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Krzysztof Borek (+ ca. 1570)

   We neither know the date nor the place of Krzysztof Borek's birth, neither do we have a lot of information on his entire life. What can be stated for certain, however, is the fact that he was a composer and singer in Cracow during the 16th century. Also there is documental evidence that he was a Rorantist prefect during the period of 1556 to 1572. He may have died in Cracow, possibly around the early 1570s.

His first contribution to the repertoire of Polish Renaissance music is a slightly modified and adapted copy of Josquin's Missa Mater Patris under the title Missa Mater Matris. Adaptations in this piece mainly bring in more voices at some places and therefore partly re-setting of the text is a necessity, too. The style of the newly composed voices fits well with the original composition; there are numerous possibilities for additing such new material, as the composition by Josquin has the transparent texture that is so characteristic for Josquin. On the other hand, this kind of additions make the adapted work very different in nature, but well-suited to the style of the Rorantists repertoire at that time.

What is certainly Borek's own compositional work and still preserved is the music for two masses. The first one is untitled and does not list a date of composition. It consists of Kyrie, Gloria, Credo and Sanctus.
The second work is the Missa Te Deum Laudamus. The work is based upon the plainchant of Te Deum Laudamus which is used in parts in the original form for the tenor voice while the surrounding voices sing a mixture of imitative and non-imitative counterpoint and simple homophony.
Both examples show that Borek was a composer who had a certain idea of contrapunctual techniques in his compositional work.

Information supplied by Monika Fahrnberger

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