Notes and Editorial Reviews
Stanislaw Sylwester Szarzynski’s surviving output of music comprises ten compositions, whose excellent quality and attractive sound earn him a place among the most distinguished Polish Baroque composers. We do not have any archive documents concerning the figure of Szarzynski or any autographs of his works. He probably lived during the last decades of the 17th century, though the dates of his birth and death as well as the place or places of his activity are impossible to establish. Nearly all of Szarzynski’s surviving works represent the seconda pratica and are structured in accordance with the concertato style typical of the second half of the 17th century. The single exception is the Missa septem dolorum Beatae Mariae Virginis, never previously published or recorded. Szarzynski’s solo church concertos are scored typically of the era, with two violins and continuo in the accompaniment. However, the concertos are diversified with regard to form. One of those most internally varied is the soprano concerto Veni Sancte Spiritus, setting the text of the Pentecostal sequence. The tenor concerto Pariendo non gravaris and the alto concerto Quam felix curia, on the other hand, represent regular four-movement forms which consist of alternating slow and fast sections. Here Szarzynski experiments with ‘new’ keys that go far beyond the traditional system of church modes. Another solo church concerto, Ave Regina, previously published separately, in the Lowicz manuscript constituted the last part of Szarzynski’s Completorium. This cycle is a musical setting of four psalms, the hymn Te lucis ante terminum and the canticle Nunc dimittis, followed by a Marian antiphon. The entire cycle is scored for four voices, two violins and basso continuo. The setting of the Litany of Loreto is an extensive one-movement work, which in the Lowicz copy was entitled Litania cursoria. Ad hymnos ad cantus is a compact composition for five vocal parts with instrumental accompaniment, written in the form of a ritornello concerto. “Agite ergo,” Szarzynski’s only instrumental work, Sonata for two violins and basso pro organo, is at the same time the only surviving relic of Polish instrumental music from the second half of the 17th century.