2013 – 2014
I. POLONAISE! The Golden Age
|Opening concert marking the Early Music Foundation 4th Triennial
in partnership with the Polish Cultural Institute New York
FREDERICK RENZ will conduct the EARLY MUSIC NEW YORK (EM/NY) classical orchestra in festive polonaises, symphonies & divertimenti by Lithuanian Prince Maciej Radziwiłł, Polish composers Adam Haczewski, Jan Engel, Michał Orłowski, Michał Ogiński, and first modern performance of polonaises by Johan David Zander of Sweden.
The period of Polish Enlightenment began in the 1730s-1740s, peaking during the reign of Poland's last king, Stanisław August Poniatowski (1764-95). A patron of the arts and learning, he was affectionately known as Król Staś (King Stash). The eighteenth century was a time of major development for Warsaw in particular, replacing Krakow as the center of Poland. Warsaw became a favorite meeting place for the who's who in the world of art, literature, intellectuals and statesmen under Stanisław II.
At the end of the century, Poland's classical music evolved into national forms like the polonaise, the first distinctively Polish art music. Dance music, especially the mazurka and polonaise, was consequently popularized in the romantic era with the compositions and dazzling performances by Frederick Chopin.
The name "polonaise" is virtually the French word for Polish, identifying its origin among the Polish aristocracy who had borrowed a folk dance called chodzony to function as an entry processional (as the stately Renaissance pavan). This so-called polonaise, popularized throughout Europe, was then embraced by the Polish to become an integral part of their culture and national identity.
|Corporate & private foundation funds for this performance|
West Harlem Development Corp. of Tides Foundation
The Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation
and the Polish & Slavic Federal Credit Union
II. GOOD KING WENCESLAS: A Bohemian Christmas
Medieval/Renaissance Chamber Ensemble of men's voices and ancient instruments -
Recorded by EM/NY in association with the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the repertoire on the CD "A Bohemian Christmas " serves as a point of departure for this year's holiday program. Cathedral Artist in Residence, Early Music New York will celebrate another joyous holiday season, bringing in its thirty-ninth New Year to traditionally sold-out performances in the month of December.
St. Wenceslas (Václave), prince and martyr (ca. 907-929), is the patron saint of the Czech lands, Bohemia and Moravia. Whereas the theme of the familiar English Christmas carol "Good King Wenceslas" has no historical basis, the famous Czech song Svatý Václave ("St. Wenceslas"), probably originating from the beginning of the 14th century, is an invocation of this beloved saint.
Bohemia, situated in central Europe, occupying the western and middle thirds of the present-day Czech Republic, has nurtured so many heterogeneous cultural elements that its history reveals periods in which no one type of music can be singled out as particularly characteristic. Foreign influences, easily assimilated by the Bohemians, helped to mold the culture of their country; the final result is a combination of foreign cultural influences by the various indigenous national groups.
III. EAST OF THE ELBE: Telemann's Volksmusik
Frederick Renz conducts Georg Philipp Telemann suites and concerti influenced by the folk music of Eastern Europe along with Johann Sebastian Bach's "Polonaise" for flute & orchestra, and a newly transcribed Intrada, including a 'Polonoise', from a Swedish manuscript by "di Singe Heinrich."
In 1704 Telemann received an invitation to become Kapellmeister for the court of Count Erdmann II of Promnitz at Sorau (now Żary, in Poland). This new position allowed him to study contemporary French music, which was particularly popular at the court. Also, when the court spent six months in Pleß (now Pszczyna), Telemann had an opportunity to hear and study Polish and Moravian folk music, which fascinated and inspired him. In performing his duties at the court, Telemann was as prolific as in Leipzig, composing at least two hundred ouvertures (suites), by his own recollection, and other works.
In 1733, J.S. Bach dedicated his Missa, BWV 232a (Kyrie & Gloria of what would later become his monumental Mass in b minor) to August III, King of Poland, Grand Duke of Lithuania in honor of his succession to the Saxon electorate, with the hope of appointment as Court Composer, a title Bach received three years later. Perhaps the "Polonaise" from Bach's orchestra suite (also in b minor), composed before 1738/39, was meant as a nod of gratitude.
Partial funding for this performance provided by
The Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation.
IV. VOX SONAT: Echoes O'er the Alps
In 1588, a collection of Italian madrigals was published with English words entitled "Musica Transalpina" to satisfy a new taste and voracious appetite of England's elite. This title could just as easily, or perhaps, more fittingly, be applied to the prodigious practice of Italian composer/musicians being called to foreign courts in Austria, Czech lands, Germany, and Poland.
The birth of the baroque period in Italy spawned numerous 'offspring' who migrated northward in voluminous numbers to spread the style originated by the likes of Giovanni Gabrieli and Claudio Monteverdi. Italian composers (Antonio Bertali and Giovanni Battista Buonamente, - court musicians/composers to Emperor Ferdinand II's Imperial Hapsburg Court in Vienna, Biagio Marini - occupying posts in Brussels, Belgium and Düsseldorf, Germany, Carlo Farina - working as concertmaster in Dresden with Heinrich Schütz, who interested him in composing and later became a prominent member of the electoral court orchestra in Bonn.
Marcin Mielczewski introduced this new vogue as composer/musician of the Royal Chapel in Warsaw, Poland, while German composers (Michael Praetorius, Heinrich Schütz) and Austrian composers (Ignaz Biber, Heinrich Schmelzer) took up the new Italian style with gusto to make it their own.
Continuing EM/NY's concert season of Eastern European (Polish & Czech) repertoire and influence, director Frederick Renz has unearthed programmatic instrumental pieces entitled, "Polnischer Sackpfeiffen" (Polish Bagpipes) and "Sonata Jocunda" (A Jocose Sonata), illustrating the integration of native folk tunes/dances with the prevailing Italian style.
Mezzo soprano Catherine Hedberg will sing Heinrich Schütz's "Erbarm dich" and Stanisław Sylwester Szarzyński's "Jesu spes mea" accompanied by the EM/NY string band (sextet) and its contingent of continuo players (lute/theorbo, guitar, harp accompaniment) to evoke 17th-century echoes from across the Alps.
This concert series is made possible in part with public funds from the
New York City Department of Cultural Affairs,
the New York State Council on the Arts with
the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and
the New York State Legislature, and the
generosity of EMF's Friends of Early Music.
The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine, (Chapel of Saint James)
Amsterdam Avenue at 112th Street, New York, NY 10025
Located in Morningside Heights, adjacent to the Columbia University campus, the Cathedral is easily reached by public transportation: Buses M4, M11, M104; Subway #1 to 110th Street & Broadway. Parking is available in nearby garages on 112th and 114th Streets.
Performances take place in the Cathedral's intimate Chapel of St James. Our ticket table will be just outside the entrance to the Chapel. Tickets are available for purchase or pickup (Will Call) one half hour before curtain.
[Call for information regarding disability access 212-280-0330]
First Church of Christ, Scientist
Central Park West at 68th Street, New York, NY 10023
EM/NY's new, “best kept secret,” Lincoln Square performance venue —
Near Lincoln Center, the First Church of Christ, Scientist faces Central Park at 68th St. and is reached via the M72, M10 and Columbus Ave. M7 & M11 bus lines; subways B & C to 72nd at Central Park West (70th St. exit) & #1 to 66th at Broadway. Parking garages are available along W. 68th and W. 66th Streets.
[Call for information regarding disability access 212-280-0330]