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The Old Europe - Capella Cracoviensis for Christmas

Stimmwerck, photo by Johannes Braus
Just before Christmas, Capella Cracoviensis suggests a return to an old tradition and the holiday calendar

Old Europe features vocal and instrumental pieces by old masters, written especially for the Advent period: individual concertsare dedicated to the music of French and Polish Baroque, German Renaissance. The only contemporary accent, strongly rooted in Mediaeval traditions, is the presentation of “Magnificat” by Arvo Pärt.

The project includes Cracovian ensembles – Harmonia Sacra, Kapela Rorantystów and Octava Ensemble together with Stimmwerck, a male quartet from Germany. However, the brightest star will undoubtedly be one of the world’s greatest vocal ensembles specialising in early music: The Hilliard Ensemble from the UK, which inaugurates the series with Renaissance music from the Iberian Peninsula.

Advent music is composed around the great O antiphons, which directly refer to the prophecy of Isaiah of the coming of the Messiah and emphasise the significance of the last seven days of Advent. The programme is complemented by organ concerts performed by such renowned artists as Matteo Riboldi, Andrzej Szadejko, Marek Toporowski or Marek Pilch. These are quite unique encuonters with the sound of Old Europe.

Jan Tomasz Adamus, the artistic director of Capella Cracoviensis on the series:

The Old Europe project presents musical traditions which are being slowly forgotten by the modern world. The Old Europe is a type of sensitivity: it’s Passion music in March, Advent and Christmas music in December. The Old Europe is a humanistic tradition which we cultivate with pleasure!

The concerts take place in the old Churches of Kraków - St. Mary’s Basilica, Bernardine Church, Pauline Church, Holy Cross Church, St. Mark’s Church, St. Barbara’s Church, Corpus Christi Church.
Stimmwerck and organ player Marek Pilch render the sounds of German Renaissance - Michael Praetorius, Hans Leo Hassler, Johannes Heugel, Sigismund Paminger and Leonhart Schröter, as well as Dietrich Buxtehudeg, Heinrich Finck and Johann Sebastian Bach.

Stimmwerck is a male classical music vocal quartet ensemble specialising in the rediscovery and reproduction of the music of little known renaissance composers of the German-speaking world.
Stimmwerck was founded in Munich, Germany in 2001, by four specialists in classical vocal ensemble singing; the two tenors, Gerhard Hölzle and Klaus Wenk, bass singer Marcus Schmidl, and counter tenor Franz Vitzthum.

Their name reflects the ensemble's structure and purpose. "Stimmwerck" comes from a 16th century German term often used (for example, by Michael Praetorius) for a group of instruments of the same type but of different ranges, similar to the English term "consort of instruments". Thus, the ensemble is a “Stimmwerck” of classically trained male voices in varying ranges, attuned to one another in skill.

The Old Europe concert series run between the 16th and 23rd of December, 2011 in the churches of Kraków. Detailed programme can be found at


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