Zielinski, Mikolai - Ave Maria

public domainfor 8vv and organ

year of composition / 1st publication: 1611 (Offertoria totius anni)

No composer photo available

Composer: Mikolai Zielinski  (s.a.)
Aliases, aka:
Country of origin / activity: Poland
Text author: traditional
Arranger / Editor: N/A

Similar names or titles

PDFMIDIMP3VIDFirst nameLast nameBirthDeathcompID #TitleVoicingInstrumentation
1100MichalZielenski1965 2002 Ave MariaSATBa cappella
0011MikolaiZielenski155016151611 Ave Maria8vvorgan

 Available documentation:

not available
My thanks and appreciation to
for sending me this score.

Lyrics: (source)
not available 

MIDI: not availableMP3: not available


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Internet references, biography information:


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Mikołaj Zieleński (Zelenscius, birth and death dates unknown) was a Polish composer, organist and Kapellmeister to the primate Baranowski, Archbishop of Gniezno.

Zieleński's only known surviving works are two 1611 liturgical cycles of polychoral works, the Offertoria/Communes totius anni. These were dedicated to the Archbishop of Gniezno, Wojciech Baranowski. The whole comprises eight part-books and a ninth book, the Partitura pro organo, which constitutes the organ accompaniment. This publication contains in all 131 pieces written for various vocal and also vocal and instrumental ensembles, all with organ accompaniment.

The Venetian publication does not only comprise the offertories and communions; we find there also over a dozen other pieces, such as hymns, antiphons, a magnificat, and even three instrumental fantasias. In his compositions Zieleński relies on his own creative invention and does not, in general, make use of the cantus firmi. The few pieces which a pre-existent melody may be traced out are based not on a plainsong melody but on the melodies of Polish songs. The sets consist of large-scale double- and triple-choir antiphons, as well as some monodic works typical of the Seconda pratica style of early Monteverdi. Zieleński's music is the first known Polish music set in the style of the Baroque.

Offertoria totius anni, Venetijs, Apud Iacobum Vincentium MDCXI 1611
Communiones totius anni...
References[edit]Mirosław Perz, article "Mikołaj Zieleński" in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 2001.
Mikolaj Zieleński "Monumenta Musicae in Polonia. Opera omnia I, II, III, IV, V". Polskie Wydawnictwo Muzyczne S.A., 1991
External links
Free scores by Mikołaj Zieleński in the Choral Public Domain Library (ChoralWiki)
complete list of works and biography at Polish Music Center (English)
Zieleński's Magnifikat performed by Ensemble Europeen William Byrd, conducted by Graham O´Reilly


Following note comes from CD record with Zieleński's music. I could not find it's author, otherwise I would mention his/her name there.

"Little is known today about the life and work of Mikołaj Zieleński, who lived in the turn of the 17th century, indeed too little, considering the volume of his work and its historical significance. The fragmentary information we have about him today allows us to reconstruct but a very fragmentary biographical sketch about this composer. The circumstances in which his exceptional talent was born are a matter of many hypotheses and conjectures. The music created thanks to his exceptional gift allowed Zieleński to take a place in the history of music whereby he is even regarded as the best Polish composer before Chopin. Szymon Skorowolski, a historian contemporary to Zieleński, classified him as a member of a group of Polish composers who had been educated in Rome: in media Roma exercitati. This is a reference of great significance as it locates the fundamental source of his musical knowledge as a professional composer.
Although the time of his musical education is not thus determined, it makes it possible to come up with a hypothesis as to the range of the Italian music masters under whom he had studied or whose music became familiar to him and indicates his possible connections within Italian musical circles. It is quite certain that Zieleński studied the work of Palestrina, whose compositions were recognized by the Council of Trent as the stylistic paragon and pattern of church polyphony. He also became familiar with the compositions of the Gabrieli's (Andrea and his nephew Giovanni) the two most eminent representatives of the Venetian school. Likewise, it cannot be excluded that the Polish composer acquainted himself with the ideas of the Florentine camerata contained in the Dialogo della musica antica et della moderna of V. Galilea (1581). Perhaps even the first attempt at accompanied monody made by Caccini and Galilea in their Le nuove musiche (1601) were not unfamiliar to him.

All the above suppositions and conclusions seem to find corroboration in the two volumes of works by Mikołaj Zieleński, the Offertoria and the Communiones published in Venice in 1611 at the printing press of Jacob Vincentius. Both the frontispiece and the short preface published in this book state that Zieleński was a composer, organist and Kapelmeister at the court of the Polish primate Wojciech Baranowski. The status of the patron as well as the seat of his court, Łowicz, the capital of the archbishops and primates of Poland, and a well-known centre of musical life, were fully in keeping with the composer's rank as a musician.

Unfortunately, these are the only known facts concerning the life and work of Mikołaj Zieleński. We know much more about his mastery as a composer from the works he managed to publish.

Offertoria totius anni which make up the first volume, contain 56 seven - and eight voice compositions enriched with the accompaniment of instruments. Next to the Offertoria known surely after Gabrielli's Sacrae Simphoniae we find here a twelve voice Magnificat. The pieces in this collection are rendered in the concert style of the polychoral Venetian school. Let us emphasize that the eight voice texture became the most typical form of this type of composition at the beginning of the 17th century. By taking up this trend, Zieleński became one of the precursors of the innovational approach to the offertory.

Communiones totius anni is composed of 57 (63? - A.J.) pieces differing as to the number of voices (from one to six) and as to the cast of performers. The majority among them are concertante motets transposed in nota contra notam and often alluding to the classical style of Palestrina. A considerable group of pieces consists of tercets, duets and accompanied monodies. The application of the monodic and concertante styles in the Communiones testifies to the innovational character of Mikołaj Zieleński


Mikołaj Zieleński was a bandmaster and organist at the court of the primate Wojciech Baranowski in Lowicz. It is not known since when and for how long he was in this position. Also unknown are the dates of his birth and death. (However, Wojciech Baranowski was a primate from 1608 until 1615). Some suggested that Zieleński studied in Venice but there is no proof of that even though his works were published there. Zieleński's preserved compositions are as follows: Offertoria totius anni and Communiones totius anni, together 122 works which were published by Vincentius in Venice in 1611. The collection of Offertoria is made up of 56 compositions. The first 44 works are based on liturgical text of offertoria. The text of the others consist of two communions, one magnificat, and nine different religious texts. Except for the Magnificat which is for 12 voices (3 choirs for 4 voices) all the other compositions are for 8 or 7 voices( 2 choirs for 4 voices, 1 choir for 4 voices, and 1 choir for 4 voices and 3 voices).
The first edition of Offertoria totius Anni contains 8 books for voices and one score for organ which contains extreme voices of each choir (Cantus et Bassus Primi et secundi chori, in the Magnificat as well as Cantus et Bassus tertii chori). The books for voices, which was known to exist in Wrocław until 1939 was partially lost during the World War II. The part which still exists is Cantus primi chori, Tenor primi chori, Altus secundi chori, Tenor secundi chori, can be found in the University library in Wrocław. One copy of Partitura pro organo (the only one known) is in the Museum Czartoryski in Krakow. The other copy of Cantus primi chori is in the Jagellonnian University in Kraków. According to A. Chybinski in his dictionary of Polish Musicians (1949) another copy of a score for voices is in the Baworowski Library in Lwów.

Page last modified: November 24, 2013