The series Fontes Musicae in Polonia

Tomasz Jeż

Thursday, March 30, 2023

We have received the following from Tomasz Jeż (editor-in-chief of the series Fontes Musicae in Polonia):

In 2015, on the occasion of commencing work on the research project entitled “The musical repertoire of the Society of Jesus in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (1565–1773)” implemented by the University of Warsaw and financed by the Minister of Science and Higher Education as part of the National Program for the Development of Humanities, a new publishing series, Fontes Musicae in Polonia, was launched. The series is affiliated with the Institute of Musicology of the University of Warsaw, but in fact is an initiative of a team of researchers from many different research centres from Poland and neighbouring countries, whose presence in this project was related to the displacement of musical sources, going beyond both the contemporary and historical borders of Poland.

The main goal of the series is the development and creation of critical editions of musical sources that are in various ways related to the musical traditions of our country. Fontes Musicae in Polonia includes three publishing series: in series A we publish catalogues of music collections based on RISM standards, in series B are facsimile editions and monographs, and series C includes source-critical editions of musical pieces. In addition to carefully prepared music editions, the last series includes a critical commentary and a list of editorial corrections, as well as an extensive introduction to the edition, covering the themes of heuristic criticism, the composer’s biography, cultural context, and stylistic analysis of the published pieces.

During the first six years of the series’ existence, we published 6 catalogues, 6 books, and 32 volumes of music editions with a repertoire of mainly Jesuit provenance. The musical material we have developed is, for the most part, previously unknown sources, conveying works by composers associated with many different music centres. Among the 723 newly released works, currently attributed to the output of 90 composers, a wide spectrum of genres and forms can be found, including polyphonic arrangements of masses and motets in the prima pratica style, large- and small-scale church concerts, cantata cycles, and organ intavolations of vocal music.

The 6,278 pages of the score editions that our research team has published over the last five years allow for a fairly representative insight into the previously forgotten and disregarded music tradition associated with the Jesuit centres. The stylistic quality of the repertoire prompts us not only to restore this repertoire to our scholarly memory, but also to the contemporary tradition of historically oriented performance. Some of the compositions released in our series have already had their historic premieres and recordings. We hope that our publications (printed and also available free as PDFs at, most of which are linked with the source descriptions of in RISM Catalog and RISM Online) will also interest scholars, performers, and institutions promoting our common heritage of European music.

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