The lute – the beauty of early Polish music (Episode 27)


This story was featured in: Episode 27

Magdalena Tomsińska

Magdalena Tomsinska was born in Poland, where she majored in classical guitar at the Nowowiejski Academy of Music in Bydgoszcz and lute at the Penderecki Academy of Music in Krakow, where she received her Master of Music. She came to Canada in 1992, where she plays professionally and teaches guitar and lute at the Beckett School of Music in Kitchener. Magdalena has performed on renaissance lute, baroque guitar, the orbo and classical guitar with various music groups from Canada and Poland, including Tactus Vocal Ensemble, Nota Bene Period Orchestra and Nota Bene Baroque Players, Renaissance Singers, Cardinal Consort, Collegium Vocale Bydgoszcz and Canor Anticus along with soloists such as Stephanie Kramer, Jennifer Enns-Modolo and Daniel Cabena. She is a member of the Toronto Continuo Collective.

The lute

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Listen to Magdalena’s music

“Ach meczek”:

“Balletto Polacho No.3”:


Pieces from the Gdansk Lute Tablature by Magdalena Tomsinska


Excerpts from reviews of the album “Pieces from the Gdańsk Lute Tabulature” (DUX 1150)

(…) This is rare repertoire and with the help of the fascinating documentation and a beautiful, close recording the music, although slight in many ways, comes alive. This is aided by clear, warm and precise playing. We are thus presented with a picture of the type of small-scale musical entertainment popular in 17th century Poland. In so clearly a designed programme as that offered here by Magdalena Tomsinska there can be few criticisms. The results are no doubt enhanced by the performer’s preparation: she has been researching the manuscript for some years.(…)

Gary Higginson musicweb-international, classical reviews, May 2015

“Tomsińska plays beautifully with a clear resonant tone, a bright treble and appropriately
damped bass. (…) In summary, this is a beautiful-sounding recording of mostly unique
Lute News 113 (England), April 2015, John Reeve
“Her balletti are played with a skill and clarity worthy of any concert hall recital. Note,
indeed, Balletto Polachos 3, 4 and 30 both for their vigour and the pleasure which the performer
imparts. (…) Tomsińska shows with her inspired playing why her anthology deserves to be
bought – and not just by early-music enthusiasts.
Michael Schwartz, The WholeNote magazine, Toronto, Canada, June 3, 2015
“As a collection of court and folk dances, the music is attractive, melodic, and hummable.
She begins with a set of three balletti polachi, that are enchanting (…) enhancing them with
ornamentation and dynamic interpretations (…). Indeed, it is Tomsinska’s addition of tasteful
variations that lends this album a spontaneous, spirited feel. (…) The playful variety and license exhibited gives this performance a relaxed, improvised quality. We enjoy the music because Tomsinska clearly does. (…) wonderful CD”.
Kate Benessa, Lute Quarterly (USA), vol. 50, Spring & Summer 2015
And this is the theorbo, the instrument that Magda talks about in the POLcast interview:

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O Autorze:

POLcast is an English language podcast, a colourful audio magazine delivered directly to your smartphone, computer or tablet. POLcast is created for everybody interested in Poland. If you have a Polish customer, colleague, girlfriend or grandmother - you will hear something helping you to enrich these relations. Each episode brings you interesting interviews, historical facts, trivia and more.