Welcome to Harmonia… I’m Angela Mariani. Cześć [CHE-sh-ch] and hello! This hour on Harmonia we travel to Poland to explore music of Kraków and the Polish Golden Age. Our featured release is the 2017 recording The Art of the Harpsichord: From Cabezón to Mozart. Harpsichordist Byron Schenkman takes us on an adventure to the National Music Museum in Vermillion, South Dakota.
Although he had Italian parents, Diomedes Cato [DEE-oh-meh-des CA-toe] probably never knew Italy. His Protestant family fled Italy, escaping the Inquisition when Diomedes was an infant in the 1560s. They settled in the Polish capital, Kraków. Cato became famous as a lutenist and composer in Sweden, as well as Poland. He was one of the first Italian-born composers to visit Sweden. As a well-respected musician, Cato’s presence in Sweden wasn’t so unexpected—during Cato’s life, Sigismund III of Vasa ruled over a seemingly disjunct kingdom including modern-day Sweden, Poland, and Lithuania. Today, Sigismund III is best remembered for moving the Polish capital from Kraków to Warsaw, where it remains.
We’ll hear three dances by Diomedes Cato, where we can imagine the lavish parties of Sigismund III’s brief composite monarchy.
Three dance pieces by late Renaissance composer Diomedes Cato, perhaps for the Polish, Lithuanian, and Swedish court of Sigismund III. We heard “Chorae polonicae no.3,” “Gagliarda,” and “Favorito” performed by the ensemble Sabionetta from their 2013 release The Polish: 16th Century Music.
The movement of the Polish capital from Kraków to its current city, Warsaw, in 1596 was seen by some as the end of the Polish Golden Age. At its peak in the 16th century, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth had nearly 11 million inhabitants, and boasted one of the strongest economies in Europe. We’ll hear songs of victory, from a CD titled Music of the Polish Golden Age. We can hear the majesty of the joint kingdom in these songs of victory by Krzysztof [KE-resh-toff *flip the “r”] Klabon, who was the first conductor of the Royal Chapel in Warsaw, under Sigismund.
Three pieces from Songs of the Slavonic Calliope: On the Recent Victory at Byczyna [be-CHE-nah]—ensemble Trombastic and vocalists directed by Piotr Wawreniuk [wa-VREN-yuk ?] and Robert Krajewski [CRY-yev-sky (flup the “r”].
At the pinnacle of Polish influence in Europe, Poland enjoyed religious freedom, a flourishing science community, and a powerful economy. If Copernicus’ sun-centric model was the major advance in science, the Psalter of David and accompanying Melodies of the Polish Psalter may be the most important artistic achievement. With a text by Jan Kochanowski [YAN COE-ha-noff-skee] and music by Mikołaj [MEE-ko-lai (like “Nikolai”)] Gomółka [go-MOOL-kah], this late 16th-century work reflected the religious diversity of Poland. Unusually, it was written to appeal to both Catholic and Protestant believers.
We’ll hear Mikołaj Gomółka’s Setting of Psalm 77, “To thee my crying call, To thee my calling cry.”
Psalm 77, “To thee my crying call,” by Polish Renaissance composer, Mikołaj Gomółka. We heard soprano Paulina Ceremuzynska [TSER-eh-mooz-in-skah], guitarist Fermando Reyes, and percussionist Carlos Castro on that 2015 Accord recording Psalms of the Golden Age.
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Harmonia is a program of early music that comes to you from the studios of WFIU at Indiana University. Partial support for Harmonia comes from PENN-CO incorporated of Bedford, Indiana. Partial support also comes from Early Music America, fostering the performance, scholarship, and community of early music…on the web at EarlyMusicAmerica-DOT-org. I’m Angela Mariani.
This hour, we’re exploring music from Kraków and Poland’s Golden Age. Long before Poland’s rise to power, Polish music was used in sacred and secular spaces to glorify God and country. Warriors sang the anthem “Gaudate, mater Polonia” to celebrate military victories. A popular tune in 13th century Poland, the piece was written to remember Saint Stanisław [Stanislov] Szczepanowski [SHTEP-a-nov-skee], bishop of Kraków. Poles enjoyed instrumental music as well—Mikolaj [like “Nikolai” with an M] Radomski [roll R—RA-dom-skee] wrote in early Renaissance Kraków. We’ll hear the medieval anthem “Gaudate, mater Polonia” and Radomski’s “Ballade,” performed by Ars Nova.
“Ballade” by Mikolaj Radomski. Before that, we heard an anonymous 13th-century vocal setting of “Gaudate, mater Polonia.” Janek Urbaniak [YAH-neck OOR-bahn-yahk] directed Ars Nova in that Dux release, Bogurodzica: [BOE-go-road-gee-tsah] Polish Medieval Music.
Across the Atlantic, and several centuries years later, we find ourselves at The National Music Museum, in Vermillion, South Dakota, for our featured release. It was here that harpsichordist Byron Schenkman fell head over heels in love with playing on historical harpsichords. In his latest recording, The Art of the Harpsichord: From Cabezón to Mozart, Schenkman takes us on a journey—we’ll hear over three hundred years of music played on original keyboard instruments in a single room.
Here is the decadent “La pothoüin” [POH-thei-ohn ? ] by French baroque composer Jacques Duphly. [DOO-fee]
Jacques Duphly’s “La pothoüin.” Byron Schenkman, from our featured release, The Art of the Harpsichord: From Cabezón to Mozart.
We’ll conclude with two pieces that show the depth of the collection of instruments at the National Music Museum—first, “Diferencias sobre el canto llano del caballero” by Spanish Renaissance composer Antonio de Cabezón. We wallow in the dark majesty of this 16th-century instrument. Contrast that with the soaring melody and crisp brilliance of Haydn’s Sonata in D Major, Hoboken 16, number 24 from the late 18th century.
Harpsichordist Byron Schenkman performing the Finale from Haydn’s Sonata in D Major preceded by a set of diferencias by Antonio de Cabezón.
More music, stories, history, recordings, and other information about the world of early music can be found on our Harmonia Early Music Podcasts, online at harmonia early music dot org and through iTunes. You’re listening to Harmonia.
Harmonia is a production of WFIU, and part of the educational mission of Indiana University. Additional resources come from the William and Gayle Cook Music Library at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.
We welcome your thoughts about any part of this program, or about early music in general. You can leave a comment or question any time by visiting harmonia early music dot org and clicking on "Contact."
The writer for this edition of Harmonia was Sarah Schilling.
Thanks to our studio engineer Michael Paskash and our staff – Wendy Gillespie and LuAnn Johnson. Additional technical support comes from KTTZ at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas.
Our producer is Elizabeth Clark, our executive producer is John Bailey, and I’m Angela Mariani, inviting you to join us again for the next edition of Harmonia.