Sunday 21 March 2021

For the last nine years, the first day of spring has coincided with Early Music Day. The symbolic date is no accident, since it marks the birthday of J.S. Bach. The REMA European Early Music Network has established the event as a celebration of European music of the Middle Ages, Renaissance and the Baroque. This year’s events of Early Music Day will be held at the Church of St. Martin in Kraków and streamed on PLAY KRAKÓW.

Early Music Day serves as a natural prologue to the Misteria Paschalia Festival, this year held between 1 and 5 April and exploring music of the Iberian Peninsula.Co-organised by the Academy of Music in Kraków, the event features three concerts by academic ensembles streamed free on PLAY KRAKÓW.Events also include a concert by the Polish Radio Choir.

At 4pm, the Potocki Palace at the Rynek Główny resounds with Consort Viol da Gamba of the Academy of Music in Kraków; the group brings together students and graduates in the instrument under the artistic direction of Mateusz Kowalski. The group performs 16th- and 17th-century music on copies of original soprano, tenor and bass gambas by lutenists at home and abroad, including Adam Banasik, Matthew Farley and Judith Kraft.

The vocal and instrumental ensemble of students at the Academy of Music in Kraków, specialising in playing period instruments and performing vocal compositions of the Renaissance and Baroque, appears at 6pm. We will also hear the Cracow Recorder Consort, led by Katarzyna Czubek and Erik Bosgraaf from the Academy of Music in Kraków. The ensemble specialises in 16th- and 17th-century music, playing copies of Renaissance instruments made by Adrian Brown and Monika Musch.

Celebrations of Early Music Day also include a concert by the Polish Radio Choir. At 5pm on 20 March, the Church of St. Martin hosts the Navigatio Mors Passion concert held as part of the Polish Radio Choir’s cycle of musical dedications; it will be shown on 21 March on www.playkrakow.com. The programme includes a selection of Carlo Gesualdo’s responsoria for a six-voice a cappella ensemble from his collection of music for Holy Week, first published in 1611. We will also hear arrangements of Psalm 51 Miserere mei, popularised in the early 17th century by Gregorio Allegri, including James MacMillan’s Miserere whose style has been influenced by his Scottish heritage, Catholic faith and Celtic music.

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