Marcin Mielczewski II

The album was recorded by the Wrocław Baroque Ensemble conducted by Andrzej Kosendiak. This was the ensemble’s first album honoured with the Fryderyk award, and one of the parts of the ‘Music First. Music of the First Commonwealth’ series featuring works by Polish composers of the 17th and 18th centuries. The CD presents works mainly drawn from the collection kept until World War II in the church of St. Mary Magdalene in Wrocław.

Price: 49 zł
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Album premiere: 2017

Publishers: National Forum of Music, CD Accord

Conductor: Andrzej Kosendiak

Performers: Aldona Bartnik, Agnieszka Ryman, Aleksandra Turalska, Matthew Venner, Piotr Łykowski, Piotr Olech, Maciej Gocman, Karol Kozłowski, Tomáš Lajtkep, Tomáš Král, Jonathan Brown, Bogdan Makal, Jerzy Butryn, Wrocław Baroque Ensemble

We present to you an album released on the 100th anniversary of Poland regaining independence. During the jubilee, we remember those who gave their lives for their homeland, those who contributed to maintaining the native culture during the years of partition, and finally those who helped regain sovereignty through both military and diplomatic actions. However, we do not often remember what generations of Poles longed for in the 19th century, at a time when Poland was not on the map of Europe.

Poles perceive the First Polish Republic mainly through the prism of its political splendour, and its territorial and military power, thanks to which Poland – in alliance with Lithuania, and later as the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth – gained great importance in Europe, from the 15th to the end of the 18th century. Yet it was also a period of prosperity in science and art, including music. The Vasa court ensemble, which included Marco Scacchi, Bartłomiej Pękiel, Marcin Mielczewski and Adam Jarzębski, was one of the leading European ensembles. Music in the Wawel Cathedral in the 17th and the first half of the 18th century, and especially in the times when Grzegorz Gerwazy Gorczycki was active there, was at an extremely high artistic level. The 1750s and 1760s saw the flourishing of Kapela Jasnogórska, largely thanks to Marcin Józef Żebrowski. In Saxon and Stanislavian times, Warsaw was one of the European centres of artistic life. These are only the most significant names and places related to music.

It is worth noting the influence of Polish artists on other European centres. Copies of Marcin Mielczewski’s works can be found in Lübeck and through the cities of Saxony, Moravia, Silesia, up to Smolensk and even Moscow. I am from Wrocław – I was born here and I run my business here, so the influence of Mielczewski’s music on the activities of Wrocław ensembles in the second half of the 17th century is naturally important to me. It is interesting that during religious disputes and wars, the musical works of the Kapellmeister at the court of Karol Ferdynand Vasa, the Catholic bishop of Wrocław and Płock, were most abundantly preserved in the collections of Protestant parishes in Wrocław, where they were very much appreciated and eagerly played. Wrocław ensembles had quite a rich set of instruments, so the vocal parts (often in a six-voice arrangement) were accompanied by wind instruments.

The album we present to you contains works drawn mainly from the collection of the church of St. Mary Magdalene in Wrocław, the existence of which we did not know about a dozen or so years ago. The music collections from Wrocław, which was destroyed at the end of World War II, were taken east by the Red Army – like many other archives, works of art and valuable items. The music manuscripts went to Moscow, and from there, years later, they were transferred to East Berlin. Thanks to the research of Professor Barbara Przybyszewska-Jarmińska, they were brought back to musical life only at the end of the 20th century. I am glad that after almost four centuries we were able to perform and record Mielczewski’s works again in Wrocław, and in the same arrangement in which they were played here centuries ago.

Andrzej Kosendiak

  • Fryderyk 2019

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