In the Cathedral Basilica in Gniezno, Poland, was held an extraordinary concert of Christmas carols. Irena Santor, the first lady of Polish song, sang with the Primate’s Choir, which this year celebrates the centenary of its existence.
Below I present material collected from web portals about the concert of Christmas carols in Archcathedral Basilica in Gniezno performed by Irena Santor, considered the first lady of the stage in Poland, and by the Choir of the Polish Primate where I sang regularly until mid-October 2013. Here I give you some information, links to websites, and sample images from about 60 photos in both albums included. On the website of the Archdiocese of Gniezno, you can also watch and listen to a short interview of Irena Santor and Fr. Dariusz Sobczak, director of the Primate’s Choir, and two snippets of Christmas carols in our performance. I enclose here two examples of carols sung by us from a disc recorded by the Choir (unfortunately without Irena Santor).
Sr. Aleksandra Podlezanska, SAC
The concert took place on the Epiphany evening under the patronage of the Polish Primate, Archbishop Jozef Kowalczyk and President of Gniezno, Jacek Kowalski. “This event enrolls in golden letters in the history of the choir” – said Fr. Dariusz Sobczak, Director of the choir. Irena Santor also did not hide emotions. As she admitted, “It has been a long time since I last sang with any choir. On the one hand it is a huge challenge, on the other hand a great pleasure. I am proud and happy that for the second time in my life I can perform in the cathedral in Gniezno. I am doubly thrilled because I can sing with the Primate’s Choir which is very well run and really beautifully sings “- said the artist. The concert attracted a crowd of inhabitants of Gniezno, including Bishop Krzysztof Wetkowski, Archbishop senior Henryk Muszynski, Bishop senior Bogdan Wojtus and representatives of local authorities.
Primate’s Choir was founded in April 1914 and continues the tradition of musical bands existing in the Cathedral since the sixteenth century. In 1914, as a result of Cecilian reform, the music director, Fr. Stanislaw Tloczynski disbanded the cathedral orchestra, and expanded the existing choir, which in later years, from the initiative of Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski, the Primate of the Poland, was named – Primate’s Choir [Chór Prymasowski]. It is the only team of singers which could boast this name, and was linked directly with each successive Primate of Poland. The choir is led by music directors appointed by Archbishops of Gniezno. This office was held in turn by Fr. can. Stanislaw Tloczynski (1914-1958), Fr. mitred prelate Monsignor Wladyslaw Zientarski (1959-1965), Fr. prof. dr hab. Ireneusz Pawlak (1965-1970) and Fr. can. Richard Figiel (1970-2008). Fr. Dariusz Sobczak has been the choir director since 2008. Carol Concert with the participation of Irena Santor inaugurated the centenary celebrations of the Primate’s Choir.
From: bgk KAI
Photos by. J. Andrzejewski
* * *
DREAMLIKE CONCERT OF IRENA SANTOR
Christmas carols have a specific magic that makes them unite people, conjuring up a festive atmosphere even in a couple of weeks after Christmas. But if we have the opportunity to hear them performed by an artist of high class, they gain unique power and are adopted in our memory for many month. Will certainly be so in the case of Christmas carols, which gathered crowds audience could listen to January 6, 2014, in the Cathedral of Gniezno. Indeed, in a beautiful arrangement, during a joint concert with the Primate’s Choir under the direction of Fr. Dariusz Sobczak sang them herself Irena Santor.
First Lady of the Polish stage enthused his wonderful voice inhabitants of Gniezno, high culture on stage and a great selection of repertoire. Not only popular Christmas carols were sung but also lesser-known ones. A beautiful mezzo-soprano of the artist harmonizes wonderfully melodic songs, and festively decked out Cathedral has added to the whole event incredible brilliance.
It should be emphasized that the event covered by the Honorary Patronage of the President of Gniezno Jacek Kowalski and Polish Primate Jozef Kowalczyk brought to everyone gathered at the concert a lot of joy. At the conclusion of the event the Host of the City handed both the artist – Irena Santor, and Fr. Dariusz Sobczak Coronation Medals in recognition of lifetime achievements. It should be mentioned that this concert was the inauguration of the 100th anniversary of the Choir in Gniezno.
We hope that Irena Santor, who visited Gniezno for the second time, sometime will visit again our city and once again will present the full range of her extraordinary artistic abilities.
By Wiktor Koliński, MCIP
Photo: Jerzy Andrzejewski