Capella Cracoviensis: Music Matronea

Thursday, June 20, 2024, 8:30 PM

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  • Thursday, June 20, 2024, 8:30 PM
  • Thursday, June 27, 2024, 8:30 PM
  • Thursday, June 13, 2024, 8:30 PM
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In architecture, a matroneum is a gallery or stand supported by columns. It is found mainly in churches, usually above the vestibule or main entrance. Capella Cracoviensis wants us to change the definition a bit: Biber, Bach, Gorczycki, Schütz, Handel... The sounds of their music will be heard from the matroneum, or to put it another way, from the choir, where the singers and instrumentalists will be located. The idea behind the Music Matronea concert series is to give all the works written for churches across the past centuries the proper context and to enable listening them in the intended manner. This will give us a better feel and understanding of how this music was listened to centuries ago, at the time of their first performances. During the three concerts in June, the richly decorated matroneum in the Baroque interior of the Church of St Anne will resound with sonatas by Biber, Schmelzer and Corelli, cantatas by Bach and Schütz, Gorczycki's Conductus funebris and Handel's Dixit Dominus.

13 June 2024, 8:30pm
Music Matronea | Bach

Matthias Weckmann Toccata in a
Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber Sonata VII from the collection Sonatae tam aris quam aulis servientes
Johann Sebasstian Bach Mein liebster Jesus ist verloren BWV 154
Johann Heinrich Schmelzer Lamento sopra la morte Ferdinandi III
Johann Sebasstian Bach Wer mich liebet, der wird mein Wort haltoen BWV 59
Marcin Świątkiewicz organ / conductor
Magdalena Łukawska soprano
Ilona Szczepańska alto
Dominik Czernik tenor
Sebasstian Szumski bass
Agnieszka Świątkowska Zofia Wojniakiewicz violin
Mariusz Grochowski viola
Monika Hartmann cello
Paweł Gajewski Marian Magiera trumpet
Tomasz Sobaniec timpani

20 June 2024, 8:30pm
Music Matronea | Schütz

Grzegorz Gerwazy Gorczycki Conductus funebris
Johann Heinrich Schmelzer Ciaccona in A
Johann Heinrich Schmelzer Sacro-profanus concentus musicus sonata nr 9
Arcangelo Corelli Sonata da chiesa op. 3 nr 2
Heinrich Schütz Die sieben Worte Jesu Christi am Kreuz
Seojin Kim violin / concertmaster
Magdalena Łukawska soprano
Matylda Staśto-Kotuła alto
Piotr Szewczyk Szczepan Kosior tenor
Przemysław Józef Bałka bass
Jadwiga Czepielowska violin
Natalia Reichert Jacek Dumanowski viola
Monika Hartmann cello
Klaudia Łoboda organ
Marian Magiera Paweł Gajewski trumpet

27 June 2024, 8:30pm
Music Matronea | Händel

George Frideric Handel Nisi Dominus
George Frideric Handel Organ Concerto in A major
George Frideric Handel Dixit Dominus
Marek Toporowski organ / conductor
Antonina Ruda Michalina Bienkiewicz soprano
Matylda Staśto-Kotuła alto
Piotr Szewczyk tenor
Sebasstian Szumski bass
Agnieszka Świątkowska Zofia Wojniakiewicz violin
Jacek Dumanowski Aneta Dumanowska viola
Konrad Górka cello
Marek Toporowski organ

St Anne's Church

ul. św. Anny 11

Thanks to the foundation of the professors of the Academy of Kraków and King John (Jan) III Sobieski, and the design of a Dutch architect, we can admire one of the most beautiful examples of mature baroque in Poland at the heart of Kraków.

What today is the Collegiate Church of St Anne was built in the 17th/18th century as an initiative of the professors of the nearby University, supported by their former student – King John III Sobieski. Its architect, Tylman van Gameren, took Sant’Andrea Della Valle Church in Rome as his model; the new church was far more impressive than the one that it replaced, answering the preferences and ambitions of contemporary academics. This is how the history of the origin of one of the most magnificent baroque structures in Poland unfolded. The impressive façade was skilfully exposed so that it offered a splendid shape even if viewed from the perspective of a very narrow street, which additionally was enclosed by the city wall when the church was built. The lavish three-aisle interior of the church makes a powerful impression. The edifice is crowned by a dome placed on the so-called pendentives featuring the cardinal virtues: Prudence, Temperance, Justice, and Fortitude.

Inside the church one can find tombs of and epitaphs to professors of the Kraków University, including the grave of St John of Kęty (Cantius, Jan Kanty, d. 1473), a theologian, and graduate, lecturer and patron of the University. His person is enshrouded in numerous legends speaking of the saint’s sensitivity to human suffering. He was rumoured to have given away his cloak to a beggar, only to find it returned miraculously to his own wardrobe. Another time, thanks to his intercession and prayer, a despairing servant miraculously regained a flagon that she had broken. One of the traditions of the parish of Saint Anne’s is the October procession of St John Cantius, which the University’s professors participate in.

In the southern end of the transept, there stands the impressive grave (konfesja) of the saint, with Turkish bunchuks captured by King John III Sobieski in the victorious battle of Vienna in 1683 arrayed beside it.

A testimony to the courage of the Kraków professors is the monument to Nicolas Copernicus (Mikołaj Kopernik) of 1823: a particular homage of the Jagiellonian University to its famous graduate. It was erected while the writings of the astronomer were still formally listed on the church’s index of forbidden books.

In 1868, Helena Modrzejewska, a great actress specialising in Shakespearean and tragic repertoires, married in this church. As Helena Modjeska, she also became successful on the American stage.

Be sure to see:

  • the stucco decoration by Baldassare Fontana
  • the trompe-l’œil (i.e. pretending to be three-dimensional) polychrome wall decorations
  • painting of St Anne with St Mary and Infant Jesus on the high altar
  • the baroque organ that has retained its original sound and is considered the best instrument from the period in Kraków

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