For many years, Andrzej Kosendiak’s great passion has been bringing old Polish music back to concert life. During the concert with the Wrocław Baroque Ensemble, Kosendiak will conduct the works of three outstanding composers of the Baroque era: Grzegorz Gerwazy Gorczycki, Damian Stachowicz and Stanisław Sylwester Szarzyński.
Gorczycki was a widely educated artist. He studied philosophy in Prague and then theology in Vienna. It is not known (paradoxically) where he was educated in composition. From 1698 until his death in 1734, Gorczycki performed an exposed and important function of the vocal and instrumental Kapellmeister of the Wawel cathedral chapel. His oeuvre includes religious works for various lineups. They show him as a thoroughly educated artist, from whom the late Renaissance polyphonic techniques had no secrets. In addition to the somewhat raw-sounding works, Gorczycki also wrote virtuoso compositions intended for extended lineups, characterized by rich colours, full of singing melodies. This trend in his work includes the works that we will hear on 19 February: In virtute tua, Laetatus sum and Completorium. The manuscript of Completorium was found after the Second World War in the archives of the parish church in Raków Opatowski near Kielce. It is one of the most important surviving compositions by Gorczycki – an elaboration of the last service of the Liturgy of the Hours, usually held late in the evening. The work consists of five parts, each of which is a testimony to the composer’s great skill and creativity.
Stachowicz was also a well-educated artist, as well as a Piarist monk. Apart from music, he studied poetics, rhetoric, and philosophy, and became a professor of philosophy at the Piarist College in Łowicz. He was a composer valued in his time, and his works sounded, among others in Łowicz, Wieluń, Brest and in many Piarist centres, possibly also in Warsaw. The concert programme includes his piece Veni Consolator.
Szarzyński, on the other hand, is a very mysterious figure. It is certain that he belonged to the Cistercian order and was associated with the Primate’s chapel in Łowicz, where manuscripts of his works have been preserved. He was probably a relative of the poet Mikołaj Sęp Szarzyński. He wrote only ten works that we know of. The only instrumental piece among them is the Sonata for two violins and basso continuo, one of the most beautiful pieces of Polish Baroque.