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Vivat Rzeczpospolita!

 

Cantus Sarmaticus - Vivat Rzeczpospolita!   Anniversary of the Union of Lublin, 1569

 

 

We will praise Him because He has shown His mercy to us.

 

Signed ceremonially at the refectory of the Dominican monastery in Lublin on July 1, 1569, the Union of Lublin treaty was preceded by six years of efforts on the part of the king and all the estates of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland toward “improving this unification” which had lasted for almost two centuries since the Union of Krewo. The signatories to this document agreed that its provisions were “never to be changed, but to remain in force for ever… making a pledge and a promise before God”. Gratitude should be expressed to Divine Providence for an event like this, especially as now, with the benefit of hindsight, we know how enormously important the Union was for the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, which continued to thrive for almost two and a half centuries. 

We cannot but remember this day with gratitude. We believe that following the diplomatic success all the participants in this event gathered at the Dominican Basilica of Holy Cross Relics, where a solemn High Mass was celebrated. Our CD is a fantasia on the theme of such a thanksgiving Mass, which would certainly have been thanksgiving to Divine Providence. The propers for the votive Mass of the Most Holy Trinity, which most probably would have been chosen for that occasion, were found in the Graduale of Brother Wiktoryn, dating back to around 1540 and kept in the library of the Dominican monastery in Cracow. This kind of chant would certainly be performed in those days in the Lublin monastery as well. The ordinary of the Mass had to be the solemn Missa Te Deum by Krzysztof Borek. This little-known Renaissance composer died around 1573, leaving only two Masses which were found in the collection of the royal Rorantist Choir. There is no indication as to whether his Missa Te Deum could have featured in the repertoire of Lublin’s Dominican choir, but since it is based on a cantus firmus taken from the thanksgiving hymn Te Deum, it seemed the most proper one for this laudatory spectacle, especially as it was composed in the times we are referring to. For all we know Krzysztof Borek might have been commissioned to write it by the king…. The piece owes its unusual character to the use of the imitation technique in its texture. Each part of the Mass ordinary contains quotations from the Te Deum. These selected verses are formally unrelated to the content of these pieces and are woven into their polyphonic structure. As a dominant cantus firmus, they serve as an element ordering this originally loose structure. The composer matched the sense of particular verses from the hymn with the content of each part of the ordinary in which they were used. To enhance the dramatic effect of the thanksgiving service it was only proper to round it off with the Te Deum itself. We made use of Dominican chant in order to preserve the unity of the monodic forms featured throughout. However, such a solemn celebration, perhaps with the king himself in attendance, needed to have some additional splendor added by iubilaeorum, i.e. parts played by instruments allowed in liturgy at the time. Trombones and cornets were chosen, the rationale being that all trumpets produce sound not by themselves but as a result of instrumentalists blowing them. Moreover, these instruments sound very powerful and at the same time sparkle with the most mellow light. This is why an alternatim version of the Te Deum was created specially for this recording, combining the Dominican chant with fragments of Krzysztof Borek’s Missa Te Deum transcribed for a trombone ensemble and a cornet. These fragments correspond to the passages of the Mass featuring cantus firmus fragments of the hymn analogous to the selected verses. It can be said that we composed this hymn specially for this event…. 

Needless to say, the instruments add splendor to the entire event appearing as they do in other parts of the celebration as well. The whole thing begins with a solemn intrada which highlights the ceremonial entry of the sovereign. Then a cantor sings a laudatory song in honor of King Sigismund the Old – Sigismund August’s father – who was the real driving force behind renewing the union initiated with the pact concluded by Władysław Jagiełło in Krewo. Thus ends the Jagiellonian era in the most splendid period of Polish history. The instrumental music accompanying the whole celebration was entwined with the liturgical parts with due care for the coherence of the ceremony. Thus, we start off with an instrumental version of the Introit Benedicta sit; then a short Preambulum separates the Gradual from the Alleluia; the homily is replaced with a beautiful epic Resolutum, while a solemn Preambulum played during the Elevation accompanies the Canon of the Mass. A plainsong Benedicamus unfolds into the solemn thanksgiving hymn Wesel się polska Korona (Rejoice, Polish Crown) played by the instruments, which go on to accompany the singers performing the triumphant song Jeśli greccy Hektorowie (If the Greek Hectors) by Krzysztof Klabon. The instrumental music comes from two organ tablatures: one from Cracow’s Holy Ghost Monastery and the other by Jan of Lublin. Some of the pieces it contains were composed by Mikołaj of Cracow, one of the greatest Polish composers. It was specially for this project that we made transcriptions of this music for trombones and a cornet. We dare to think that some of them are given their world premiere on our CD. 

We dedicate this CD to the memory of our friend Maciej Kaziński.
 

Robert Pożarski, December, Anno Domini 2018.

Artists:

Robert Lawaty – cantus

Robert Pożarski – altus, cantor precentor

Marcin Bornus-Szczyciński – quinta vox, cantor

Paweł Szczyciński – tenor

Leszek Kubiak – bassus

Krzysztof Tomaszewski – cornetto

Piotr Wawreniuk – principal trombone

Michał Kilian – trombone secundo

Piotr Dąbrowski – trombone tertio

Robert Krajewski – trombone bass

 

Grzegorz Gerwazy Gorczycki Sarmatian Choir:

cantus:  Urszula Dobrowolska, Marta Dobrowolska-Pigoń, Marzena Grzymała, Emilia Jermolaviciute, Aleksandra Karbowniczek, Ewelina Krzywka – magistra chori, Monika Miazga, Hanna Pasierska, Wiktoryna Puzanowska, Joanna Sipika, Agnieszka Skórzewska-Skowron, Agata Zalewska

altus:  Paulina Kukiz, Monika Katarzyna Pawelec, Mateusz Pigoń, Aleksander Rutkowski, Paulina Szagżdowicz

tenor:  Marek Czapiński, Antoni Kamiński, Michał Krzywka – cantor, Paweł Łaźniak, Krzysztof Hubert Olszyński, Adam Skobliński, Marcin Szargut, Jan Traczyk, Tomasz Traczyk

bassus:   Piotr Górka, Edmund Kuna, Jerzy Modrzejewski, Krzysztof Ochnik, Maciej Reda, Lech Templin, Kamil Watkowski, Konrad Zagajewski

Music leadership – Robert Pożarski

 

 

 

 

1.        Fanfara – O polskich królach – anonymous, tablature from the Closter of Holy Spirit

2.        Epistola de Sigismundus Rex according to De accentum ecclesiasticorum of Jerzy Liban

3.        Introitus Benedicta sit – Nicolaus Cracoviensis, tablature of Joannis de Lublin

4.        Introitus Benedicta sit Graduale SOP fr. Wiktoryn

5.         KyrieGraduale SOP fr. Wiktoryn / Missa Te Deum Krzysztof Borek

6.         Gloria Graduale SOP fr. Wiktoryn / Missa Te Deum Krzysztof Borek

7.        Lectio Epistole beati Pauli – dominican chant

8.        Graduale Benedictus es Graduale SOP fr. Wiktoryn

9.        Praeambulum in a per h – anonymous, tablature of Joannis de Lublin

10.    Alleluia Benedictus es Graduale SOP fr. Wiktoryn

11.    Evangelium secundum Joannem – dominican chant

12.    Resolutum per Nicolaum Cracoviensis – tablature of Joannis de Lublin

13.    Credo – Graduale SOP fr. Wiktoryn / Missa Te Deum Krzysztof Borek

14.    Offertorium Benedictus sit Graduale SOP fr. Wiktoryn

15.    Sanctus - Missa Te Deum Krzysztof Borek

16.    Praeambulum super f – anonymous, tablature of Joannis de Lublin

17.   Agnus Dei - Graduale SOP fr. Wiktoryn / Missa Te Deum Krzysztof Borek

18.    Communio Benedicimus Deum Graduale SOP fr. Wiktoryn

19.    Hymnus Te Deum alternatim – Krzysztof Borek / dominican chant

20.    Benedicamus DominoGraduale SOP fr. Wiktoryn

21.    Wesel się polska Korona – Nicolaus Cracoviensis, tablature of Joannis de Lublin

22.    Jeśli greccy Hektorowie, Pieśń VI Kaliopy słowieńskiej, Krzysztof Klabon