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Of Polish Kings

Of Polish Kings: Polish Early Music / Various
Release Date: 05/25/2010 
Label:  Dux Records   Catalog #: 761   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  AnonymousSeweryn KonValentin BakfarkValentin Haussmann,   ... 
Conductor:  Marcin Zalewski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Canor Anticus
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 58 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Largely unknown repertoire from the Polish renaissance, beautifully played by a Polish viol consort.

The musical past of the countries of Central and Eastern Europe is little known in other parts of the world. It seems only recently that discs with Polish music of the renaissance and baroque periods, performed by Polish ensembles, have reached the outside world. In the last two years or so I have reviewed several discs with Polish music which were originally recorded five years or longer ago. That is also the case here: the recording dates from 1997, but I had never heard of it nor of the ensemble before. It has now been reissued by Dux and sent to MusicWeb International to be reviewed.

There is one
Read more handicap in the research of the musical heritage of Poland. During World War II many manuscripts have been destroyed or have just disappeared, and as a result our knowledge of the music of the 16th and 17th centuries is limited. A number of pieces on this disc are also from manuscripts which are no longer available. Fortunately some of them had been copied or microfilmed before the war.

In the renaissance instruments were mainly used to support singers. When purely instrumental music was performed, it mostly involved transcriptions of vocal music or dance music. Many transcriptions can be found in tablatures, in particular for organ. A large number of pieces on this disc are taken from such sources. The organ tablature of Jan of Lublin is a source regularly used by organists. But there is no reason whatsoever not to play these pieces on other instruments or, as here, with an instrumental consort.

Consorts of instruments were very popular during the renaissance. They could comprise various instruments: violins, viols, recorders or cornetts and sackbuts. Musicians were practical in those days: they played music on whatever instrument they had at their disposal. In regard to consort music it was most common to play on instruments of one family. Mixing wind and strings - viols and recorders, for instance - was an exception.

This disc brings various kinds of music which were part of the consort repertoire of those days. So there are some typically instrumental forms - especially used for keyboard music -, like the fantasia, the canzona and the praeambulum (or prelude). In addition we hear dances (Haussmann) and transcriptions of vocal pieces, including parts of the Mass. Many pieces are anonymous, but even where a name has come down to us most lovers of renaissance music probably won't have heard of them. The best-known composers in the programme are Valentin Bakfark and Valentin Haussmann. The former was a famous lutenist, born in Transylvania, and working for a while at the royal court in Poland. The latter was from southern Germany, and also spent some time in Poland. The latest music dates from the first decade of the 17th century. But at that time the new Italian concertante style hadn't reached Poland.

I haven't always assessed recordings by Polish ensembles all that positively. It is different this time: I have very much enjoyed this disc. The five players of Canor Anticus give very fine performances on their viols, ranging from treble to bass. They produce a beautiful sound and the ensemble is excellent. The players are not afraid to explore the full dynamic range of their instruments. That is certainly right: there is no reason why renaissance music should be played at more or less the same dynamic level all the time. They shape the musical lines beautifully and the various voices of these polyphonic pieces are clearly discernable.

The repertoire is another reason why this disc is commendable: even those who have a special interest in renaissance music won't hear much they already knew. There is just one well-known melody: the transcription of a setting of the hymn 'Resonet in laudibus' by Drusinski.

Because of the quality of the music and the level of the performances this disc is a winner, and a worthwhile addition to any record collection.

-- Johan van Veen, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

1. O królach polskich (Of Polish Kings), song by Anonymous
Conductor:  Marcin Zalewski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Canor Anticus
Date of Recording: 12/1996-01/1997 
Venue:  Grand Ballroom, Sapieha Palace, Warsaw 
Length: 1 Minutes 13 Secs. 
2. Utwór bez tytulu (Untitled), for ensemble by Seweryn Kon
Conductor:  Marcin Zalewski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Canor Anticus
Date of Recording: 12/1996-01/1997 
Venue:  Grand Ballroom, Sapieha Palace, Warsaw 
Length: 1 Minutes 14 Secs. 
3. Duma, for 3 voices & continuo by Anonymous
Conductor:  Marcin Zalewski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Canor Anticus
Date of Recording: 12/1996-01/1997 
Venue:  Grand Ballroom, Sapieha Palace, Warsaw 
Length: 1 Minutes 44 Secs. 
4. Fantasia No. 5 for ensemble by Valentin Bakfark
Conductor:  Marcin Zalewski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Canor Anticus
Date of Recording: 12/1996-01/1997 
Venue:  Grand Ballroom, Sapieha Palace, Warsaw 
Length: 4 Minutes 19 Secs. 
5. Czarna krowa (A Black Cow), for lute by Valentin Bakfark
Conductor:  Marcin Zalewski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Canor Anticus
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 1750 
Date of Recording: 12/1996-01/1997 
Venue:  Grand Ballroom, Sapieha Palace, Warsaw 
Length: 2 Minutes 37 Secs. 
6. Fantasia No. 6 for ensemble by Valentin Bakfark
Conductor:  Marcin Zalewski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Canor Anticus
Date of Recording: 12/1996-01/1997 
Venue:  Grand Ballroom, Sapieha Palace, Warsaw 
Length: 6 Minutes 38 Secs. 
7. Albo juz dalej trwac nie moge (No Longer Can I Bear), song by Valentin Bakfark
Conductor:  Marcin Zalewski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Canor Anticus
Date of Recording: 12/1996-01/1997 
Venue:  Grand Ballroom, Sapieha Palace, Warsaw 
Length: 3 Minutes 46 Secs. 
8. Fantasia No 7 à 4 voix by Valentin Bakfark
Conductor:  Marcin Zalewski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Canor Anticus
Period: Renaissance 
Date of Recording: 12/1996-01/1997 
Venue:  Grand Ballroom, Sapieha Palace, Warsaw 
Length: 7 Minutes 47 Secs. 
9. Polish Dance No. 1 for ensemble by Valentin Bakfark
Conductor:  Marcin Zalewski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Canor Anticus
Date of Recording: 12/1996-01/1997 
Venue:  Grand Ballroom, Sapieha Palace, Warsaw 
Length: 2 Minutes 0 Secs. 
10. Polish Dance No. 2 for ensemble by Valentin Bakfark
Conductor:  Marcin Zalewski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Canor Anticus
Date of Recording: 12/1996-01/1997 
Venue:  Grand Ballroom, Sapieha Palace, Warsaw 
Length: 0 Minutes 50 Secs. 
11. Polish Dance No. 3 for ensemble by Valentin Haussmann
Conductor:  Marcin Zalewski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Canor Anticus
Date of Recording: 12/1996-01/1997 
Venue:  Grand Ballroom, Sapieha Palace, Warsaw 
Length: 1 Minutes 11 Secs. 
12. Canzona Diomedis, for ensemble by Diomedes Cato
Conductor:  Marcin Zalewski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Canor Anticus
Date of Recording: 12/1996-01/1997 
Venue:  Grand Ballroom, Sapieha Palace, Warsaw 
Length: 1 Minutes 35 Secs. 
13. Przez Twe Swiete Zmartwychwstanie, for keyboard by Anonymous
Conductor:  Marcin Zalewski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Canor Anticus
Written: 1548 
Date of Recording: 12/1996-01/1997 
Venue:  Grand Ballroom, Sapieha Palace, Warsaw 
Length: 1 Minutes 22 Secs. 
14. Nasz Zbawiciel (Our Saviour), song by Anonymous
Conductor:  Marcin Zalewski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Canor Anticus
Date of Recording: 12/1996-01/1997 
Venue:  Grand Ballroom, Sapieha Palace, Warsaw 
Length: 1 Minutes 58 Secs. 
15. Nasz Zbawiciel Pan Bóg (God Our Saviour), song by Anonymous
Conductor:  Marcin Zalewski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Canor Anticus
Date of Recording: 12/1996-01/1997 
Venue:  Grand Ballroom, Sapieha Palace, Warsaw 
Length: 1 Minutes 51 Secs. 
16. Marcin of Warta (Wartecki), for ensemble by Anonymous
Conductor:  Marcin Zalewski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Canor Anticus
Date of Recording: 12/1996-01/1997 
Venue:  Grand Ballroom, Sapieha Palace, Warsaw 
Length: 2 Minutes 25 Secs. 
17. Kyrie Paschale by Codex Franus Anonymous
Conductor:  Marcin Zalewski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Canor Anticus
Date of Recording: 12/1996-01/1997 
Venue:  Grand Ballroom, Sapieha Palace, Warsaw 
Length: 0 Minutes 59 Secs. 
18. Kyrie, Christe Kyrie ultimum, for vocal ensemble by Krzystof Klabon
Conductor:  Marcin Zalewski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Canor Anticus
Date of Recording: 12/1996-01/1997 
Venue:  Grand Ballroom, Sapieha Palace, Warsaw 
Length: 3 Minutes 32 Secs. 
19. Preamble No. 1 for ensemble by Piotr Drusinski
Conductor:  Marcin Zalewski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Canor Anticus
Date of Recording: 12/1996-01/1997 
Venue:  Grand Ballroom, Sapieha Palace, Warsaw 
Length: 1 Minutes 16 Secs. 
20. Veni redemptor gentium (O, Cometh the Redeemer of Nations), for vocal ensemble by Piotr Drusinski
Conductor:  Marcin Zalewski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Canor Anticus
Date of Recording: 12/1996-01/1997 
Venue:  Grand Ballroom, Sapieha Palace, Warsaw 
Length: 1 Minutes 29 Secs. 
21. Preamble No. 2 for ensemble by Piotr Drusinski
Conductor:  Marcin Zalewski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Canor Anticus
Date of Recording: 12/1996-01/1997 
Venue:  Grand Ballroom, Sapieha Palace, Warsaw 
Length: 1 Minutes 13 Secs. 
22. Resonet in laudibus (May It Sound in Glory), for vocal ensemble by Piotr Drusinski
Conductor:  Marcin Zalewski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Canor Anticus
Date of Recording: 12/1996-01/1997 
Venue:  Grand Ballroom, Sapieha Palace, Warsaw 
Length: 1 Minutes 52 Secs. 

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