Wacław z Szamotuł - SUB URSAE
We present you with the latest phonographic publication entitled SUB URSAE Wacław z Szamotuł Venceslaus Samotulinus ca. 1525 – ca.1560. opera omnia.
This is a unique publishing project, especially important for Polish culture. The album contains all known works of the Polish composer of the Renaissance – Wacław of Szamotuły – considered to be the most outstanding Polish composer before Chopin.
The publishing house is also exceptional in that it contains the premiere recording of the found and reconstructed longest composition of Wacław from Szamotuły – Lamentationes. The world premiere of Lamentationes took place during two concerts as part of this year’s 15th Misteria Paschalia Festival in Krakow and in Szamotuły in April 2018.
World premiere of a renaissance reconstructed composition, he took the Honorary Patronage of prof. dr hab. Piotr Gliński I Vice-president of the Council of Ministers Minister of Culture and National Heritage.
Wacław z Szamotuł - słowo i muzyka
The word layer of Wacław of Szamotuły’s vocal works is comprised by carefully-selected pearls of the 16 th -century Polish language. Among the authors of the texts that were utilized by the composer, we shall find names of such stature as Mikołaj Rej, Andrzej Trzecieski the Younger and Jakub of Iłża. The ideological underpinnings of the songs are Reformation tendencies common to the artists, who knew and were friendly with each other.
Here, the poetic word – a translation of a psalm or an original work of the poet – has a parenetic function (parenesis, from the Greek παραινεσις [parainesis] – instruction, counsel, encouragement, rule): it very clearly polarizes the good attitude to be imitated for one’s spiritual development and – by way of caution – the attitude worthy of condemnation. These instructions, adorned with the linguistic riches of 16 th -century Polish, as well as masterful versification craft, were intended to directly reach the faithful of the congregation, who – during their contact with the beauty of word and music – were supposed to naturally
assimilate and realize them in their everyday life.
Particularly great service was rendered to the Polish language of the time by Mikołaj Rej (1505–1569), known as ‘the father of Polish literature’. Rej was the first writer whose entire œuvre was written in Polish. The poet not only revealed the beauty of Polish, but formed original foundations for his own literary program, creating a very rich and vivid language. Rej successfully imitated the element of colloquial speech in stories full of broad humor, but also skillfully applied the rules of high style, e.g. in prose and verse translations of the psalms. Psalm 85 Nakłoń, Panie, ku mnie ucho Twoje (Inclina Domine aurem tuam), recorded on the present album, is a supplicatory prayer in which the believer raises a trustful cry for mercy. Each strophe is comprised of two quatrains: the first, decasyllabic; and the second, a combination of three octosyllabic verses and one decasyllable. Disturbance of the rhythmic process in the middle of the strophe shows emotional tension: an emphatic entreaty expressed in concise sentences interrupted, as it were, by shortened breath. The plea is raised by a person full of remorse. This attitude is in keeping with the image of Rej, who aimed to have people remember him as a simple, but sensible and wise person. Such a personality pattern was characteristic of Protestant congregations. It stood opposed to the learned men representing the Catholic theology developed over the centuries. The wealth of genres he used, the vividness of his language and his erudition meant that a close friend of both Rej and Wacław of Szamotuły, Andrzej Trzecieski the Younger (ca. 1530–1584), wrote about him: ‘Noster hic est Dantes’ [‘This is our Dante’].
Trzecieski is another author of texts utilized by the composer from Szamotuły. He was a true Renaissance man: a poet, humanist and Reformation activist in one person. Like Rej, he was an active participant in the Protestant synods. He was distinguished by his meticulous education, open mind and readiness to engage in dialogue with people of different faiths and worldviews. He was a member of the team of translators and editors for the translation of the Holy Scriptures into Polish, published in 1563, that went down in literary history as the Brześć Bible or the Radziwiłł Bible – one of the most valuable historic objects of translation art from that era. Even before embarking on this endeavor, Trzecieski enjoyed high esteem among Protestant activists in Germany and Switzerland. This is attested by a letter addressed to the poet by John Calvin himself, in which the reformer heartily encouraged Trzecieski – ‘a man of extraordinary piety and learning’ – to undertake the translation of the Holy Scriptures into his native language, because he was called to this by God by virtue of his talents and
strengths (divinitus electus). Trzecieski wrote over 6000 poems in Latin, nearly equaling in number those written by Jan Kochanowski. His poems in Polish are above all from the hymn œuvre, texts of religious songs intended for congregational singing, written to melodies by Wacław of Szamotuły, collected by Jan Zaremba and published by a Brześć Litewski press (1558), and then reprinted in Jan Seklucjan’s Pieśni chrześcijańskie [Christian Songs] (1559).
It is a portion of these that comprises the program of the present album. The poetic language of these songs, in combination with his Latin œuvre, is characterized by intentional simplicity derived from the spirit of Protestantism, not infrequently enriched with refined and concealed stylistic operations, e.g. the acrostic via which Trzecieski reveals his identity in the General Confession (Ach, moj niebieski Panie [Ah, Father mine in heaven]). Trzecieski’s hymn poetry
represents prayer full of humility and devotion, expressed in an intimate, ingenuous, even childlike tone, crying for mercy as well as for defense against threats lying in wait for the soul (Modlitwa, gdy dziatki spać idą [Prayer when the children go to sleep]). Besides Trzecieski’s original texts, the album also contains psalms in his translation: Błogosławiony człowiek (Psalm 1) oraz I ktoż będzie przemieszkawał (Psalm 14). Both works very clearly fit into the spirituality and rigorous mores of Calvinism. In them, we are dealing with praise of the virtuous person who loves the Law of the Lord – so, divine law – as well as with specific instructions that guarantee salvation. Among the works placed in Zaremba’s and Seklucjan’s hymnals, particularly noteworthy is the Latin prayer Oratio pro republica et rege with Polish translation by Jakub of Lublin, entitled Modlitwa za Rzeczpospolitą i Króla [Prayer for the Republic and the King] – considered by some to be ‘Poland’s first national anthem’ – also recorded on the album.
The last of the poets mentioned and, at the same time, the oldest author of the texts for Wacław of Szamotuły’s songs is Jakub of Ilża – one of the first champions of the Reformation in Poland. During his studies at the Kraków Academy, he met the leading thinkers of Italian humanism, as well as students and professors from Germany who were propagating the ideas of Martin Luther. Having acquainted himself with the teachings of Lutheranism, and already being a Roman Catholic priest, he became an ardent confessor of the new faith. Wacław of Szamotuły set his text entitled Pieśni o narodzeniu Pańskim [Songs of the Nativity of the Lord]. The work begins with an invitation to the faithful to glorify God the Father for the mystery of the incarnation of the Son of God. The contrast between the human and the divine was expressed by Jakub of Ilża in the concise distich of the first strophe, describing Mary: ‘And in the cradle she laid / the King of Heaven.’ A joyful mood and glory – the word recurring most frequently – accompany the incomprehensible miracle of the Nativity of the Savior.
The poetic choices of Wacław of Szamotuły are, on the one hand, testimony of his conscious and mature spiritual evolution; and on the other, they reveal a picture of a composer extraordinarily sensitive and receptive to the poetic word.
Aleksandra Krzywdzińska, Liliana Pociecha – sopranos
Katarzyna Freiwald, Katarzyna Kucia – altos
Karol Kusz, Rafał Tomkiewicz – tenors
Łukasz Dziuba, Marek Opaska – bases
Marc Lewon – lute
Agnieszka Budzińska-Bennett – artistic direction
01 – Oratio pro Republica et Rege
02 – Chrześcijanie posłuchajcie (Dekalog więtszy)
03 – Christe qui lux es et dies (chorał)
04 – Kryste dniu naszej światłości (Christe qui lux es et dies)
05 – Nunc scio vere (wersja instrumentalna)
Lamentationes Hieremiae Prophetae
06 – Lamentatio prima: Prologus/Aleph/Beth/Gimel
07 – Lamentatio secunda: Daleth/He/Vau
08 – Lamentatio tertia: Heth/Teth/Iod/Caph
09 – Ego sum pastor bonus
10 – Błogosławiony człowiek (ps. 1)
11 – Ach mój niebieski Panie (Powszednia spowiedź)
12 – Już się zmierzka (Modlitwa gdy dziatki spać idą)
13 – Benedictio mensae/[Piosnka przed obiadem]/Gratiarum actio post mensam/[Dziękowanie]
14 – Alleluia Chwalcie Pana Boga (ps. 116)
15 – Chwała Bogu z wysokości (wersja instrumentalna)
16 – I któż będzie przemieszkawał (ps. 14)
17 – Nakłoń Panie ku mnie ucho Twoje (ps. 85)
18 – In Te Domine speravi
19 – Pochwalmyż wszytcy społem (Pieśń o Narodzeniu Pańskim)
Subsidised by the National Centre for Culture under the programme “Kultura – Interwencje 2018”
Financed by the Municipal Council of Szamotuły
Project implemented with financial support from the Małopolska Region
Financed by the municipality of Kraków
Financed by the Union of Performing Artists STOART
Partner: Krakow Festival Office
Producer: Fundacja Equinum