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Adam Jarzębski (* Warka, before 1590;+ Warszawa, 1648 or early 1649; last mention of him from 26/12/1648 - dictating his last will)

   He was a violinist, composer, poet and writer and is first heard of in 1612 as being a new member of the chapel of Johann Siegmund Hohenzollern in Berlin. After having granted a year's leave of absence for a visit to Italy he did not return to Berlin, however, but became a member of the royal chapel at Warszawa instead. He is known by his manuscript "Canzoni e concerti" which contained 27 instrumental pieces for two to four voices. All of them had b. c. with them; unfortunately that manuscript is now lost. Some of the works appear in the Peplin tablatures. They are all trancriptions of existing vocal works in polyphonic styles by other composers (e. g., Gabrieli, Merulo, Palestrina, ...). However, Jarzebski treated these transcriptions in such a creative manner that they are in fact quite new compositions which appear very instrumental in nature. He used the given material only in the beginning of the trancriptions and introduced new elements, like dance rhythms (e. g. in 'Susanna videns'), into many of the pieces. Also, his melodies are richly ornamented, no matter what piece would be taken into account.

His pieces resemble several types of Ricercari, Fantasie and Canzone; of particular interest among those is the arch-form canzona which was still a rare form in the Central European chamber music of that time. The composer brought Italianate trio-sonata textures to Warszawa and did an interesting job in variation techniques in his vocal compositions, of which unfortunately nowadays many are only incompletely preserved.

Information supplied by Monika Fahrnberger

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