The Chrismas Archives CHRISTMAS CAROLS FROM POLAND AND MORE
The music you are hearing is a Polish Christmas Carol, "God is Born". It is arranged here for piano by Kazimierz Hubert. You can hear more of his music on the 'Book Reviews' page and 'ADOREMUS' page. You can also read more about Kazik and about Polish Christmas carols on this page.

Polish Christmas Carols are amongst the richest in Europe. The carol is synonymous with Polish Nationalism, and every Poles heart swells at the sound.

During WWII, Captain Jan Sliwinski arranged a number of the old Polish Carols to be published in aid of the Polish Red Cross. Until these publications, it is perhaps a surprising fact that little was known about Polish Carols outside of Poland. The Oxford Book of Carols, which had representations of carols from many countries, did not seem to know these old songs at all. Thus Captain Sliwinski and Major Teslar, who met during the Great War of 1914-18, and were, in their own words, " old comrade-carollers", set down as many as they could remember for posterity, before they died out completely. Some were from the peasant villages, others were grand carols of the gentry (there was a distinction at that time!) and translations done by Mrs Coventry and Mr Gordon.

As it happens, the popularity of Polish folk carols has lived on, and there are many recordings available today, perhaps the loveliest by the Slask and Mazowsze choirs. You can buy these just as easily as clicking to the link at the bottom of this page! I hope that Captain Sliwinski can rest peacefully, wherever he is, knowing that his beloved Polish Carols have lived on!

The following text is his, the words to the carols are also his transcriptions.

The musical arrangement heard here is by Kazimierz Hubert.

 Carols went from the Church into the Village. Their Latin form in Poland dates from the 15th, the vernacular one from the 16th century In the naive familiarity with which the husbandman treats Jesus and His Mother, we get something of the atmosphere of Polish country life its relations and habits its feelings and ways of expressing them. For carols are not prayers only but tales in an uncouth language artless, without talent and often even without rhyme The influence of Polish dame forms in the 18th century made carols still more worldly and her task according to an old Polish manuscript, of amusing and lulling the Child to sleep,' became easier.

In obvious contrast to such real folk creations-stands the first item in oar suite. Its author is F. Karpinski (C. 1741-1825), whose '' Morning Song' and '' Evening Song are still the. everyday prayer of all Polish Catholic,. As early as 1782, in his essay on The Rhetorics in Prose and Verse; Karpinski -They tailed him poet of the heart ' -quotes ' Ossian ' Macphersons. Songs of Selma in his own translation. The baroque antitheses it his carol reminds one of passages in carols by Jeremy Taylor.

The austerity of my translation, kindly approved by T. S. Eliot is an attempt to render the original as closely as possible. But only now I realise that the phrase lies naked is too commonplace For the equivalent of the rarer Polish "obnazony" is denuded' which would fit better into the preciousness of the whole. Ending patriotically with a stanza I have not given "Raise Thy Hand." Child Divine." And bless our dear beloved Country' and set by an unknown composer to the rhythm of a flourished.. stately Polonaise this carol has risen to the. status of a national Christmas Hymn.

In Vienna shortly after his ratting for ever roan Poland haunted by the sad news from Warsaw of the November Rising in 1830 Chopin 'wrote his first Scherzo, Op. 20 in B minor. The soothing carol in the middle part after the stormy desperation of the beginning takes its theme from our Lullaby dear Jesus' in at older and simpler version of the tune. The painter poet Wyspianski brooding in his play 'Deliverance' over tie past and not less tragic present. visualises the happy Polish household singing carols.

Six long war winters the Polish soldier has sung these carols in many foreign lands and found comfort in them. The Polish carol has become the unacknowledged symbol of the exile's yearning for home

.

JAN SLIWINSKI 1945

This site gives you a short introduction to the music of Poland in the carols you can hear on this page, Books page and Adoremus page. Other Polish Christmas Music, as well as music from all over the world can be found in WORLD TOUR and CHRISTMAS AT HOME. By next year there will be a complete Polish Page to link to.

THE CAROLS

All three carols have been arranged by Kazimierz Hubert, who at the age of 21 had already done film score and was a BAFTA nominee. They were originally arranged for a full symphony orchestra, and have been adapted to piano for this midi version.

"God is Born" (Bog sie Rodzi) is the National Christmas hymn of Poland. A rousing and stately polonaise. The words to this carol were written by Franciszek Karpinski in the 18th century. The melody is traditionally known to be a coronation polonaise for the Polish Kings, and known as early as the reign of Stefan Batory in the 16th century. Its composer is unknown.

"Merrily to Bethlehem" (Przybiezeli do Betlejem) is thought to be one of the oldest carols still sung today. Its words are not attributed to anyone, but its music was written in the 16th century by Jan of Lublin, a joyous light hearted song of the baroque epoch in Poland. This tune will play on the Book reviews page.

"Pastiche" on Merrily to Bethlehem is a short introduction to the Adoremus page. It was originally going to form part of a much longer arrangement on the carol, but remains here in its original form.

Anyone who does not get the music playing as they open the pages, can select the tunes on the control box. The music is copyright and may not be copied off for use on any other site without express permission from the composer. (Contact through Christmas Archives)

To purchases Polish books, music and videos go to the POLart page. You can get some unique Christmas videos from Zem at the Polart link , but anyone wanting to  buy from the States, or to buy books on Polish Christmas, can  go direct to the PolArtCenter for a whole list of seasonal goodies for Christmas, Easter and other times too!

To follow many links to other Polish sites in both Polish and English on every subject under the sun! Go to Zems main page and check the links. Their Polish Culture page is full of Christmas links!

For more Polish Christmas Carols with words printed and music playing for all the verses so you can sing along, go to Koledy Polskie.

Another site of excellent sing-along Polish Carols is at http://www.kki.net.pl/yasf/koledy.htm


poppyseed roll

STRUCLA
Poppy-Seed Roll

Leavening;

  • 1/4 oz yeast
  • 1 tbs. Sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk
Dough:
  • 4 1/2. cups flour
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • pinch of salt
  • 5 tbs. 'fat * butter for greasing pan *
Filling:
  • 3/4 lb. poppy seeds
  • boiling water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 Bitter almonds
  • (lemon peel)
  • 2 tbs. butter
  • 2 1/2 tbs. raisins
  • 2 egg whites

Pour boiling water over poppy seeds; when they can be crushed between the fingers set aside' in sieve to drain overnight, put through food chopper the next day. Add filling ingredients to taste, combine. Prepare dough as in recipe for buns, set aside to rise. Div1de the leavened dough into two parts, roll out into rectangular shape, place half the poppy-seeds on the dough, spreading evenly, roll up tightly. Place roll in greased pan (long, narrow shape), set aside to rise.

Prepare the other roll.

When the roll in the pan doubles in bulk, place in well-heated oven, bake about 3/4 hour.

Remove carefully, cool resting on edge of board to avoid steaming. ~ The roll may be topped with powdered vanilla sugar or iced.

Serve the next day.


 

To find other Polish sites from this site, go to my WORLD TOUR OF CHRISTMAS. There you can find sites on the old Polish carols and early Polish Music, Polish World, and others.

Oplatki. Visit this site to order the traditional Christmas eve Polish wafers.

PolStore, a site to order Christmas gifts, sweets, herbal products,natural foods, teas, and cosmetics direct from Poland.

Go to my Book Reviews page, and you will find extracts from my books about Polish Christmas. Particularly in WARTIME CHRISTMAS and CHRISTMAS AROUND THE WORLD.

If you have a question about Polish Christmas, or you have something of interest to tell us, please EMail me, or go to my Forum and write it there, and I will answer you.

Polish Szopka

This is a traditional Christmas Crib from Krakow in Poland. These cribs are designed around the architecture of the Wawel Cathedral which dominates the city square of Krakow, where these cribs are brought during the first week of December to a huge Christmas market and competition. The best are kept in the Ethnographic museum, which sponsors the competition. The rest are sold at the market



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