Towards Unity in Diversity: Four Religious Rondo Concerti by Marcin Mielczewski

by Barbara Przybyszewska-Jarmińska

Translated by Wanda Wilk and Maria Anna Harley


At the end of the sixteenth century and during the first decades of the seventeenth century, the repertoire of religious music composed in Venice, other important Italian cities, as well as certain transalpine centers (such as Graz) contained numerous rondo concerti. Their form consisted of a refrain recurring in the course of the composition, contrasting couplets, and later on, an added instrumental introduction. According to the current stage of research, the known group of Polish composers from the first half of the seventeenth century did not display an interest in the form of the rondo concerto – especially the artists working in the Commonwealth. Benedictio et claritas (2C A 2T B, 2 vni, 4 tbni, b.c.) by Marcin Mielczewski (d.1651) was considered the only typical example of this architectonic arrangement in Polish music. However, the Emil Bohn Collection in the Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz in Berlin, which up to World War II belonged to the Stadtbibliothek in Wrocław among 40 compositions signed with the monogram “M.M.” and ascribed by the author to Marcin Mielczewski, contains three other rondo concerti: Currite populi (2 choirs C A T B, 2 vni, 4 tbni, org.), Ingredimini omnes (2C 2T B, 2 vn, 3 tbni, fg., org.), and Plaudite manibus (2C A 2T B, 2 vni, 3 tbni, fg., org.). These concerti are composed to texts whose fragments were used – also in rondo concerti – by the most outstanding Venetian composers (Giovanni Croce, Giovanni Gabrieli, Claudio Monteverdi and Alessandro Grandi). The article presents the rondo compositions by Mielczewski from the Bohn Collection, which are comparable to Benedictio at claritas. The author places a special emphasis on demonstrating the variety of the technical means, the differences in compositional outlines discernible in particular works, and the similarity of solutions applied in the rondo concerti signed by “M.M.” to those found in the vocal-instrumental religious compositions by Marcin Mielczewski that were identified earlier.

Translated by Aleksandra Rodzińska-Chojnowska



Concerti based on the formal outline of the rondo constituted an important segment of the religious repertoire, especially compositions for large ensembles, by the Venetians and other composers under their influence (including those active in the trans-Alpine countries), written at the end of the 16th century and in the first decades of the 17th century.[1]

These works consisted of a refrain, that appeared several times within the work (repeating both the text and its musical setting) alternating with couplets; sometimes the concerti also included instrumental introductions. The refrain was a homogeneous, independent section performed by the whole ensemble. It was usually in triple meter, and in homorhythmic texture with little rhythmic variety. The refrain were characterized by static melodies with a narrow range, syllabic text treatment, a declamatory character, and the simplest harmonies. The couplets contrasted with the refrains by being in duple meter and by using a variety of performing forces (e.g. intertwined segments composed for solo voices, ensembles – primarily duets – and short portions for tutti). Here, the composers juxtaposed homorhythmic and imitational textures, varied the melodic lines (of a wide range), and varied the rhythms and tempi.[2]

These types of works were written by the best Venetian composers (e.g. Giovanni Croce, Giovanni Gabrieli, Claudio Monteverdi, Alessandro Grandi), as well as by lesser known composers working in Venice or in other centers near Venice (e.g. Carlo Milanuzzi, Giovanni Battista Stefanini, Francesco Croati, Arcangelo Borsaro, Francesco Cavallo, Giovanni Maria Sabino and others). After some time, the genre also reached the trans-Alpine countries. The composer Giovanni Priuli, for example, was employed at the court of Archduke Ferdinand Hapsburg (the brother of two succeeding wives of Zygmunt Vasa the Third) in Graz.[3] The repertoire of Polish religious compositions known previously had not pointed to a popularity of this type of architectural structure of church concerti in the Polish Commonwealth in the first half of the 17th century. However, lately it has become possible to access works that were believed to have been lost. Thanks to this, the collection of compositions of Polish composers, in this period represented only by Marcin Mielczewski, that demonstrate the efforts to achieve a Baroque unity in the diversity that is characteristic for the stile concertato, has significantly increased in size.

A score of the concerto Benedictio et claritas by Marcin Mielczewski can be found in the Stadtbibliotek Preussischer Kulturbesitz in the former East Berlin. It is held in the Heinrich Bokemeyer Collection as a manuscript with the call number: Ms. Mus. 30184. The score was probably prepared in the 1790s by George Österreich, the Kapellmeister of the Ducal Ensemble in Gottorp (Schleswig-Holstein).[4] This work, designated for performance by an ensemble consisting of 2 sopranos, alto, 2 tenors, bass, 2 violins, 4 trombones, and basso continuo, was the object of research by Adolf Chybiński during the interwar period (between World War I and World War II); he determined that “it is one of the most spectacular works of the early Baroque in Poland.”[5] Zygmunt Szweykowski analyzed this work further, describing its form as a rondo concerto and referring to Benedictio et claritas as “the only example of this genre that has been preserved in our music in such clean, one could even say ‘classic’ form”[6]. Szweykowski also prepared two editions of this work[7] thus making it accessible to wider circles of researchers and performers.

The same Berlin library that houses the Heinrich Bokemeyer Collection also holds the Emil Bohn Collection which until World War II was the property of the Stadtbibliothek in Wrocław (Breslau). This collection of music manuscripts from the 16th & 17th centuries was catalogued in the 19th century by the Wrocław organist and lover of early music Emil Bohn[8] For years this collection had been regarded as lost. Under the call number: Bohn Mss. Mus. 170, one can find manuscripts gathered in Silesia around the middle of the 17th century and containing religious works signed only with the monogram “M.M.” In my opinion, this identifies Marcin Mielczewski as their author.[9]Among the almost forty works by Mielczewski preserved in this collection, there are three compositions, which – similarly to Benedictio et claritas – may be included among vocal-instrumental rondo concerti. They are:

  • Bohn Ms. Mus. 170, 10: Currite populi etc. / 8 voci concertati e 6 Instrum/enti] / M.M./ de Resurrectione Chri[sti]/ No 221/ – a composition for two 4-part choirs – soprano, alto, tenor, bass – as well as 2 violins, 4 trombones, and a part pro organo);[10]
  • Bohn Ms. Mus. 170, 16: Mutteto a 6 Voci / e 6 instrument[i] / Con 6 ripien[i]; / Ingredimini Omnes / M.M. / No. 224 (a composition for a vocal ensemble – 2 canti, alto, 2 tenors, bass – as well as 2 violins, 3 trombones, dulcian, a part pro organo, and 6 ripieno parts doubling the vocal parts in the tutti fragments);[11]
  • Bohn Ms. Mus. 170, 35: Plaudite manibus: 6 Voc[i]/ e/ 6 Instrument[i] / Con 6 ripien[i] [sic] / M.M. / No: 230 (the composition is scored for an identical ensemble as Ingredimini omnes; here, too, 6 ripieno parts double the vocal lines in the tutti fragments).[12]

Besides the above mentioned items, the Bohn Collection also contains a work beginning with the words “Gaudete omnes et exultate” (Bohn Ms. Mus. 170, 14) which includes an exact repetition of one of the sections. I do not count this composition in the group of rondo concerti, because the repetition of material (justified by the dramaturgy of the text) is introduced only at the end of the composition and does not have an actual form-bearing function of a refrain.

A common feature in terms of the textual component of these works, is the layout of the texts. In each instance, a summons (verbs in the imperative mode and the plural form) is used to express the joy that stems from religious experiences and from proclaiming the glory of God.[13] Many of such texts were utilized in the refrains in the rondo concerti. For example, Psallite Deo and Sit nomen benedictum from the posthumous edition of Sacrae cantilene concertate (Venezia 1610), as well as the text of a work known from the Pelplin Tablature[14] De B. Virgine Maria a 8 – Ingredimini omnes by Giovanni Croce[15] or Plaudite omnis terra from Sacrae Symphoniae…Libro Primo (Venice 1597) by Giovanni Gabrielli. One of the texts arranged by Mielczewski – Currite populi – was used by Claudio Monteverdi as a refrain in the solo rondo concerto published in the anthology Ghirlanda sacra by Leonard Simonetti (Venice 1625).[16] The text for the refrains in Monteverdi’s and Mielczewski’s concerti is identical, and in the text of the couplets, there is an almost identical fragment “Tibi laus, tibi gloria” in which only one word was changed: ‘amor” to “honor.” Besides this, the couplets differ fundamentally in regards to content – Monteverdi’s work may be perfect for celebrations in honor of any saint, while Mielczewski’s composition, praising Christ, is basically intended for the Resurrection Mass. Partial concordances with texts of rondo concerti from the Venetian repertoire or with the stylistically similar repertoire of the Ducal Chapel in Graz also emerge in the couplets from Plaudite manibus. The text used there, “O Jesu mi dulcissime, spes suspirantis animae” is known, for instance, in a work by Heinrich Pfendner, a musician in the service of Archduke Ferdinand;[17] this work is also preserved in the Bohn Collection.

Comparing the ways of dividing the text and the selection of literary material in the form of the refrain and couplets in the four rondo concerti under discussion, reveals that in Benedictio et claritas, a work in praise of God’s glory, these methods are the opposite to those used in the remaining three compositions. In this concerto, the refrain constitutes – to use Adolf Chybiński’s expression – a fanfare, a “monolithic” realization of the text as a declaration of adoration, praise and thanksgiving to God, while the calls to sing and play for the Lord, taken from various psalms (“Cantate domino opera eius,” “Cantate Domino in psalterio et cithara”) are set in the form of couplets. It is different in Currite populi, Ingredimini omnes and Plaudite manibus, all of which begin with calls to praise the Lord, which serve as the refrain (see Appendix I).

The architecture of the presented pieces, determined to a great extent by the structure of the verbal text, may serve as an example of the diverse characteristics of the religious concerti in the early Baroque. This diversity is apparent, above all, in the couplets, created from a mosaic of varied, brief segments of soli and ensemble (especially in Plaudite manibus, Benedictio et claritas, as well as in the second couplet from Ingredimini omnes). The more homogenous form of the couplets appear in the first couplets of Currite populi and Ingredimini omnes. The formal unity of these works is guaranteed by the repeats of the refrains which recur two or three times and consist of longer, closed fragments performed by the whole tutti (See Appendix II). The instrumental ensemble is typically used within the framework of concertizing. Only in Benedictio et claritas the instruments perform also an introductory sonata. Finally, none of these works feature internal, instrumental ritornelli.

The four compositions discussed here consist of between 145 and 162 measures. Their multi-sectional forms may be captured in the following outlines, segmented by the appearances of the refrain (A):

  • Benedictio et claritas: Sonata – A – B – A – C – A – Coda
  • Currite populi: A – B – A – C
  • Ingredimini omnes: A – B – A – C
  • Plaudite manibus: A – B – A – C – A – D

In the different works, the A sections occupy approximately the following percentage of the total number of measures: 31% (if one were to omit the instrumental introduction – 45%), 41%, 44%, and 37% respectively. The common features of the refrains are: (1) consistent performance setting (entire ensemble), (2) the predominance of triple meters (in Ingredimini omnes and Plaudite omnibus the whole section is set in ; in Benedictio et claritas, the change to appears in the cadence on the word “Amen” which consists of less than two full measures; in Currite populi two thirds of the passage is in while the closing fragment “Alleluia” is in ), (3) the predominance of homorhythmic textures, (4) the use of static, syllabic melodies in which the rhythms match the metric structure of the words, (5) simple harmonies, as well as (6) multiple repetitions of textual fragments with the same or closely related musical settings.

The goal of the composers was to guarantee full comprehensibility of the text that was to be imprinted in the listeners’ memory. From this point of view, the repetition of words in a simple chordal arrangement is essential; moreover, the rhythmic patterns have to firmly underscore the natural accents of the words (see Ex. 1).[18]

Ex. 1: Examples of rhythms emphasizing natural accents of the text from the four concerti: a) Benedictio et claritas; b) Currite populi; c) Ingredimini omnes, d) Plaudite manibus.

In the longest refrains (i.e. of the Ingredimini omnes – 34 measures, and of the Currite populi – 33 measures), in order to avoid an excessive monotony of the homorhythmic tutti, the composer introduced either a change of texture (in Ingredimini omni) or a variation in both meter and texture (in Currite populi). In the first case, Mielczewski divided the text into two coordinated statements, one of which (“Ingredimini omnes”) was realized within 13 measures of a generally homorhythmic texture, while the second (“et gratulamini dicentes”) consisted of a 21-measure segment characterized by an imitative texture. This strong textural contrast creates a clear dividing line between the two parts of the refrain which is entirely set in a triple meter.

In the case of the double-choral refrain in Currite populi the change of the meter has a special significance for the structural design of the section. We find the phrase “Currite populi, psallite tympanis, dicite vocibus” presented in the space of 21 measures to the music in meter, featuring exact homorhythmic patterns of the two choirs and almost exact homorhythms of the instrumental ensemble, as well as in the characteristically punctuated rhythms. Its ending – presented with an independent “Alleluia” – is composed as a 12-measure segment in duple meter () using polychoral technique (contrasting and combining of two choirs, echo). The way of setting the refrains in Ingredimini omnes and Currite populi is an example of Mielczewski’s individualized treatment of the form of rondo concerto. This technique demonstrates the creative transformation of the model (which emerged ca. 1600) that went hand in hand with the evolution of religious music composed in stile moderno in the first half of the 17th century.

The couplets vary greatly in terms of musical setting because of the diverse compositional means applied in the individual works. A common feature is the predominance of duple meter (), as well as a widely understood variability (mutatio). This variability primarily pertains to the makeup of the performing forces, the melodic features (syllabic and melismatic melodies; short exclamations, but also fully developed coloratura parts), as well as the range and texture of the music. Contrasts of tempo and dynamics are also important; however, these Contrasts in dynamics and tempi are not indicated in the manuscripts, but stem from the structure of the composition itself.

In the three works for almost precisely the same performance forces (Benedictio et claritas, Ingredimini omnes and Plaudite manibus) one can observe a similar disposition of voices. Fragments of several—or, less frequently, a dozen or so—measures are realized (1) by solo voices accompanied either by basso continuo or a part of the instrumental ensemble, (2) by duets or trios, and also (3) by the full chorus or the entire ensemble. The bass is clearly the privileged voice, appearing in the longest solo parts, always accompanied by two violins and basso continuo (see Ex. 2a from Benedictio et claritas below; Ex. 2b from Plaudite manibus below; and Ex. 2c from Ingredimini omnes below).

Ex. 2a: Bass solo accompanied by 2 violins and b.c. in Benediction et claritas.
Ex. 2b,2c: Bass solo accompanied by 2 violins and b.c. in b) Plaudite manibus; c) Ingredimini omnes.

In the last of these examples, the bass and basso continuo parts display a distinct melodic-harmonic similarity to the bass and basso continuo parts from the well-known solo concerto of Marcin Mielczewski’s Deus in nomine tuo (see Ex. 3). This similarity is especially strong between m. 35-37 of Ingredimini omnes and m. 18-19 and 25-26 of Deus in nomine. Another, less clear, convergence is with Mielczewski’s concerto for 2 sopranos and bass Veni Domine (m. 25 and the following).

Ex. 3: Bass solo in Deus in nomine tuo (similar to the part in Ingredimini omnes, Ex. 2c).

The dimensions of the solo fragments performed by the bass range from 3 to 11 measures. The shorter ones usually do not end with a clear cadence, instead overlapping with other solo or ensemble fragments. The longest (m. 35-46 in Ingredimini omnes) constitutes a separate passage, beginning after the cadence that closes the refrain performed by the whole ensemble after the change of meter from triple (meter 3/1) to duple (), and ending with a cadence and a return to the previous meter. Among the higher voices, the solo sections are mostly for the first soprano; the ensemble duets typically feature the alto and the first tenor, or—more rarely—two sopranos. In these segments, the harmonic foundation consists either exclusively of the basso continuo, or of the basso continuo with an added choir of wind instruments (see Ex. 4a and Ex. 4b from Plaudite manibus below).

Example 4a and 4b: Basso continuo with wind instruments in Plaudite manibus.

Monodic fragments of small dimensions and predominantly syllabic melodic lines are occasionally repeated by a different voice in an identical (or almost identical) melodic form, but with different text (these are instances of motivic correspondences or quasi-imitations). The repetition of motives, particularly in progressively higher registers, underscores the supplicatory character of the text. Simultaneously, the melodic connections between the voices increase the formal integration of the couplets.

Imitations also appear within sections for one solo voice. The motivic material repeated at different pitches is transformed by the application of various methods of variation technique; for instance by introducing diminution. Example 5 presents the use of variation technique in the part for the soprano of choir I from Currite populi; the sustained notes from the first three measures provides the framework for the following segment of the music (see Ex. 5).

Example 5: Diminution in Currite populi.

Of the passages in thinner textures, the technique of imitation is used most extensively in the duets and trios. Examples of exact imitation are rare; in these cases the same text is repeated at different scale degrees with an identical musical setting. Repetitions of melodic material with changed texts are found more frequently (see Ex. 4 quoted above). The composer also uses canonic techniques, sometimes in such a way that the third voice is superimposed onto the two-part canon, presenting its own theme, the melodic material of which is further exploited by all three voices. In the present example from Plaudite manibus the continuously imitative texture includes, on the one hand, two sopranos singing in parallel imperfect consonances, and on the other, an independent second tenor (see Ex. 6). Similar configurations, frequently found in Venetian music of the first decades of the 17th century, also appear in Mielczewski’s Veni Domine.

Example 6: Imitation in Plaudite manibus.

The composer introduces a more typical form of bi-thematic imitation in Ingredimini omnes (see Ex. 7a). Here, Mielczewski utilizes a melodic-rhythmic formula in the first theme that is an inexact repetition (because of the reversal of the direction of the interval leap) of one of the characteristic themes known from Veni Domine (see Ex. 7b).[19]

Example 7a: Bithematic imitation in Ingredimini omnes.
Example 7b: Theme from Veni Domine.

In addition to the various types of imitation, including the technique a due canti frequently used in concertizing (i.e. the passing from the initial imitation to a parade of two voices in parallel imperfect intervals), as well as motivic correspondence, the most frequent way of setting two-part segments in the discussed works is—similarly to what is found in the many rondo concerti written by the Venetian composers in the second half of the 17th century—leading the two voices in parallel thirds or sixths. The largest number of such duets occur in the concerto Currite populi in which the duets include both the pairings of the alto with the first tenor from the same choir (used in the remaining pieces under discussion, see Ex. 8a), and the duets of voices of the same registers from the two choirs (two sopranos or two altos, see Ex. 8b, below on the right).[20]

Example 8a: Alto-Tenor Duet in Currite populi.
Example 8b: Duet of Two Sopranos from Currite populi.

Because of its performance forces, melismatic quality of melodies, rhythmic diversity and tempo, the second duet creates a contrast with the preceding segment of the music – a short tutti fragment, presenting the same text in a syllabic, chordal arrangement, in a homorhythmic texture and with static melodies using long rhythmic values. Mielczewski applies similar methods of creating contrast in the well-known concerto Audite et admiramini (2 choirs – Canto, Alto, Tenore, Basso – 2 violini, 3 tromboni, fagotto, basso continuo). In this work, after a prolonged, melismatic solo part of the alto from the first choir, the composer introduced a tutti section with a duration of more than 2 measures (m. 27-29, see Ex. 9b below); this tutti is exactly the same as in Currite populi (m. 119-121; see Ex. 9a below).[21]

Example 9a and 9b: Tutti in (a) Audite et admiramini, (b) Currite populi.

In Currite populi, because of the differences in vocal setting from the other rondo concerti, it was possible to create contrasts not only between the solo parts and tutti sections, but also between the first choir with organ accompaniment and the entire performing ensemble. Part B of this composition is performed exclusively by voices from the first choir and basso continuo. The texture, however, is not the same throughout the section, since the composer juxtaposes contrasting pairs of low and high voices, which he then integrates into the full chorus. This compositional technique, also applied in Benedictio et claritas (in this instance, three lower voices are contrasted with three higher voices, See mm.92-109), appeared very frequently in the Venetian music of the first decades of the 17th century.

The contrast between the refrain (A) and couplet (B) in Currite populi depends in equal measure on the change of performing forces and on the texture. The homorhythms of section A (refrain) are strongly contrasted with the imitative techniques that clearly predominate in the couplet. Mielczewski does not display much originality in the selection of melodic material nor in the method of imitation. He even re-uses a couple of measures from his own setting of Dixit Dominus from Vesperae Dominicales (or, perhaps, the order of borrowing was reversed, since it is not known which work was composed first; see Ex. 10a and Ex. 10b below).

Example 10a: Imitation in Currite populi.
Example 10b: Imitation in Dixit Dominus.

In the fragment shown above, a different handling of the organ part is evident; in Currite populi, the organ part has a simpler rhythmic shape and an independent melodic line while accompanying the duet of the higher voices. Mielczewski applies the melodic-rhythmic solution of the basso continuo known from Dixit Dominus in Currite populi a few measures earlier, when the instrumental bass appears, supporting a duet of lower voices.

Example 11: Basso continuo pattern in Currite populi.

Only in Benedictio et claritas does the refrain, enlarged by a coda-cadenza, consisting of several measures, appear at the end of one of Mielczewski’s rondo concerti. In the other concerti discussed here, Mielczewski leads the development of the music towards the final culmination in the couplets. In Currite populi, in a long closing section spanning 44 measures, the composer draws from various possibilities provided by using the concertato technique within polychoral settings. He slowly builds up the tension in setting the repeated, laudatory text “Tibi laus, tibi gloria, tibi honor et victoria in Deo” by introducing contrasts between (1) a short homorhythmic fragment for tutti with parlando melodies, (2) coloratura duets (sopranos with basso continuo, followed by altos with trombones and basso continuo) and (3) a longer section performed by the full ensemble with the use of choral dialogue until the closure of the piece with a melismatic “Amen” of several measures. This formal outline resembles solutions known from Triumphalis dies.[22] In Ingredimini omnes the final tutti extends over 28 measures and is clearly divided into two parts. The first of these parts – with the text “Salve sponsa Dei, Maria Virgo, tuis precibus” – constitutes an eight-measure fragment with a static parlando melody in homorhythmic texture. The second part – “duc nos ad regna polorum” – is polyphonic, while the melody, subject to imitation, because of its wide “breadth”[23], its melismas and the relatively large intervallic leaps, has the character of an antithesis in comparison with the melodic material of the preceding fragment. Mielczewski introduces a similar textural contrast in Laudate pueri from Vesperae Dominicales.[24]In Plaudite manibus, the entire last couplet can be regarded as a great finale. The dramatic invocations to Christ (prayers for protection) are uttered in the framework of short solo-choral blocks, consisting of juxtapositions of a solo voice with a short chordal tutti fragment, or contrasting solo passages with sections performed by vocal ensemble in imitative texture and then followed by the entire performing apparatus. The couplet ends with dramatic the supplication “salva nos semper!” – a repeated homorhythmic exclamation.

Marcin Mielczewski’s rondo concerti, discussed here only in a cursory way, certainly require further analysis as well as comparative studies. However, one can already ascertain that these works prove a wider reception of this Venetian genre in Poland in the first half of the 17th century than has been heretofore assumed. Mielczewski’s concerti exhibit the richness of possibilities inherent in the concertato technique, exploited within the framework of the formal scheme of the rondo.



[1]. The Polish version of this article, entitled “O jedność w różnorodności. Cztery religijne koncerty rondowe Marcina Mielczewskiego” appeared in Muzyka vol. 42 no. 3 (1997): 5-26. It was translated into English by Wanda Wilk and Maria Anna Harley. [Back]

[2]. Denis Arnold: “Giovanni Croce and the Concertato Style” (The Musical Quarterly no. 1, 1953, p. 37-48); Zygmunt M. Szweykowski: Technika koncertująca w polskiej muzyce wokalno-instrumentalnej okresu baroku[Concertato technique in Polish vocal-instrumental music of the Baroque period], (Ph.D. Diss, typescript; Kraków: Jagiellonian University, 1964, p. 157-158); Szweykowski: “Wenecki koncert rondowy w polskiej praktyce kompozytorskiej okresu baroku” [Venetian rondo concerto in Polish compositional practice of the Baroque period] (in Studia Hieronymo Feicht septuagenario dedicata; Kraków: PWM Edition, 1967, p. 220-226). [Back]

[3]. See D. Arnold, op. cit.; D. Arnold: Giovanni Gabrieli and the Music of the Venetian High Renaissance (London, New York, Melbourne, 1979, p. 178 ff.); Jerome Roche: North Italian Church Music in the Age of Monteverdi (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1984, p. 110ff.); Anthony F. Carver: Cori spezzati vol. 1 The Development of Sacred Polychoral Music to the Time of Schütz (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988). [Back]

[4]. See Harald Kümmerling: Katalog der Sammlung Bokemeyer (Kassel, Basel, Paris, 1970, p. 120, no. 648). [Back]

[5]. Adolf Chybiński: “O koncertach wokalno-instrumentalnych Marcina Mielczewskiego (zm. 1651)” [About vocal-instrumental concerti by M.M., d. 1651], (Kwartalnik Muzyczny vol. 1 no. 3, 1929, p. 250. [Back]

[6]. Zygmunt M. Szweykowski: Introduction to Marcin Mielczewski’s Benedictio et claritas, ed. Zygmunt M. Szweykowski (Wydawnictwo Dawnej Muzyki Polskiej [Publications of Early Polish Music] vol. 66, Kraków, 1968). See also Z. M. Szweykowski Technika koncertująca…op. cit., p. 59, 159-163; and, by the same author, Wenecki koncert rondowy op. cit., p. 223-224. According to Z. M. Szweykowski also Veni Domine by Mielczewski is a variant of this form, connected to a small type of performing apparatus. [Back]

[7]. See the edition in the series Wydawnictwo Dawnej Muzyki Polskiej mentioned above and Marcin Mielczewski: Opera omnia, vol. 2 Koncerty wokalno-instrumentalne [Vocal-instrumental concerti], ed. Z. M. Szweykowski (in Monumenta Musicae in Polonia, ed. Jerzy Morawski; Kraków: PWM Edition, 1976, p. 31-55). [Back]

[8]. Emil Bohn: Die musikalischen Handschriften des 16. und 17. Jahrhunderts in der Stadtbibliothek zu Breslau (Breslau 1890). [Back]

[9]. See Barbara Przybyszewska-Jarmińska: “Ocalałe źródła do historii muzyki w Polsce XVII stulecia ze zbiorów dawnej Stadtbibliothek we Wrocławiu” [Preserved sources for history of music in Poland in the 17th century from the holdings of the former Stadtbibliothek in Wrocław] (Muzyka vol. 39 no. 2, p. 3-10); B. Przybyszewska-Jarmińska: “Nieznany zbiór religijnych utworów wokalno-instrumentalnych Marcina Mielczewskiego” [Unknown collection of religious vocal-instrumental compositions by Marcin Mielczewski] (in Proceedings of the Musicological Conference “Old-Polish Musical Matters”, forthcoming). [Back]

[10]. Edited by Barbara Przybyszewska-Jarmińska. Warsaw: Pro Musica Camerata Edition, 1997. [Back]

[11]. Edited by Barbara Przybyszewska-Jarmińska. Warsaw: Pro Musica Camerata Edition, 1997. A work by Marcin Mielczewski with an identical incipit of the text, but a different performance setting, belonged to the ensemble of the Kraków Carmelite Order in the second half of the 17th century. See Tadeusz Maciejewski: “Inwentarz muzykaliów kapeli karmelickiej w Krakowie na Piasku z lat 1665-1684” (Muzyka no. 2, 1976, p. 92; see item no. 497: Ingredimini Martini Milczewski [sic] a 5). [Back]

[12]. Edited by Barbara Przybyszewska-Jarmińska. Warsaw: Pro Musica Camerata Edition, 1996. This work may be indentical with a lost composition of the same textual incipit and the same number of performance parts which was included in the Cracow inventory; however, the location of this work among the concerti “De Beata” may cast doubts on this identification (See Tadeusz Maciejewski, op. cit., p. 84, item no. 185). [Back]

[13]. Similar texts were repeatedly set in vocal-instrumental concerti of diverse formal plans by European composers active in the 17th century. Such a character display, on the one hand, numerous psalms, particularly popular at the time (e.g. Cantate Domino, Iubilate Deo, Laudate Dominum, etc.), and, on the other hand, still more numerous literary religious works created in the Baroque period, frequently alluded to the psalms or quoted their fragments. [Back]

[14]. See Facsimile in Antiquitates Musicae In Polonia, ed. Hieronim Feicht, vol. 5, The Pelplin Tablature. Facsimile Part 4; (Ed. Adam Sutkowski and Alina Osostowicz-Sutkowska, Graz-Warsaw, 1965, p. 62-65, item no. 457). [Back]

[15]. In the case of the latter composition, the text is not identical with the one set by Marcin Mielczewski (with the exception of the first verse, “Ingredimini omnes et gratulamini dicentes”); nonetheless, both works are connected with the worship of the Blessed Virgin Mary. [Back]

[16]. A modern edition may be found in Musica religiosa di Claudio Monteverdi, ed. Gian Francesco Malipiero, vol. 15, part 2 [n.p.], 1968, p. 491-496. The collection, prepared by Simonetti, contains examples of different formations of solo rondo concerti, especially by composers connected to Venice, including e.g., Alessandro Grandi who arranged the texts of which Mielczewski, too, uses fragments in the couplets of his own compositions. [Back]

[17]. Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz in Berlin; call no. Bohn Ms Mus. 29, 94. [Back]

[18]. Examples from Benedictio et claritas (Ex. 1a), and quoted below Audite et admiramini, Dixit Dominus from Vesperae Dominicales, Deus in nomine tuo and Veni Domine are based on the edition in Marcin Mielczewski: Opera omnia, vol. 2 Koncerty wokalno-instrumentalne, op. cit. Examples from Currite populi (Ex. 1b), Ingredimini omnes (Ex. 1c), and Plaudite manibus (Ex. 1d) are quoted from the editon by the author, See notes no. 10-12. [Back]

[19]. In Example 7a (Ingredimini omnes) the parts of three trombones and the bassoon which accompany the voices have been ommited. [Back]

[20]. In Ex. 8a (m. 108-113 of Currite populi) the parts of four trombones which accompany the voices have been ommited. [Back]

[21]. In Ex. 9a (Currite populi) the parts of two violins and four trombones that double the voices have been ommitted. In Ex. 9b (Audite et…) the parts of two violins, three trombones and the bassoon that double the voices have been ommitted. [Back]

[22]. See the edition in Marcin Mielczewski: Opera omnia, vol. 2, Koncerty wokalno-instrumentalne, op.cit., especially p. 109-113. [Back]

[23]. Literally: “oddech,” i.e. “breath” [translator’s note]. [Back]

[24]. Marcin Mielczewski: Opera omnia, vol. 2, op. cit., p. 185-187. [Back]


Examples from Benedictio et claritas (Ex. 1a), Audite et admiramini, Dixit Dominus from Vesperae Dominicales, Deus in nomine tuo and Veni Domine are based on the edition in Marcin Mielczewski: Opera omnia, vol. 2 Koncerty wokalno-instrumentalne [Vocal-instrumental concerti], ed. Z. M. Szweykowski (in Monumenta Musicae in Polonia, ed. Jerzy Morawski; Kraków: PWM Edition, 1976). Examples from Currite populi, Ingredimini omnes, and Plaudite manibus are quoted from the editons by the author, Barbara Przybyszewska-Jarmińska, Warsaw: Pro Musica Camerata Edition, 1996, 1997. All examples used by permission.

Appendix I:
Original Texts with English Translations


Benedictio et claritas Praise and glory
Benedictio et claritas,
et sapientia,
et gratiarum actio,
honor, virtus et fortitudo
Deo nostro
in saecula saeculorum.
Praise and glory,
and wisdom,
and acts of gratitude,
honor, power, and might
to our God,
for ever and ever
Cantate Domino opera eius
et benedicte nomini eius,
annunciate de die in diem
salutare eius
Sing to the Lord about His works
and bless His name.
Every day announce
him as the Saviour.
A: Benedictio et claritas… Praise and glory…
Cantate Domino
in psalterio et cithara.
Cantate Domino,
cantate et psallite in tubis
in tubis ductiligus
et voce tubae corneae.
Sing to the Lord
with psaltry and lyre.
Sing to the Lord,
sing and play the trumpets,
the trombones,
with the sound of the cornetto.
A: Benedictio et claritas… Praise and glory…

Currite populi Hasten, Ye Peoples
Currite populi,
psallite tympanis,
dicite vocibus:
Hasten, ye peoples,
play the drums,
say with your voices:
Quia Salvator resurrexit
sicut dixit.
Because the Saviour is risen
as he said.
A: Currite populi… Hasten, ye peoples…
O Christe potentissime.
O Christe clementissime.
Tibi laus, Tibi gloria,
Tibi honor et victoria
in Deo, qui regnat
per saecula.
O Christ, most mighty,
O Christ, most gracious.
To you be praise, to You be glory
to You be honor and victory
in God, who reigns

Ingredimini omnes
All of You, Raise Your Voices
Ingredimini omnes
et gratulamini dicentes:
All of you, raise your voices,
and happily give thanks, saying:
Salve, Sponsa Dei,
Virgo Sancta,
Virginum Virgo.
Tu vas munditiae,
Tu praevia forma castitatis.
Hail, Spouse of God,
Holy Virgin,
Virgin of Virgins.
You are the Vessel of purity,
The Model of chastity.
A: Ingredimini omnes… All of you, raise your voices…
Salve Sponsa Dei,
Maria Virgo,
Tuis precibus
duc nos
ad regna polorum.
Hail, Spouse of God,
Virgin Mary,
With your pleas
lead us
to the heavenly kingdom.

Plaudite manibus Clap Your Hands
Plaudite manibus,
canite vocibus,
psallite citharis,
resonent organa,
iubilate Deo.
Clap your hands,
sing with your voices,
play the lyres,
let the instruments resound,
praise God.
Iesu clemens, pie Deus,
amor Iesu dulcissimus,
nomen Iesu dulce,
nomen delectabile,
Iesu dulcis,
amor Iesu suavissiumus
o cor dulce, cor dilectum,
in Te meum fer affectum.
Gracious Jesus, merciful God,
sweetest love of Jesus,
sweet name of Jesus,
delightful name,
sweet Jesus,
most gentle love of Jesus,
o sweet heart, o dear heart,
allow my love come to you.
A: Plaudite manibus… Clap your hands…
O Iesu mi dulcissime,
spes suspirantis animae,
te quaerunt piae lachrimae,
te clamor mentis intimae.
O, my sweetest Jesus,
Hope of the longing soul,
my pious tears seek You,
to You (rises) the cry of my innermost soul.
A: Plaudite manibus… Clap your hands…
O bone Iesu, o dulcis Iesu,
protege nos, defende nos,
et salva nos semper.
O good Jesus, o sweet Jesus,
protect us, defend us,
and always come to our salvation.


Appendix II:
Formal Outlines Of The Rondo Concerti

Benedictio et claritas

Sonata: m. 1-39: instrumental ensemble
a) m. 1-16: meter
b) m. 17-31: meter meter
c) m. 32-39: meter
A: m. 40-54: tutti
a) m. 40-53: meter meter
b) m. 54: meter
B: m. 55-64: C I, tbni, b.c.; meter
m. 64-70: B, 2 vni, b.c.; meter
m. 70-76: A, T I, b.c.; meter
A: m. 77-91: tutti
a) m. 77-90: meter b) m. 91: meter
C: m. 92-98: 2C, A, 2 vni, tbne I, b.c.; meter
m. 99-103: 2 T, B, b.c.;
a) m. 99-102: meter b) m. 103: meter
m. 103-109: 2 C, A, b.c.; meter
m. 109-125: tutti; meter
A: m. 126-140: tutti
a) m. 109-139: meter b) m. 140: meter
Coda: m. 141-145: meter


Currite populi

A: m. 1-33: tutti

a) m. 1-21: meter

b) m. 22-33: meter

B: m. 34-66: Ch I, b.c.; meter
A: m. 67-99: tutti

a) m. 67-87: meter

m. 88-99: meter

C: m. 100-108: C ch. I, b.c.; meter
m. 108-113: A and T Ch. I, 4 tbni, b.c.; metermeter
m. 112-119: B Ch. I, T and B CHi. II, 2 vni, b.c.; metermeter
m. 119-124: tutti, metermeter
m. 124-128: C Ch. I, C Chi. II, b.c.; metermeter
m. 128-162: tutti

a) m. 134-145: meter
b) m. 145-158: meter

c) m. 158-162: meter

Ingredimini omnes
A: m. 1-34: tutti; meter meter
B: m. 35-46: B, 2 vni, b.c.; meter
m. 46-51: C I, b.c.; meter m. 51-58: 2 C, T II, b.c.a) m. 51-53: meter
b) m. 54-58: meter
m.58-73: A, TI, 3 tbni, fg, b.c.; meter
A: m. 74-107: tutti; meter meter

m. 108-119: 2 C, A, 2 T, b.c.; metermeter
m. 119-127: B, 2 vni, b. c.; metermeter
m. 127-154: tutti; metermeter

Plaudite manibus

A (meter meter): m. 1-20: tutti
B (meter ): m. 21-25: T I, 3 tbni, fg, b.c.
m. 25-29: A, 3 tbni, fg, b.c.
m. 29-35: B, 2 vni, b.c.
m. 35-37: A, T I, 3 tbni, fg., b.c.
m. 37-40: B, 2 vni, b.c.
m. 39-44: A, TI, 3 tbni, fg., b.c.
m. 44-49: A, TI, B, 2 vni, b.c.
A (meter ): m. 50-69: tutti
C (meter ): m. 70-74: 2 C, b.c.
m. 74-81: T II, b.c.
m.81-84: 2 c, b.c.
m. 82-86: T II, b.c.
m. 86-88: 2 C, b.c.
m. 87-95: 2 C, T II, b.c.
A (meter ): m. 96-115: tutti
D (meter ): m. 116-119: C I, b.c
m. 119-122: tutti
m. 122-130: 2 C, A, 2 T, B, b.c.
m. 130-136: B, 2 vni, b.c.
m. 136-161: tutti


Dr. Przybyszewska serves on the faculty of the Institute of Fine Arts, Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw (IS PAN). After receiving her M.A. degree in musicology from the Institute of Musicology, University of Warsaw, she earned her doctoral degree (from IS PAN) for a dissertation Text and Music in Biblical Dialogues of Kacper Föster Junior defended in 1991 (in print). Her research interests focus on Baroque music (music in Poland and the connections to Italian and German music; music of the Baltic centers of the 17th century). The second main group of her interests include editing early music: since 1984 she has been the secretary of the series Monumenta Musicae in Polonia. Her publications include: “Kacper Föster Junior. An Outline of a Biography” and “Thematic Catalogue of Works by K. Föster Junior” (Muzyka 1987 no. 3); “Authentic and derivative transmission of 17th-c. music as sources of knowledge about the performance practice of this epoch” (in Proceedings of the Conference “Baroque Music: Styles, Interpretations, Stylizations”, Poznań 1994); “Reception of the Repertoire of the Ensemble of Władysław IV Waza in Central and Northern Europe in the light of ‘Iudicium Cribri Musici’ by Marco Scacchi” (Barok vol. 1 no. 2, 1994); “The Sacred Dramatic Dialogue in the 17th Century Poland. Facts and Suppositions” (in English; Musica Iagellonica vol. 1, 1995); Issues in Editing Early Music: An Anthology (editor; in print).