The Heart of Europe

Release Date: 2015-12-24
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Poland’s fascinating location on worlds maps is often discussed in the context of past centuries. It’s central location in Europe was one of the reasons for many political disagreements, but it also allowed for numerous and rich cultural exchanges. The meetings of East and West has many dimentions and, in this context, Poland lies in the center, linking various cultures and religions and
serving as carrier of diverse cultural and social trends. Traveling to the XVII century we can observe amazing process in which Poland played important role of the fighter, being one of the military super powers, but also role of important cultural partner for the countries from North, South, East and West.
The XVII century for the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth it was the time of the military and political importance in Europe. Time of many battles and wars against empires like Sweden and Turkey, but also against Russia and Zaporozhian Cossacks.

Open to the West, Polish literatury and musical culture drew on the discoveries and ideas emanating from Venice, Padua, and other important centres in Italy. Sweden during the “Age of Greatness” (1648-1721) by communication with Poland and other countries in northern Europe was growing and flourishing culturaly.

On the other hand Polish political environment during the seventeenth century places it against the Ottoman Empire’s Islamic culture. Fascinated by the influence of the totally different Oriental world, Poland engaged in a cultural exchange with the Seraglio – the Topkapi Palace and residence of the Ottoman Slutans – with the colorful figure of Wojciech Bobowski – his Turkish name: Alī Ufqī : Horizon (1610 – 1675) who was a musician, a composer, a painter, and as a multilingual interpreter who made a brilliant career in diplomacy of the Sublime Porta. Born in Poland in 1610 he was captured by Tartars and sold as a slave to the seraglio in Istanbul, where he spent next 20 years and where his incomparable skills could shine: he played instruments and as the first he wrote down turkish music (with european notes). His psalms written in a european, but very simple (Calvinist) manner, sung in Turkish language and probably in Turkish way, possibly with an accompaniament of instruments from the seraglio… This was a real meeting point and melting pot of west-east tradition.

Traveling to the Nordic countries we can find Adners and Gustav von Düben who belongs to one of the most important musical families in XVII century Sweden. Gustav was born and died in Stockholm. He was the son of the German-born Andreas Düben, who had been organist at the Thomaskirche in Leipzig, and son of the composer and court kapellmeister Anders Düben (the Younger). In 1663, he succeeded his father as both hovkapellmästare, director of the Royal Swedish Court Orchestra, and organist of the German St Gertrud Church in Stockholm.

Polish music of 17th century is expressed in the genious composers of Mikołaj Zieleński, Marcin Mielczewski, and Bartłomiej Pękiel, mostly in Venetian style. The casp of the 16th and 17th centuries in Italy marks the development of the opera on the one hand, and the blossoming of the church music on the other. The need for contrasts, the introduction of instruments to lithurgical music, polychoral music, and the concertizing style – all part of the Venetian School – were taken up and developed further on polish soil by various local composers who studied this style abroad. Mikołaj Zieleński’s ( c.1500 – c. 1616 ) Offertoria et Communiones were published in Venice in 1611. His style was highly regarded in the city on water. Zieleński’s younger compatriot, Marcin Mielczewski ( c.1600 – c.1651 ) used Renaissance techniques for liturgical forms and applied canti firmi of Gregorian origin into his compositions but, as a master of counterpoint, he also gave them a modern and powerful sound in terms of tonality and instrumentation. The youngest Bartłomiej Pękiel ( ? – c.1670 ) 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 to 1655. His music stile and expression is real treasure needed to be rediscovered.

Originality of the project lies in this juxtaposition of three worlds – Nordic, East and West – and in a showing a way necessary to achieve their synthesis in language, religion, and culture – a way originated in the works and lifes of 17th-century musicians from so many different and far backgrounds.

  1. Fulget in templo legifer – anthem to st. Wojciech (Anonymus, XIII w.)
  2. Anonymous – Tabulatur Joannis de Lublin (1490 – 1550 ) – Rex
  3. Anonymous – Tabulatur Joannis de Lublin (1490 – 1550) – Szewczyk
  4. Grzegorz Gerwazy Gorczycki (1665 1734) – Laetatus sum
  5. Grzegorz Gerwazy Gorczycki (1665 1734) – In Virtute tua
  6. Heinrich Isaac von Biber (1644 1704) Battalia
  7. Mikołaj Zieleński (1550 – 1616) – Offertoria totius anni – Magnificat
  8. Ali Ufki/Wojciech Bobowski (1610 – 1675) – Uyan Ey Gözlerim Gafletten Uyan
  9. Psallat chorus in hac die – sekwencja o św. Stanisławie (Graduał KlarysekGnieźnieńskich, XIII w.)
  10. Anonymous – Cantional Zamoyskich – Pieśń o posiędźieniu y o zniewoleniużałosnym ziemie węgierskiey
  11. Johann Joseph Fux (1660 – 1741) – Turcaria – Eine musikalische Beschreibung derBelagerung Wiens durch die Türken anno 1683
  12. Marcin Mielczewski (1600 – 1651) – Triumphalis Dies – Ode to st.Marcin
  13. Tabulatura Amoenitatum Musicalium Hortulus – Caspar Klosemann (1616 – 1657)
  14. Mikołaj Gomółka – Już się zmierzka