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Zebrowski: Rorate coeli; Magnificat; Missa pastoritia

By Felix Schwandtke

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By Felix Schwandtke, Jian Hui Mo, Maciej Gocman, Matthew Venner, NFM Boys' Choir, NFM Choir, and Wroclaw Baroque Orchestra. By Marcin Jozef Zebrowski. Classical. Listening CD. CD Accord #ACD258. Published by CD Accord (NX.ACD258).

Item Number: NX.ACD258

Conducted by Andrzej Kosendiak.

Magnificat, Rorate coeli and Missa Pastoritia, in the unanimous view of experts on Zebrowski's creative contribution, are among his best works. These are cantata-type compositions, in which the liturgical text (including some parts of the Mass) has been divided into smaller sections, occasionally set by the composer almost as individual works, contrasted in terms of expression, performance forces, and even style. In the 18th century, vespers performed on Sundays and other feast-days of the Church year had greater significance than the High Mass. Consequently, the musical setting of this service of psalms and the Magnificat had to be suitably resplendent, an example of which is Zebrowski's Magnificat in G major, comprising eleven contrasted sections. Rorate coeli is the opening Introit of a votive Mass celebrated in the morning during Advent and dedicated to the Holy Virgin Mary. Zebrowski's setting has survived in a hand-written copy dated 1752, which gives an approximate time of when the work was composed. It consists of three sections: a choral intonation of the introit's initial word, a free multi-part setting of a verse from the psalm Benedixisti Domine with a striking and energetic orchestral accompaniment, and a double fugue, stylistically more akin with classical rather than Baroque fugues, presented on the words Rorate coeli. Remigiusz Pospiech dates the composition of the Christmastide Missa Pastoritia towards the end of Zebrowski's main stay at Jasna Gora. Its pastoral atmosphere is already detectable in the opening Kyrie. However, the second section is as lively as a krakowiak and furnished with drone-like fragments as if played by a folk band.

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