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.
Agnieszka Franków-Żelazny graduated from the University of Wrocław in 2000 with a degree in biology. That year, she founded the Kameralny Chór Akademii Medycznej (Medici Cantantes Choir at the Medical University of Wrocław). In 2004, she received a diploma from the Karol Lipiński Academy of Music in Wrocław, where she studied Music Education and was awarded a diploma in 2005 from the Vocal Department. During this time, she was honoured with the first prize in the National Contest for Choir Conductors. In 2006, she completed the Postgraduate Voice Production and Training Programme at the Academy of Music in Bydgoszcz. Since June 2006, Franków-Żelazny has been the artistic director of the National Forum of Music Choir. In 2008, she was awarded a special prize for conductors from the 39th Legnica Cantat National Choir Contest. Franków-Żelazny became the head of Polish National Youth Choir, which she also founded, in 2013. She completed course work at the Academy of Culture Leaders at the Economic University of Kraków, in 2014 and was distinguished with the Gloria Artis Bronze Medal for Merit to Culture. The following January, she was named the programme director of the Choral Academy of the National Forum of Music. In 2016, Franków-Żelazny was a music curator for the year that Wrocław served as the European Capital of Culture. The album DE PROFUNDIS – Polish Psalms of the 20th and 21st Century with the NMF Choir under her direction was awarded the Fryderyk prize for the best choral, oratorio and orchestra music, 2017. She currently works as an Associate Professor at the Academy of Music in Wrocław.
Johann Sebastian Bach was born on March 31, 1685, in Eisenach, Thuringia, Germany. At the age of ten, he was orphaned after the death of both of his parents and sent to live with his older brother Johann Christoph, a church organist in Ohrdruf. Young Bach had a beautiful singing voice and it helped him to access a place at school in Lüneburg. There he was greatly influenced by the local organist, George Böhm. In 1703, he secured his first job as a musician at the court of Duke Johann Ernst in Weimar.
Bach’s reputation as a performer spread and his technical skill led to his selection as the organist at the New Church in Arnstadt. However, in 1707, Bach was glad to leave Arnstadt for an organist position in Mühlhausen. After a year at the Church of St. Blaise in Mühlhausen, Bach was then appointed organist at the court of Duke Wilhelm Ernst in Weimar. In 1717, Bach accepted another position with Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Cöthen. While at Cöthen, he devoted much of his time to instrumental music. Yet, he had to turn his attention to finding work when the prince dissolved his orchestra in 1723.
It was at that point that Bach signed a contract to become the new organist and teacher at St. Thomas Church, in Leipzig. Due to circumstances at St. Thomas, new music was needed for services each week and Bach occupied himself with writing cantatas. In the 1730’s Bach wrote four masses in Latin, and it is thought that he did so in order to strengthen the ties with the Catholic King August III, in Dresden. In Leipzig, as opposed to other Lutheran localities, an uncharacteristic amount of Latin was used in church, though a few traditional Latin texts, such as the Magnificat and excerpts of the Mass liturgy, were not completely banned from worship during the Protestant Reformation. A Latin mass, it was thought, could be used on far more occasions than the German cantata due to its neutral character and Bach is known to have drawn the material for his masses from his own favourite cantatas.
Antonio Lucio Vivaldi was born on March 4, 1678, in Venice, Italy. His father, Giovanni Battista Vivaldi, was a violinist. Young Vivaldi was thus able to study music with the finest musicians and composers in Venice. His career began when he was named maestro di violino (master of violin) at the Ospedale della Pietà (Devout Hospital of Mercy) in Venice in 1703. He wrote most of his major compositions over the next three decades. Beginning in 1713, Vivaldi composed sacred music for the Pietà, and in 1716, following his promotion to maestro de' concerti (music director), he crafted his finest oratorio Juditha triumphans. In 1718 he left Venice for Mantua and three of his operas were performed during that year’s Carnival celebrations. In 1725 the last four of his concerto publications appeared, leading with Il cimento dell'armonia e dell'invenzione, which contains the famous four-part masterpiece, The Four Seasons. From 1726 until 1728 he was engaged with opera at the S. Angelo theatre, once again, in Venice. Because Vivaldi is widely known for his instrumental music, his Gloria for chorus and orchestra, as well as his Magnificat are less often performed. Vivaldi ultimately left Venice hoping to find a position in the Imperial Court of Vienna, in Austria. However, he was not successful and without a patron following the death of Charles VI he died in poverty in Vienna on July 28, 1741.
Alixandra Porembski, English Language Annotator