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Bartlomiej Pekiel: Masses & Motets

Pekiel / Il Canto Vocal Ensemble
Release Date: 07/27/2010 
Label:  Dux Records   Catalog #: 726   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Bartlomiej Pekiel
Performer:  Krzystof SzmytMichal StraszewskiCezary SzyfmanWanda Laddy,   ... 
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 2 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



PEKIEL Missa brevis. Missa pulcherrima. Sub tuum praesidium. Ave Maria. Salvator orbis. Magnum nomen Domini. Resonet in laudibus Michael Straszewski, cond; Il Canto DUX 0726 (61:43 & no English translation)


Although Bart?omiej P?kiel (c.1610–70) remains an obscure figure, he is not entirely unknown. The present disc is not even the first recording of either work it features. The Missa brevis Read more appeared on a Veriton LP with the Harfa Male Choir under Jerzy Kolaczkowski. The Missa pulcherrima has enjoyed an LP issue on the Muza LP with Edmund Kajdasz (reissued by the Musical Heritage Society in the U.S. and Eterna in the now defunct GDR) as well as CD releases on a 1996 Musicon disc with the Camerata Silesia under Anna Szostak and a 2009 Dux disc with the Octava ensemble that also includes the Sub tuum praesidium . Scattered motets also appeared on the Hungaroton, Muza, and Veriton LP labels.


Although he is believed to have been born in Germany, and there is speculation that he may have studied in Italy in his youth, the few extant records of P?kiel from 1633 onward are entirely from his time in Poland, when his name is first mentioned in the archives of the royal court. In 1649 he succeeded to the position of maestro di cappella there, but was forced to flee when a Swedish invasion overthrew the Vasa dynasty and established its own rule instead. However, in 1658 his name appears again as maestro di cappella of the Wawa Cathedral in Kraków. It is inferred from archival entries there that he died in 1670.


While much greater than that of his Polish contemporaries, P?kiel’s surviving oeuvre is not large: 14 masses, 12 motets, and about 40 instrumental pieces, with the authenticity of the latter a subject of debate. Whether due to personal taste or external circumstances, his compositional style moved somewhat contrary to his times; whereas early on he wrote in the new concertante style with elaborate instrumental accompaniments, later in his career he concentrated primarily on a cappella choral works in a stile antico mode. The masses featured here are late compositions, the Missa brevis from about 1661 and the Missa pulcherrima , his last work, from 1669. Both are penned in the streamlined polyphonic style pioneered by Palestrina and are distinguished by a particularly buoyant, jubilant atmosphere that contrasts with the more solemn note struck in many such works and is immediately appealing. Of the motets, only Sub tuum praesidium is composed throughout in a polyphonic style; the Ave Maria mixes polyphony and homophony, with the remainder being homophonic.


I have not been able to audition the Dux CD, but the present performance is far superior to the Musicon recording, where a much larger choir, more labored tempi, and a reverberant acoustic make for a rather leaden effect. By contrast Il Canto, with a variable membership of five to seven, can go larynx to larynx against any competitors without fearing the comparison. The recorded sound is warm, rich, and somewhat closely miked. Texts are provided in Latin and Polish only, though one can easily find translations on the Internet or in other sets of Renaissance sacred music. Recommended to all fans of Renaissance polyphony.


FANFARE: James A. Altena
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Works on This Recording

1.
Missa Brevis for 4 voices by Bartlomiej Pekiel
Performer:  Krzystof Szmyt (), Michal Straszewski (), Cezary Szyfman (),
Wanda Laddy (), Robert Lawaty (), Barbara Janowska ()
Period: Baroque 
Date of Recording: 12/1996/01/1997 
Venue:  Grand Ballroom, Sapiecha Palace, Warsaw 
Length: 1 Minutes 51 Secs. 
2.
Missa Pulcherrima ad instar Praenestini, for chorus by Bartlomiej Pekiel
Performer:  Robert Lawaty (), Wanda Laddy (), Barbara Janowska (),
Cezary Szyfman (), Michal Straszewski (), Krzystof Szmyt ()
Date of Recording: 12/1996/01/1997 
Venue:  Grand Ballroom, Sapiecha Palace, Warsaw 
Length: 26 Minutes 11 Secs. 
3.
Sub Tuum Praesidium, motet a quatre voix by Bartlomiej Pekiel
Performer:  Slawomir Lobaczewski (), Wanda Laddy (), Michal Straszewski ()
Period: Baroque 
Date of Recording: 09/2009 
Venue:  Stefan Cardinal Wyszynski University, In 
Length: 1 Minutes 44 Secs. 
4.
Ave Maria, for chorus by Bartlomiej Pekiel
Performer:  Michal Straszewski (), Wanda Laddy (), Slawomir Lobaczewski ()
Date of Recording: 09/2009 
Venue:  Stefan Cardinal Wyszynski University, In 
Length: 2 Minutes 47 Secs. 
5.
Salvator orbis, for chorus by Bartlomiej Pekiel
Performer:  Wanda Laddy (), Slawomir Lobaczewski (), Michal Straszewski ()
Date of Recording: 09/2009 
Venue:  Stefan Cardinal Wyszynski University, In 
Length: 2 Minutes 42 Secs. 
6.
Magnum nomen Domini, for chorus by Bartlomiej Pekiel
Performer:  Wanda Laddy (), Slawomir Lobaczewski (), Michal Straszewski ()
Date of Recording: 09/2009 
Venue:  Stefan Cardinal Wyszynski University, In 
Length: 1 Minutes 28 Secs. 
7.
Resonet in laudibus, for chorus by Bartlomiej Pekiel
Performer:  Wanda Laddy (), Slawomir Lobaczewski (), Michal Straszewski ()
Date of Recording: 09/2009 
Venue:  Stefan Cardinal Wyszynski University, In 
Length: 1 Minutes 25 Secs. 

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