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Sweelinck: Keyboard Music / Christopher Herrick


Release Date: 10/14/2003 
Label:  Hyperion   Catalog #: 67421/2   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck
Performer:  Christopher Herrick
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 2 Hours 32 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews


There are too few recordings of keyboard music by Sweelinck for it to sound momentous in claiming that this is the finest of them, but if you have even the slightest interest in the history of the North European school that led straight to J.S. Bach, or if you simply enjoy delightfully varied and inventive organ music, then add this set to your shopping list. Christopher Herrick has located a marvelous Swedish instrument with a long and colorful history that has been restored (more or less) to its original mid-17th century condition, and it suits this music perfectly. Sweelinck was one of those "notey" composers, not in the sense of over-writing or empty note-spinning, but rather in that
Read more something interesting is always happening and the music gives an impression of inexhaustible onward development. For each type of work (formally speaking) Herrick finds a distinctive color that maximizes the timbral variety and character of Sweelinck's omnivorous musical inspiration.


Sweelinck's keyboard music falls into three large categories. First, there are the large "abstract" free-form pieces, like Disc 1's opening Fantasia Chromatica, the Fantasia (a-Phrygian), the Toccata (Ionian), the Echo Fantasia (Ionian), and final Ricercar (Aeolian). Here Herrick uses the full resources of his instrument, and while you will not find the same level of fireworks that characterizes the output of later masters, the sustained level of intensity and "Gothic grandeur" that became a hallmark of the North German organ school is very much present. Next come variations sets based on sacred melodies, the largest being Erbarme dich mein, o Herre Gott, which lasts more than 12 minutes, and Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ. Whether in these solemn pieces or in the more jubilant Allein Gott in der Höh sei Her, Herrick emphasizes some wonderful reed stops, making Sweelinck's polyphony immaculately clear and imparting a feeling of devotional austerity even when the composer seems carried away with the sheer fun of turning his fingers loose all over the keyboard.


Finally, there are the variations sets on secular songs and popular dance tunes, including Sweelinck's most famous keyboard work: Mein junges Leben had ein End'. Compared to the "sacred" pieces, these tunes are certainly catchier even if the compositional technique remains essentially the same. Herrick cloaks these numbers in colors either bright or (as in the work just mentioned) smoothly luminous, and in Onder een linde groen he even resorts to the organ's delightfully hoarse "birdsong" stop (no, your vacuum cleaner is not possessed by an evil spirit). It remains a source of wonder that this music (to say nothing of Sweelinck's epic setting of the complete Psalms, which remain largely unrecorded to this day) isn't better known, but this lively and inexhaustibly ebullient production should at least give Sweelinck some well-earned public exposure. Hyperion's engineering is beyond praise: a perfect acoustic space captures the instrument with ideal warmth and clarity, and with the absolute minimum of mechanical noise. Glorious!
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1. Fantasia chromatica by Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck
Performer:  Christopher Herrick (Organ)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: Netherlands (Holland 
2. Onder een linde groen "Unter der Linden grüne" by Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck
Performer:  Christopher Herrick (Organ)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: Netherlands (Holland 
3. Ons is gheboren een kindekijn "Puer nobis nascitur" by Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck
Performer:  Christopher Herrick (Organ)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: Netherlands (Holland 
4. More palatino by Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck
Performer:  Christopher Herrick (Organ)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: Netherlands (Holland 
5. Onse Vader in Hemelrijck by Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck
Performer:  Christopher Herrick (Organ)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: Netherlands (Holland 
6. Ballo del granduca by Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck
Performer:  Christopher Herrick (Organ)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: Netherlands (Holland 
7. Erbarm dich mein, o Herre Gott by Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck
Performer:  Christopher Herrick (Organ)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: Netherlands (Holland 
8. Est-ce Mars by Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck
Performer:  Christopher Herrick (Organ)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: Netherlands (Holland 
9. Ick voer al over Rhijn by Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck
Performer:  Christopher Herrick (Organ)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: Netherlands (Holland 
10. Malle Sijmen (Silly Simon), variations for organ (doubtful), SwWV 323 by Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck
Performer:  Christopher Herrick (Organ)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: Netherlands 
11. Psalms of David, Book 3: Psalm 116, J'aime mon Dieu, car lors que j'ay crié by Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck
Performer:  Christopher Herrick (Organ)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1621; Netherlands (Holland 
12. Polish Dance for Keyboard by Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck
Performer:  Christopher Herrick (Organ)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: Netherlands (Holland 
13. Fantasia for Keyboard "Phrygian" by Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck
Performer:  Christopher Herrick (Organ)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: Netherlands (Holland 
14. Engelsche fortuyn by Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck
Performer:  Christopher Herrick (Organ)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: Netherlands (Holland 
15. Mein junges Leben hat ein End by Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck
Performer:  Christopher Herrick (Organ)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: Netherlands (Holland 
16. Pavana Philippi by Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck
Performer:  Christopher Herrick (Organ)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: Netherlands (Holland 
17. Toccata for Keyboard "Ionian" by Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck
Performer:  Christopher Herrick (Organ)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: Netherlands (Holland 
18. Pavana Lachrimae by Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck
Performer:  Christopher Herrick (Organ)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: Netherlands (Holland 
19. Allein Gott in der Höh' sei Ehr' by Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck
Performer:  Christopher Herrick (Organ)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: Netherlands (Holland 
20. Pavana hispanica by Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck
Performer:  Christopher Herrick (Organ)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: Netherlands (Holland 
21. Nun freut euch, lieben Christen g'mein by Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck
Performer:  Christopher Herrick (Organ)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: Netherlands (Holland 
22. Echo Fantasia for Keyboard "Ionian" by Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck
Performer:  Christopher Herrick (Organ)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: Netherlands (Holland 
23. Ricercar for Keyboard "Aeolian" by Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck
Performer:  Christopher Herrick (Organ)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: Netherlands (Holland 
24. Christe qui lux est et dies by Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck
Performer:  Christopher Herrick (Organ)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: Netherlands (Holland 
25. Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ, chorale variations for organ, SwWV 305 by Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck
Performer:  Christopher Herrick (Organ)
Period: Renaissance 

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