3] Beata Dei Genitrix à 8 [3'21]

Adam Jarzębski (t 1649)
[4] Concerto I à 2 (Violine, Posaune, b.c.) [3'10]
[5] Concerto II à 2 (Violine, Viola da gamba, b.c.) [3'06]

Marcin Mielczewski (t 1651)
[6] Salve virgo à 6 [4'49]
[7] Ante thorum huius virginis à 10 [3'18]
[8] Gaude Dei genitrix à 5 [3'24]

Adam Jarzębski (t 1649)
[9] Concerto IV à 2 (Posaune, Dulzian, b.c.) [4'29]
[10] Concerto I à 4 (Streicherensemble, b.c.) [2'34]

Marcin Mielczewski (t 1651)
[11] Magnificat primi toni à 12 [6'49]

Mikołaj Zieleński (16./17. Jahrhundert)
[12] Beata es à 8 [2'40]
[13] O gloriosa Domina à 5 [1'55]

Adam Jarzębski (t 1649)
[14] »Königsberga« à 3 (Bassinstrumente, b.c.) [3'38]
[15] Canzon III à 4 (Streichinstrumente, Posaune, b.c.) [3'15]

Mikołaj Zieleński (16./17. Jahrhundert)
[16] Ave Maria à 7 [3'24]
[17] Felix namque à 8 [2'39]

Adam Jarzębski (t 1649)
[18] »Chromatica« (Streichinstrumente, b.c.) [4‘15]

Mikołaj Zieleński (16./17. Jahrhundert)
[19] Assumpta es à 8 [2’41]


II. Argentum et Aurum—Musical Treasures from the Early Hapsburg Renaissance (Ensemble Leones/Marc Lewon). Naxos CD 8.573346.

Argentum et Aurum - Musical treasures from the early Habsburg Renaissance / Ensemb

NOTE: All of the releases on this program are from the Naxos Distribution family; for more 

The period of the early Habsburgs, from c.1340 to c.1520, saw the development of a richly diverse musical culture in the Austrian region. This pioneering selection, the product of an extensive research project conducted at the University of Vienna, presents an overview of music in everyday life, in many cases in première recordings performed by Ensemble Leones. The music is sacred and secular, allowing the listener to eavesdrop on Tyrolean palaces, dance halls and bourgeois homes, and on the singer-poets who travelled the country where old local styles fused with the latest international fashions.

Isaac, Heinrich : Argentum et aurum, motet for 4 voices
>Reuenthal, Neidhart von : Vyol - Urlaub hab der wintter (The violet - Winter, be gone)
>Montfort, Hugo von : Ich fragt ain wachter (I asked a watchman)
>Monch von Salzburg : Das Kchuhorn
>Wolkenstein, Oswald von : Frölich geschrai so well wir machen, K 93
>Anonymous : Soit tart, tempre, main ou soir
>Anonymous : Or sus, vous dormés trop
>Wolkenstein, Oswald von : Durch Barbarei, Arabia
>Reuenthal, Neidhart von : Der sunnen glanst (The glittering sun)
>Reuenthal, Neidhart von : Do man den gumpel gampel sank (When it was the season to sing the hip-swing dance)
>Wolkenstein, Oswald von : Freu dich, du weltlich creatur
>Wolkenstein, Oswald von : Zergangen ist meins herzens we
>Anonymous : Gegrusset seistu maria (Hail Mary, purest of virgins)
>Edlerawer, Hermann : Rondeau
>Anonymous : Von osterreich - Sig, sald und heil (From Austria - Victory, happiness and health)
>Anonymous : So stee ich hie auff diser erd (Thus I stand here on this earth)
>Anonymous : Alle dei filius (Hallelujah. God's son)
>Anonymous : My ladi, my ladi, myn happ (My lady, my lady, my joy)
>Dufay, Guillaume : Seigneur Leon, vous soyes bienvenus, rondeau for 4 voices (attributed)
>Anonymous : Gespile, liebe gespile gut (Beloved, dear good beloved)
>Anonymous : Es sassen hold in ainer stuben (Sitting in a room, fair to behold)
>Anonymous : Ich sachs eins mals
>Wolkenstein, Oswald von : Heya, heya nun wie si grollen (Hey, hey how they are raging) (attrib.)
>Martini, Johannes : La Martinella
>Anonymous : Pavane
>Anonymous : Mantuaner dantz (Mantuan Dance)
>Hofhaimer, Paul : Gottes namen faren wir (In God's name we travel), song for 4 voices
>Pfabinschwantz : Maria zart, von edler art (Dear Mary, of noble descent)


III. Ortus de Polonia (Les Traversées Baroques/Etienne Meyer). K. 617 CD 248.

Mikolaj Zielenski (1550-1616): Ortus de Polonia / Les Traversées Baroques;

From Les Traversées Baroques continues its exploration of the great repertory of sacred music from northern Europe. After Marcin Mielczewski, the ensemble has decided to turn to Mikolaj Zielenski for its new recording, thus rehabilitating this Polish Baroque composer whose biography is no more than a long series of question marks, but whose magnificent music amply compensates for the gaps in our knowledge. Established in 2008 in Burgundy, Les Traversées Baroques dedicates its repertoire priorities toward the countries of Eastern Europe during the 17th c.

The Polish baroque composer Mikolaj Zielenski (c. 1550-1615) was writing at a time when European music - including a number of eminent German, Austrian and Polish composers - was changing dramatically under the influence of the Venetian school of the Gabrielis and their contemporaries. Many of these northern and central European musicians travelled to Italy to learn their craft. That influence pervades the contents of the present recording, consisting mainly of sacred vocal works by Zielenski (I'd like to use the strictly Polish spelling of his name but when I try, it gets misprinted by Amazon) but also a couple of pieces by Giovanni Gabrieli and one by Palestrina.

The opening work, Zielenski's 'Ortus de Polonia', is distinctly Gabrielian in style, sung here by a pure-voiced choir with some lovely instrumental work from cornetti and others doubling and embellishing the vocal lines. The vocal ensemble Les Traversées Baroques, directed by Étienne Meyer, and the instrumentalists of Fiori Musicali, are all excellent, and there is a deeply devotional quality to both music and performances in these lovely, expressive pieces, further enhanced by plenty of enterprising instrumental work. 'Mitte manum tuam' (track 3) is a fine solo bass motet with cornetto part; 'In virtute tua, Domine' (4) is another lovely piece. Tracks 6 and 7 bring us two familiar Gabrieli works, the instrumental Canzon VIII and 'In ecclesiis' from the Sacrae Symphoniae. Zielenski's 'Gloria et divitiae' (14) is especially fine, and lovingly performed here.

Mikolaj Zielenski
Ortus De Polonia

Les Traversées Baroques

1. Ortus de Polonia
2. Mirabilis Deus
3. Mitte manum tuam
4. In virtute tua, Domine
5. Adoramus te, Christe
6. Canzon VIII (Gabireli)
7. In ecclesiis (Gabrieli)
8. Vox in Rama
9. Laetentur caeli
10. Introduxit me Rex (Palestrina/Bassano)
11. Posuisti Domine
12. Visionem quam vidistis
13. Salve festa Dies
14. Gloria et divitiae
15. Magnificat

Composer Info

Mikolaj Zielenski (c. 1550-1615), Paul Hofhaimer, Johannes Martini, Guillaume Dufay, Hermann Edlerawer, Monch von Salzburg, Oswald von Wolkenstein, Hugo von Montfort, Heinrich Isaac, Neidhart von Reuenthal, Marcin Mielczewski (t 1651), Mikolaj Zieleñski (16./17. Jahrhundert), Adam Jarzêbski t 1649)

CD Info

CPO CD 777 772-2, Naxos CD 8.573346, K. 617 CD 248.