Italian music created and dedicated for Lithuanian rulers


At the turn of the XVI-XVII centuries the Polish-Lithuanian royal court had one of the most impressive royal music chapels in Europe. The King of Poland and the Grand Duke of Lithuania since 1587, Sigismund III Vasa was a music lover since childhood. He built his royal chapel hiring promising young musicians from Italy, many of them pupils of Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina. Such important names of European music history as Giovanni Francesco Anerio, Luca Marenzio or Tarquinio Merula worked in Sigimund’s court. Other influential composers like Benedetto Ferrari or Francesco Rognoni were dedicating him their printed works or collections. Sigismund’s counsellor in The Grand Duchy of Lithuania Leonas Sapiega also followed king’s example, creating a high level music chapel in Vilnius and hiring Italian masters such as Giovanni Battista Cocciola to work as a chapelmaster.

Sigismund’s son Wladyslaw IV Vasa, since the times when he was a prince, became known in Europe not only as an outstanding warrior, but also as a great music lover. For the occasion of his official visit to Italy in 1624, Francesca Caccini wrote her opera “La liberazione di Ruggiero dall’isola d’Alcina”, composers like Jacopo Peri and Giovanni Girolamo Kapsberger created staged works dedicated to the prince. After Wladyslaw became the king of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1632, he started commissioning operas for his palace, most probably written by his royal chapelmaster Marco Scacchi.

This program presents selected musical treasures created by Italian composers, who worked in the royal court of Sigismund Vasa and Wladyslaw Vasa or were dedicating their works to them. It is supplemented with works from other Lithuanian sources, aiming to reconstruct the musical voices heard in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in the early XVII century.




Palestrina/Francesco Rognoni, Pulchra es


Giovanni Girolamo Kapsberger, Avrilla mia


Giovanni Battista Cocciola, Ave mundi spes Maria


Orlando di Lasso/Francesco Rognon, Susanne ung jour


Francesca Caccini, Io mi distruggo


Tarquinio Merula, Capriccio cromatico


Tarquinio Merula, Hor che tempo di dormire


Marcho Scacchi, Laudate pueri, Dominum


Tarquinio Merula, La Treccha


Benedetto Ferrari, Amanti, io vi so a dire


Tarquinio Merul, Folle e ben che si crede



1 singer, 1 cornetto/recorder, 1 viola da gamba, 1 harpsichord/organ