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Marcin Mielczewski and Music under the Patronage of the Polish Vasas

Translated by John Comber


Barbara Przybyszewska-Jarminska

The first monograph of the life and œuvre of Marcin Mielczewski (d. 1651) presents the best known Polish composer of seventeenth-century Europe. During the 1990s, while exploring a newly accessible collection of music manuscripts from Silesia (the Sammlung Bohn) held in the Berlin Staatsbibliothek, the author found 37 compositions signed M.M., which she ascribed to Mielczewski. This discovery, representing more than half the composer’s known legacy, fuelled a considerable rise in interest in Mielczewski’s output among musicologists and musicians. In this book, the current state of knowledge about Marcin Mielczewski’s life and work is presented within the context of the musical patronage of King Ladislaus IV Vasa of Poland and his brother, Bishop Charles Ferdinand.
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II An outline biography



An outline biography

← 37 | 38 → ← 38 | 39 →


Despite extensive research, no secure information has yet come to light regarding Marcin Mielczewski from before 1632 that might significantly alter the state of our knowledge about him as presented by myself in 1999.1 He is not the only renowned musician and composer active in the Commonwealth during the seventeenth century about whose youth virtually nothing is known. Similarly, for example, no facts have been established relating to the life of Bartłomiej Pękiel prior to his confirmed work at the royal court of Ladislaus IV,2 and only recently was a source found containing the information that Mikołaj Zieleński was born in Warka, some fifty kilometres from Warsaw,3 but we still do not know even the year he was born, where and when he pursued his musical studies or the year he died (in the case of Pękiel, an approximate date for his death is still being given, c.1670, although thanks to my recent research that date can be narrowed down somewhat: in light of a source from the Church of St Martin in Warsaw, held in the Biblioteka Muzeum Historycznego Miasta Stołecznego Warszawy, he died in 16664). However, Mielczewski’s case differs in that his identification during the early years of the twentieth century by Adolf Chybiński with the provost of the Rorantists’ chapel in Cracow, Marcin of Mielec,5 although undermined by Hieronim Feicht6 and...

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