Cracow Royal Singers
The Royal Rorantist fitted into the cultural trends of Europe in sixteenth and seventeenth century. That time, called the epoch of humanism, knowingly referred to the Hellenic culture, which aspired to perfection in art. According to that, the enlightened Polish King Sigismund the Old, decided to remain in history of Polish culture by building a monument of art – his sepulchral chapel in the Wawel Cathedral. By that means, the King wanted to realize the vision of the perfect piece of art, the synthesis of architecture, sculpture, painting and music. To realize that vision he invited outstanding European artists, who thus became the witnesses of Poland being a part of European culture. The major role in this project played music with its transitory nature, which to exist permanently needs to be revived constantly. Therefore, the King created by the special act of foundation Collegium of Rorantists whose everyday duty was to perform in his chapel a Rorate Caeli mass “forever”. Bringing Collegium of Rorantists to life not only confirmed that Poland was a part of European culture but also brought to it some new artistic values of a highest quality.
At the beginning, The Rorantists were a national ensemble consisted of artists who were not only priest-singers, but also composers (Krzysztof Borek, Tomasz Szadek, Bartłomiej Pękiel, Marcin Paligon, Grzegorz Gerwazy Gorczycki). Apart from performing Polish music, they were also singing songs of leading European composers of that time – Giovanni da Palestrina, Orlando di Lasso, Pierre Certon and others. Active cultural life of a famous European city as Cracow of that time, attracted foreign artists and some of them even became a Rorantist what was generally reserved for Poles (e.g. Annibale Orgas).
The Rorantists played a very important role in cultural life of Poland and Europe. The heritage, that remained after them, is the evidence of their greatness as a unique artistic phenomenon in European life.