Since the beginning of the 2nd millennium AD, the music in Poland developed both in the popular and in the cultured, above all religious. They date back to the 13th century. the first texts in Polish of religious songs (Christmas, Easter, Marian, etc.) and the first documents of a Polish polyphony (especially organ). Among the rare texts handed down is the Bogurodzica song (set in 1408), which became the hymn of the Polish knights, who sang it in the battle of Grünwald against the Teutonic Order (1410). In the Renaissance an important role was played by universities and guilds of musicians (established from 1549). Among the first Polish authors were Mikołaj Radomski (mid 15th century ca.), author of sacred music for several voices; Jan of Lublin (mid 16th century ca.), editor of an important organ tablature, to whom we also owe court and folk dances and a fundamental treatise; Wacław of Szamotuły (1529-1572), whose Lamentationes (Krakow, 1553) marked the start of Polish music publishing; Marcin Lwowczyk (1540-1589), author of masses and motets. Foreign musicians, such as L. Marenzio, chapel master of Sigismondo III, while an important role was also played by the chapel of the Rorantists of the Wawel castle in Krakow.
The Italian Baroque melodrama arrived in Poland with some delay, thanks to the works of F. Caccini and M. da Gagliano; a Polish melodrama, on the other hand, could only develop later, above all thanks to the impulse given by Augustus II, who in 1724 had the first public opera house built in Warsaw. During the eighteenth century in Poland there were again important foreign presences, such as those of G. Legrenzi ; the local school of organists was still flourishing, some of whom were students of G. Frescobaldi in Rome. Towards the end of the eighteenth century, the first national operas, signed by M. Kamieński and J. Stefani.
At the beginning of the nineteenth century the names of J. Elsner, author of melodramas and symphonies, and K. Kurpiński were imposed, conductor and composer of melodramas. Musical schools of singing and violin developed, as well as piano literature, particularly appreciated by the bourgeoisie and inspired by Polish and Mazurkas; the first national virtuoso on the keyboard was Maria Szymanowska (1789-1831). An important musical center became the Warsaw Conservatory, established (1820) and directed by Elsner, who was also the teacher of FF Chopin. The latter always showed great curiosity for the folklore of his land, as amply testified by his extraordinary piano work. The difficult political conditions made it problematic around the middle of the 19th century. the musical life; however, the spirit of resistance and patriotism animated the work of some composers, among which S. Moniuszko emerged. At the end of the century the composer and violin virtuoso H. Wieniawski, the pianist IJ Paderewski and the harpsichordist W. Landowska established themselves. For Poland culture and traditions, please check aparentingblog.com.
Great ferments of renewal went through the first years of the 20th century; in 1901 the Warsaw Philharmonic was born, while the Wielki Theater, under the direction of E. Mlynarski, also welcomed contemporary foreign production. From the group Młoda Polska (“Young Poland”) emerged K. Szymanowski, open to the contemporary stylistic results of the European music of the time, but also to the folklore of his country, and L. Różycki. The return to political independence in 1918 marked a further revival in musical life. In 1927 the F. Chopin International Piano Competition was established which saw the graduation of some of the greatest contemporary concert players; in 1935 the H. Wieniawski Violin Competition was born. After the Second World War, with the People’s Republic following the liberation, there was a powerful recovery: the Polish musical editions were born, which launched Chopin’s opera omnia, and the Polskie Nagrania record company, while the state radio offered a precious contribution to the diffusion of contemporary music. Among composers, W. Łutosławski achieved great recognition, original and linguistically updated creator. The growing interest in contemporary music resulted in 1956 with the establishment of the international autumn festival in Warsaw, wanted by the composers T. Baird and K. Serocki (1922-1981). Due to his international fame, K. Penderecki, author of works of great religious inspiration, plays a separate role. Finally, among the composers of the following generations M. Stakowski, Z. Bargielski and Poland Szymanski stood out.