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Radomski, Mikołaj [Nicolaus de Radom]locked

  • Mirosław Perz

(b Radom; fl first half of the 15th century). Polish composer. A number of references to individuals named Mikołaj who came from Radom are found in Polish records from between around 1380 and 1480, especially in those from Kraków. These individuals (some of whom may be identical) included a student at Prague University in 1379; a priest endowed with incumbencies in the presbytery of Kraków by Pope Boniface IX in 1390 (the composer's style and technique owed much to Antonius Zachara de Teramo, who worked at Boniface's court); a graduate and bachelor of laws who was vicar of Droginia, near Kraków; the donor of four manuscripts to the library of Kraków University, two of them dating from the second half of the 15th century; and various students at Kraków University between 1420 and 1470.

There are two further contemporary references to musicians called Nicolaus, but these do not specify any place of origin: ‘Nicolaus clavicembalista dominae reginae Poloniae’ was mentioned in 1422 (the composer probably had links with the royal court in Kraków, although definitive proof of this is lacking); and the author of a musical treatise in A-Gu 873 was described as ‘venerabilis magister Nicolaus ferrimulatoris pollonici teritorii magister parisiensis in septem artibus’. The acrostic NICOLAUS is also found in the texts of several compositions copied in central Europe in this period; it is not known whether or not these refer to Radomski.

Radomski's works bear witness to the use of international stylistic conventions and to the development of mature musical techniques at the eastern boundaries of western Europe during the period of transition from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. They are preserved in two Polish manuscripts copied around 1440: PL-Wn 8054, known as the Krasiński manuscript, and the lost PL-Wn 378, now preserved only in facsimile. Only the latter source includes the Polish toponymic form of the composer's name (‘Radomski’).

The Gloria–Credo pairs and the ballades exhibit the characteristics of the late French and Italian Ars Nova of around 1400, being a stylistic replica of the works of Antonius Zachara de Teramo and in general of the Paduan circle of Johannes Ciconia. They are characterized by a three-voice ballade technique in the manner of the conductus, a lack of any plainchant cantus firmus, unresolved harsh dissonances and free use of parallel perfect consonances. The three-voice Alleluia added to one of Radomski's Glorias is melodically linked to Guillaume DuFay's chanson Bon jour, bon mois. The Magnificat recalls the earliest phase of the 15th-century Burgundian school, and with its improvised sections ‘per bordunum’ provides evidence of early fauxbourdon techniques as used also by DuFay. The two surviving ballades follow the conventions of the ‘Reina codex’ repertory (F-Pn They may originally have had Polish amatory texts, but these are now lost: one is transmitted without any text, while the other has a contrafact text, the hymn Hystorigraphi aciem (1422) by Stanisław Ciołek in honour of the royal family.



Les oeuvres complètes de Nicolas de Radom, ed. A. Sutkowski, Gesamtausgaben, v (Brooklyn, NY, 1969) [complete edn]

Sources of Polyphony up to c1500: Facsimile and Transcriptions, AMP, xiii–xiv (1973–6)

Gloria, Credo, 3vv

Gloria, Credo, 3vv

Gloria, Credo, 3vv

Magnificat, 3vv

Alleluia, 3vv, ?contrafact version of chanson

Hystorigraphi aciem (Stanisław Ciołek), 3vv, contrafact version of ballade

Ballade, 3vv (untexted)


  • M. Szczepańska: ‘O utworach Mikołaja Radomskiego (z Radomia)’ [The works of Radomski], PRM, 2 (1936), 87
  • M. Szczepańska: ‘Studia o utworach Mikołaja Radomskiego’ [Studies in the compositions of Mikołaj Radomski], KM, no.25 (1949), 7–54; nos.29–30 (1950), 64–83
  • C.J. Maas: Geschiedenis van het meerstimmig Magnificat tot omstreeks 1525 (Groningen, 1967), 18–23, 42, 53, 55, 57, 111
  • H. Musielak: ‘W poszukiwaniu materiałów do biografii Mikołaja z Radomia’ [In search of biographical material on Radomski], Muzyka, 18/1 (1973), 82–9
  • C.E. Brewer: The Introduction of the ‘Ars Nova’ into East Central Europe: a Study of Late Medieval Sources (diss., CUNY, 1984), 285–94
  • M. Perz: ‘Il carattere internazionale delle opere di Mikołaj Radomski’,MD, 41 (1987), 153–9
  • M. Perz: ‘Kontrafaktury ballad w rękopisie Kras 52 (Pl-Wn 8054)’ [Contrafacta of ballades in MS Krasiński 52], Muzyka, 37/4 (1992), 89–111
  • M. Majchrowski: ‘Powiązania Alleluia przypisywanego Mikołajowi Radomskiemu z chanson “Bon jour, bon mois” Guillaume' a Dufaya’ [Links between an Alleluia attributed to Mikołaj Radomski and Guillaume Dufay's chanson ‘Bon jour, bon mois’), Muzyka, 39/2 (1994), 87–8
  • M. Perz: ‘The Structure of the Lost Manuscript from the National Library in Warsaw, No. 378 (WarN 378)’, From Ciconia to Sweelinck: donum natalicium Willem Elders, ed. A. Clement and E. Jas (Amsterdam, 1994), 1–11
Kwartalnik muzyczny
Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France
Warsaw, Biblioteka Narodowa
Musica disciplina
Graz, Universitätsbibliothek
Polski rocznik muzykologiczny