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Marcin Józef Żebrowski belongs among those 18th century Polish composers whose work is only now being discovered. Żebrowski was a member of the musical establishment of the Paulite Fathers at Jasna Góra in Częstochowa, in which he was active during 1748-65 and around 1780 as composer, violinist, bass vocalist and teacher.
The work of the composer which has come down to us represents a richer output, of which the greatest part is kept in the archives of the Paulite Fathers at Jasna Góra in Częstochowa: thirty entries under twenty one catalogue numbers. Moreover, fragments of Żebrowski's work are to be found in the collections of the following chapel music establishments: the parish musical establishment in Szalowa and the musical establishment of the Dominican Fathers in Gidle.
In respect of the volume of preserved works Żebrowski belongs thus among the foremost l8th century Polish composers known today. This applies not only to vocal-instrumental, but also to purely instrumental music: his Sonatae pro processione are an exceptionally valuable part of the heritage of Polish instrumental music of the pre-classical period.
Among the vocal-instrumental works, which form the main current of Żebrowski's output, his Mass compositions deserve particular attention. At present there are five known manuscripts containing his Masses, out of which four, kept at Jasna Góra, are complete, and one - belonging to the collection of the parish musical establishment in Szalowa - incomplete. All the Jasna Góra manuscripts have been preserved in very good condition. These are: Missa ex D, Missa Pastoralis, Missa Pastoritia, Missa in B. These compositions were still part of the repertoire of the Kapelle in 1819. Comparing Żebrowski's work with the preserved output of other contemporary composers we can see that he is superior to them in his mastery of compository technique, and above all in inventiveness and creativity in shaping the melodic line.
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