In Natali Domini in Potsdam


Photo: Ewa Czarska

I N    N A T A L I    D O M I N I

2 December 2015 19.00 , Friedenssaal des Friedenskirchengemeinde,

Schopenhauerstraße 23, 14467 Potsdam




Christmas carol or Christmas song emerged from congratulatory songs that were performed around Christmas time in the middle ages. Within the 16th century a transition took place and from now on the songs were almost entirely concerned with the birth of Jesus. Both melodies and texts were most probably written for mystery plays taking place outside of the church walls. The first of those plays were recorded around 11th century. There are numerous records of songs for such occasions and they were relatively common across Europe.
In the 16th century a Christmas song gradually finds its way into the church where it starts to be sung during Advent and Christmas times. Also a tradition of performing Christmas songs around towns and villages emerges, where it was mostly done by groups of children (Stanisław Hozjusz, Confessio fidei catholicae christiana, Krakow 1553).
In the 15th century there already existed a tradition of Christmas songs but  they were mostly in Latin. Reformatory movements brought about translations of the song texts into local languages and thus the same songs can be found in different songbooks and different languages across the continent.
Most of the pieces were preserved in Protestant songbooks and although some of those collections seem quite late, they only recorded a pre-existing oral tradition that was common to both Catholic and Protestant churches.

In the programme we wanted to present some of the most popular Latin Christmas time songs that were published or written down in song books from the regions of Germany, Poland, Silesia and Czech through the 16th century. Some of them like Puer Natus in Bethlehem can be found in many German and Polish sources. Mostly it is difficult to determine the exact time span when the books were compiled as well as who the authors of the texts were, although there are some sources like Johann Spangeberg’s Alte und newe geistliche lieder (1544) where Spangenberg is the author of the German translation. Some of the songs might probably be original compositions with only one language version (like e.g. Witaj Jezu przenasłodszy). They were all performed already in the Advent and through Christmas time. The versions in the programme come from various song books from the 16th century but also versions by Michael Praetorius will be performed. We have also included a number of instrumental pieces and a few songs from the Glogauer Liederbuch (1477-1481), an amazing source of liturgical and non-liturgical musical tradition of Silesia at the end of the 15th century.


Organised and produced by Deutsches Kulturforum östliches Europa



First CD reviews

cds small

Here come some of the first reviews of our CD with John Dowland’s The Second Booke of Songs (1600)

‘The entire Second Booke of Songs or Ayres has been recorded by the Berlin based Polish soprano Maria Skiba and lutenist Frank Pschichholz. It is an absolutely pure approach to Dowland: straight vibrato-less voice carrying emotions through dynamics and strong rhetoric, and the lute accompaniment also without fuss…. As we can see, for Pschichholz the performance of Dowland and the exploration of the composer has become a life task. In the booklet (…) you can find  his [Pschichholz’s] very interesting essay on Dowland…
Listening to this CD is a great pleasure.’
Dorota Szwarcman


‘DUX records has just released a very thoroughly published CD containing the second of Dowland’s song collections: The Second Booke of Songs or Ayres (1600)… The interpretation of 23 pieces recorded on this disc owes its charm both to the clear vibrato-less  soprano… and to the mastery of the lutenist, for whom following the footsteps of John Dowland has become a life mission and destiny. Frank Pschichholz in a unique and engaging way manages to deliver the spirit of this music… Also Maria Skiba’s soprano has not been subject to interpretative twists and that is why the emotions are set free through pure not theatrically contaminated dynamics…
Despite the enormous amount of CDs released every week it is indeed very rare to find music from a few hundreds of years ago that is so authentic and not tainted with time and interpretative possibilities of the performers. This CD is a real treasure that can transport us in an instant into turbulent times of Old England and Shakespeare.’

Robert Ratajczak

International Release: John Dowland, The Second Booke of Songs or Ayres (1600)


We are proud to annouce that on July 3rd 2015 our CD with the entire Second Booke of Songs or Ayres of John Dowland (1600)  was internationally released by the label  DUX.

It can be purchased on  for example here:

CD: John Dowland, The Second Booke of Songs or Ayres (1600)


John Dowland, The Second Booke of Songs or Ayres (1600)

THE SCHOOLE OF NIGHT: Maria Skiba – soprano, Frank Pschichholz – lute

The CD has just been released by the record label DUX. It is a co-production of The Schoole of Night, Polskie Radio Dwójka and Dux.

Recorded in Studio Koncertowe im. Witolda Lutosławskiego in Warsaw by Julita Emanuiłow, Graphic design by Ewa Czarska (LiDesign).

Gotisches Echo in Potsdam

On 7.03.2015 at 19.00 in the Nikolaikirche in Potsdam we performed
a programme based on the Glogauer Liederbuch (1477-1481) – a manuscript now in the Jagiellonian Library in Kraków


G O T I S C H E S    E C H O


1.    Salve Mater Salvatoris (13. Jh; Anfang)
2.    Groß Sehnen
3.    Nu bitten wir den heiligen geist
4.    Christ der ist erstanden
5.    Groß Sehnen
6.    Jezus Chrystus, Bog Człowiek, mądrość Oćca swego (15. Jh) / Christus der uns selig macht
7.    Der Ratten Schwantz
8.    Es leit ein schloss in Oesterreich
9.    Es seuftzt eine frau so sere in ihrem gemuete
10.    Pieśń o Wiklefie (circa 1449)
11.    Der Fuchs Schwantz
12.    ich sachs ein mals
13.    Der Fuchs Schwantz
14.    Ach Elzeleyn
15.     Else , el se mundo (6 Strophen)
16.    Bogurodzica (Ende; 13. Jh)