The Musical Rhetoric of the Polish Baroque
Chapter 4 Figures and Vernacular Language
The expressive values of musical rhetoric became particularly relevant in the case of musical settings in vernacular languages. It was in the case of those languages that composers were able to more directly shape the relationship between text and music, often reaching the quintessence of musical expression. Examples of such use include Italian madrigals and operas, Germans songs and cantatas, and English anthems, where the creative recreation in the rhythmic and melic structure of the linguistic idiom—notably the accentual, intonational, and phonic characteristics of the language—led a particularly intense and emotional oration. The obvious reason was that composers were dealing with a linguistic substance they knew best. Compositional choices, moreover, had further artistic consequences: not only did they open new horizons of expression but also revealed the musical potential of the language itself, further inspiring subsequent generations of composers.203 Music with vernacular text, therefore, was an important chapter in the history of the baroque, and a highly relevant one in discussing text interpretation in Polish music.
The state of conservation of music in Polish language is unfortunately very poor, which constitutes a major hindrance in researching this topic in-depth. The few compositions that remain available are a marginal phenomenon, with their genre gravity being lesser than that of Latin-language music in Poland. Polish-language works of known authorship are reduced to individual examples ← 187 | 188 → that almost exclusively come from secondary composers. In fact, apart from four short songs by Franciszek Lilius204—which are, from...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.
Do you have any questions? Contact us.Or login to access all content.