Celebrated Director of the National Forum of Music, Andrzej Kosendiak has earned an enviable reputation as one of the most active and committed organizers of musical life in Poland. He graduated from the Department of Composition, Conducting and Music Theory of Wrocław Music Academy. In 2013 he obtained the academic degree of doctor habilitatus. For many years he taught at his Alma Mater, where from 2001 to 2009 he was head of the Cross-Department Early Music Studies program. Since 2014 he has been Professor at the S. Moniuszko Academy of Music in Gdańsk. In 2005 he became Director of the Wrocław Philharmonic and the International Festival Wratislavia Cantans.
Early music is of particular interest to Andrzej Kosendiak, and thus in 1985 he founded the Collegio di Musica Sacra and has continued to direct the ensemble to date. The group has performed throughout Europe and in the United States, where they collaborated with Chapel Hill University in North Carolina. They have also appeared at the most prestigious festivals and concert venues in Poland. His catalogue of recordings includes previously obscure works taken from the Wrocław University Library – Musica da chiesa (DUX), and from the Strasbourg Library - F. X Richter: 'Missa Pastorale', Dixit, Magnificat (CYPRES) as well as A. M. Bononcini’s Stabat Mater (DUX). In 2012 and 2014 he released two discs with works by G. G. Gorczycki (CD Accord) which he directed. The first disc was awarded the Wrocław Music Prize and was nominated for Fryderyk Award. As a conductor he performs regularly with the NFM Wrocław Philharmonic and NFM Choir, as well as the Wrocław Baroque Orchestra and other philharmonic ensembles across Poland. In recent years he has conducted Haydn’s The Creation, Handel’s Messiah, Mozart’s Mass in C minor and Requiem, Bach’s Mass in B flat minor and both Passions, which have become an annual performance tradition in Wrocław during the Holy Week, as well as Fauré’s Requiem, and Britten’s Saint Nicolas.
Jarosław Thiel is a graduate of the Poznań School of Talents. He studied cello at both the Academy of Music in Poznań and the Academy of Music in Łódź, Poland. Since 1997, he has been focused on historical performance. He completed his post-graduate studies in Baroque cello at the Universität der Künste in Berlin, having worked with Phoebe Carrai and Markus a Möllenbeck. Thiel has participated in master classes run by Christine Kypranides at the Dresdner Akademie für Alte Musik and has collaborated with the most important Polish ensembles specialising in early music. Thiel has been the first cellist with the Dresdner Barockorchester and a member of the Festspiel Orchester Göttingen led by Laurence Cummings since 2000. He also works with leading German ensembles, such as Cantus Cölln, Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, and Lautten Compagney. He regularly performs as a soloist and chamber musician in connection with festivals of early music world-wide. He currently teaches Baroque cello at the Academy of Music in Poznań and the Summer Academy of Early Music in Lidzbark Warmiński, Poland. In 2006 he was appointed Artistic Director of the Wrocław Baroque Orchestra.
The oratory La Decollazione di San Giovanni Battista (The revelation of St. John the Baptist) by Antonio Maria Bononcini is a representative of the little-known tradition of oratorios in the Italian language composed at the Hapsburg court. The tradition was widespread between the second half of the seventeenth and the first three decades of the eighteenth centuries. The genre played a significant role in the religious-musical events of the imperial court, where Italian culture and language represented more than mere esthetic models. From the rein of Leopold I onward, Italian had become the official language of the court and of the monarchs, who proudly qualified themselves as the Holy Roman Empire. At the beginning of the eighteenth century, authors including Johann Joseph Fux, Antonio Caldara, and Giovanni and Antonio Maria Bononcini brought the Viennese oratorio to its pinnacle. They clarified the stylistic differences that distinguished it from opera, turning to the strict rigorous style characterized by a simple and effective counterpoint and the moderate use of virtuosity in the vocal parts.
La Decollazione di San Giovanni Battista was written for the Lent celebrations of 1709 at the chapel of Emperor Giuseppe I. Unlike Italy, in Vienna, the sacred works were an integral part of the liturgical function. Thus the oratory is divided into two parts leaving room for the liturgical sermon to serve as an interlude. The text was drawn from the abbot Giovanni Domenico Filippesch, tells the story of John the Baptist from the New Testament. The protagonists are Battista (alto), King Erod (bass), his wife Erodia (soprano), and her daughter Salome (soprano).
Alixandra Porembski, English Language Annotator