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Jacek Różycki (ca. 1630 - 1704)
A lot of the facts about his life are unclear - even his biographical data vary strongly depending on the source that one uses: Most probably he was born either at or near Łęczyca; while Grove's dictionary would not even give an approximate date for his birth, other sources speak of "ca. 1630" and "ca. 1640" respectively. He seems to have entered the royal chapel at Warsaw at an early age somewhen in the mid-1640s, as we know of a council resolution of 1676 that speaks of him "having given some thirty years of service there". He may have started as a chorister and could possibly have studied with Pękiel when he was older - however, none of these ideas can be given with absolute certainty, there is too little dated evidence of his life.
Some time later he may have succeeded Pękiel as a choirmaster, but again: The exact date of his appointment is not known, and there are even sources from 1670 (which is during his period of office in principle) that mention another choirmaster, Fabian Redzius.
However, there is also a reference to Różycki's being choirmaster under four successive rulers - the last of those being August II, who started his period of reign in 1697 and reformed Warsaw chapel and united it with the "Dresdner Hofkapelle", appointing Różycki Kapellmeister together with J. C. Schmidt. From these sparing dates Grove's dictionary says that he must have died in or after 1697 whereas other sources again cite different dates, e. g. 1704 or even approx. 1707.
Różycki composed great motets and concertos in the Italianate concertato style; however, apart from those he also wrote more traditional sacred polyphony. Through his inclusion of Polish folk melodies in some of these pieces he can be seen as a successor to Marcin Mielczewski. A good example was his now lost "Ave Maria Sanctissima" ("Hail thee, Mary most holy") which included a very highly popular song in the concertato part. However, Rozycki disguised the Mazur-type rhythm by using a slower tempo.
Another example of inclusion of folk melodies in Concerti is his concerto "Exultemus omnes" ("Let us all rejoice") in which he uses the motive of a popular song from Lowicz, "Siedzi zając pod miedzą" ("A hare sits in the furrow"). This concerto survived and was re-issued in the WDMP-series as volume 44 in 1961 and reprinted in 1966.
Apart from such elaborate works he also wrote simple four-part hymns. None of his musicwas published during his lifetime, but it still seems to have become popular, as references and quotations show.
Information supplied by Monika Fahrnberger
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