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Fanfare Magazine: 41:3 (01-02/2018) 
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Reviewer: J. F. Weber

This is the fourth disc of Poland-related music to be directed by Eamonn Dougan, the associate conductor of this ensemble, but only the second to arrive here and the first one I have seen. Marcin Mielczewski (d. 1651) is not a familiar name among 17th-century Polish composers. To place him between the most well-known Baroque Polish composers, Zieleński was a generation older and Gorczycki two generations younger; Bartłomiej Pękiel was his exact contemporary. Poland (like Russia a little later) was strongly influenced by Italian musicians who were brought in to compose, conduct, and sing. King Sigismund III (d. 1632) and his two sons, Ladislaus IV and Charles Ferdinand the bishop of Wrocław and Płock, were patrons of Italian music, and the bishop appointed Mielczewski to his final post as his chapel master in 1644 or 1645. The notes by a Polish scholar who collaborates with Dougan on this series develop further aspects of his career to a considerable extent, but the details are largely speculative, and his early life and career are undocumented. None of his music survives in autograph. Two Masses are recorded here, including the two movements of Missa Cervisiana that survive. Most of his works are called church concertos, six of them heard here; a small number of instrumental pieces, including the two canzone heard here, also survive. The complete Mass on this disc was recorded by a Polish vocal ensemble (Fanfare 24:2), while the concluding hymn was recorded by Manfred Cordes (38:5)

The ensemble now calls itself simply The Sixteen after its original complement of that number of voices, but this program uses 19 singers and 11 players. Dougan has found a sympathetic ear for the Polish Baroque. The performances are light and airy, and the sound is caressing. Lovers of Polish Baroque will be delighted that Dougan has taken up their cause.


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