Notes and Editorial Reviews
Offertoria et Communiones totius anni:
Stanis?aw Ga?onski, cond; Emma Kirkby (sop); Andrezej Bia?ko (org); Capella Cracoviensis
DUX 681 (54:37
Text and Translation)
The 12 offertories and six communions on this disc are taken from the collection published by Miko?aj Ziele?ski in 1611. Hence, while they might be compared with Palestrina’s similar collection of offertories, they are closer to the polychoral style of Venice, where
they were published. Musical Heritage Society once issued a disc (12:6) drawn from two separate Muza LPs, but of the dozen pieces sung there, only
, the offertory of Easter, is duplicated here. (Another disc reviewed with it contained another of these offertories,
Justus ut palma
.) The publication consisted of two books: 56 offertories for seven or eight voices and a 12-voice Magnificat in one, 63 communions for one to six voices and three instrumental fantasias in the other. (The Magnificat and two fantasias were also included in the MHS disc.) Ziele?ski’s vital dates are unknown, these are his only published works, and the dedication, referring to his patron, the primate of Poland, whom he served as organist and choirmaster, gives only a little more information. The earlier booklet indicated that he studied in Rome, but this claim is not repeated here or in the
biography. All agree that he was the greatest Polish composer of his time.
The performances are very fine, lively, and stylish. The singers are accompanied by organ and a trombone quartet. Five communions (a sixth communion is a motet), all for solo voice, account for Emma Kirkby’s participation in the group. She is as elegant as ever. Given the additional pieces in the publication, I would not have minded if the disc had been filled up with half a dozen more pieces. Why stop at 18 out of more than 100 works? The Cracow ensemble was recorded in a local church with the technical expertise that this label customarily provides. Since the composer is hardly represented in current catalogs at all, this is an important disc for anyone who wants to hear his music.
FANFARE: J. F. Weber
Works on This Recording
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