Early Music Collections in St. Nicolas Church in Bielsko-Biała

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Dawne muzykalia kościoła św. Mikołaja w Bielsku-Białej

Early Music Collections in St. Nicolas Church in Bielsko-Biała

St. Nicholas church in Bielsko-Biała belonged to dynamic music centers. Musical tradition of this church is marked by local song-books, dated from the 17th century, the church's vocal-instrumental group established in the second half of the 18th century and active till the end of 19th century and finally the choir Katolischer Kirchenmusik-Verein (Catholic Association of Church Music), established in the last decade of the 19th century and active till 1945. The following persons were connected with this parish church and with its thriving musical-liturgical life: the writer L. Wencelius (17th century), the poet and writer of the hymn-book Cithara sanctorum, J. Trzanowski (1592-1637), the propagator of Polish culture Rev. M. Opolski (1780-1850), the author of the Catholic hymnbook Rev. P. A. S. Matuszyński (1832-1881), and composers V. V. Hausmann (1850-1903) and V. C. Czajanek (1876-1952). As modern evidence of this history there are preserved manuscripts and printed documents, catalogues, letters, photographs and large group of music collections.

The group of music collection consists of almost five hundred volumes (manuscripts and prints) from about 1800 to 1940; they are mostly preserved in very good condition. Two groups of information can be distinguished: the first one comprises earlier music collections written or collected in 1800-1870, the second one - manuscripts and more recent prints written in 1870-1940 and editions from the second half of the 20th century.

The earlier music collections, which are the subject of this article and the content of the thematic catalogue, comprise about one quarter of the collection. The oldest manuscript dates from 1805 but without any doubts some of the records come from the earlier period. Various inscriptions, watermarks of the handmade manuscript paper and manufactory trade labels prove the local origin of some parts of manuscripts. The old prints are mainly from Austrian publishing houses but some of them come from Czech ones.

St. Nicholas church's music collections contain exclusively religious music, assigned for the vocal-instrumental group. Its repertory - dominated by the mass and numerous hymns Pange lingua and Tantum ergo - consists of compositions of 18th and 19th century composers. There are compositions by very known and popular composers (J. Haydn, J. M. Dreyer, J. L. Kunerth, A. Diabelli, J. B. Schiedermayr and R. Führer) and by forgotten ones who are not even present in musical lexicography; some of them e.g. F. Schoen or S. Schön might have belonged to the group of Bielsko-Biała musicians. The inscriptions and postscripts (names, dates dedications) written on old prints and manuscripts enable identification of local bandmasters, copyists, owners of manuscripts and patrons caring for the musical equipment of the church.

The thematic catalogue of early music collections of St. Nichols church in Bielsko-Biała was drawn up in accordance with the instruction model RISM (Répertoire International des Sources Musicales).


Annales UMCS, Artes

The Journal of Maria Curie-Sklodowska University

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