Castrum Doloris: Old Polish Burial Ceremonies | Dux DUX1104

Castrum Doloris: Old Polish Burial Ceremonies


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Label: Dux

Cat No: DUX1104

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Genre: Vocal/Choral

Release Date: 1st September 2014



In magnate Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, burials of the nobility necessitated the organization of an appropriately solemn ceremony. According to Juliusz A Chrościcki (Pompa funebris – z dziejów kultury staropolskiej, PWN 1974), even the lowest-ranking nobility threw sumptuous celebrations for their dead. First, a special construction was built: Castrum doloris, which was a type of altar, or even chapel surrounding the catafalque. On this construction, the body of the deceased was then laid with solemnity.

In the royal ceremony, the king’s disemboweled remains were exposed for an extended viewing! The liturgical action began with the solemn carrying of the coffin with the deceased into the church and placing it on the catafalque. This was accompanied by appropriate sacred songs and instrumental intradas, such as the Marcia lugubre on timpani that begins this CD.

A continuation of prayers said by the side of the deceased in the castle of grief could be made in the Office of the Dead at Matins that opened the church ceremony. In this section, penitentiary psalms were sung, which included Psalm 50 Miserere and Psalm 129 De profundis. The present recording presents both psalms, the first in the solemn, monophonic tone of mourning (lugubre), the second in the form of a vocal-instrumental concerto written between 1680 and 1684 by Maciej Wronowicz, a musician from the Wroclaw collegiate church.

Next came the solemn saying of the Missa Requiem. Our program includes a joyful composition by Father Damian Stachowicz, a Piarist from Lowicz, the composition most probably originating before 1693 and here completed by chant movements taken from Andrzej Piotrkowczyk’s Graduale (1651).

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