Vratislavia, Brassel, Breslau, Wrocław, or "WrocLove"

The fourth-largest city in Poland has worn many names over the course of its storied past. This year, Wrocław is one of the two European Capitals of Culture, along with Donostia-San Sebastián in Spain. The full calendar of events and more information about the Polish city can be found on www.wroclaw2016.pl.

Wrocław developed into an important center of culture and trade from the fourteenth to sixteenth centuries thanks to its strategic geographic location at the intersection of important trade routes. Breslau, as it was known then, played an important role in music history beginning in the twelfth century, and especially in the fifteenth century in the area of early organ building (including organs at the cathedral in 1417, St. Mary on the Sand in 1435, St. Mary Magdalene in 1455, and St. Elizabeth in 1460). Under Hapsburg rule (1526-1741), Venetian polychoral style was performed as well as monody. While plenty of Protestant church music has survived, we know little about music cultivated in civic life. Operas were performed at the beginning of the eighteenth century, when an Italian troupe introduced the people of Breslau to 41 operas. Once the Prussians came into power, the second half of the eighteenth century saw developments in church music, concert life, and the theater in equal measure.

Numerous sources that documented the flourishing musical culture of Wrocław were destroyed in the two world wars. RISM records seven libraries with musical sources in Wrocław, of which three have sources in the online catalog: Archiwum Archidiecezjalne i Biblioteka Kapitulna (PL-WRk; 376 entries, all manuscripts), Biblioteka Uniwersytecka (PL-WRu; over 11,800 entries from all RISM series, including 15 digitized manuscripts), and Zakład Narodowy im. Ossolińskich (PL-WRzno; 3 printed editions from series A/I).

Image: Anonymous, "Sanguine proprio redemisti nos Deus," part of a collective manuscript dating between 1600 and 1650, f.6v-7r. Biblioteka Uniwersytecka (PL-WRu) 60048 Muz. RISM ID no. 301006933.


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