Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck

Biography

Born: May, 1562; Deventer, The Netherlands   Died: October 16, 1621; Amsterdam, The Netherlands  
Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck was perhaps the most important composer from the Netherlands in the late Renaissance and early Baroque eras. He is best known for his vocal compositions, typically written for five voices and possible instrumental accompaniment, and for his keyboard works, which included toccatas, chorale variations, and various fantasias. He was also one of the leading teachers in Europe during his time, numbering among his students his Read more son Dirck Sweelinck, Hasse, Scheidt, Praetorius, plus many other notables and founders of the seventeenth century north German organ style that culminated in the music of Bach.

Sweelinck's father was the organist Peter Swybbertszoon and his mother Elske Sweeling. As a child Jan likely had his first music instruction from his father, who served as organist at Amsterdam's Oude Kerk (Old Church) from 1564 until his death in 1574. Young Sweelinck may also have studied with organist Cornelis Boskoop, who succeeded his father at the Oude Kerk for a brief tenure. For some reason Sweelinck changed his name to a variant of his mother's surname, possibly shortly after his father's death.

In any event, his keyboard talents blossomed quickly and Sweelinck succeeded Boskoop at the Oude Kerk, probably in the late 1570s. His post at the church was less a religious one and more a civil appointment, since he actually worked for the city officials of Amsterdam, not the Calvinists who controlled the church services and forbade music performance during them. Sweelinck played the organ probably in the morning and evening during periods free of official church service. He would serve in the organist post for over 40 years and be succeeded by his son, Dirck, whose tenure there was of similar length, ending upon his own death in 1652. Sweelinck's mother died in 1585, leaving the young composer to care for his younger brother and sister, which he ably did.

In 1590 Sweelinck married, and, already receiving a substantial salary, forsook an automatic increase allowed for in his contract upon marriage in favor of an alternate perquisite, that of rent-free living quarters. His wife would give birth to six children, five of whom would survive their father. By the time of his marriage, Sweelinck had already established himself as one of the finest teachers in Europe and had significant income from that activity, as well. In 1594, his first publication appeared, that of a collection of 18 chansons -- works, undoubtedly, that date back to the previous decade. Additional publications came in 1597 and 1604, both collections of psalm settings. While his keyboard works rank in importance with his vocal music, none of it was published during his lifetime.

Another important vocal effort appeared in 1619, the Cantiones sacrae, comprised of 37 motets using Catholic liturgical texts. Because of the composition of this collection and other supporting evidence (his son would be reprimanded for inviting "papists" to a Christmas celebration in 1645), it is believed that Sweelinck and his family were Catholics.

Unlike most composers and artists, Sweelinck led a rather uneventful life, and comparatively little is known of him. He traveled outside Amsterdam only a few times, typically involving matters associated with his post at the Oude Kerk. He did return to Deventer in 1595 and 1616 for brief visits, and traveled to Antwerp (1604), Harderwijk (1608) and Rotterdam (1610). It is almost certain that Sweelinck became a close friend of British composer John Bull (1562-1628), who left England in 1613 to live in Belgium, from where he made trips to the Netherlands. Read less
Browse 1-25 of 178 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    The Britannic Organ, Vol. 7 - Weite's Swiss Organists
    Label: Oehms   Catalog: 846 Release Date: 01/28/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Carl Adolf Lorenz,  Alphonse-Jean-E. Mailly,  Camille Saint-Saëns  ... 
    Performer:  Paul Hindermann,  Franz Joseph Breitenbach,  Karl Matthaei,  Johann Jakob Nater
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  • 2.
    Pierre Hantai - Complete Recordings
    Label: Naive   Catalog: 5358 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Arcangelo Corelli,  William Byrd,  Anonymous,  Martin Peerson  ... 
    Performer:  Hugo Reyne,  Pierre Hantaď,  Sébastien Marq,  Danny Bond  ... 
    Conductor:  Pierre Hantaď
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Le Concert Français
    CD: $39.99
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  • 3.
    Christmas! Noel! Weihnachten! / RIAS Kammerchor
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 902170 Release Date: 10/08/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Uwe Gronostay,  Johannes Eccard,  Max Bruch  ... 
    Conductor:  Hans-Christoph Rademann
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin RIAS Chamber Chorus
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  • 4.
    Starry Crown
    Label: Longhorn Music   Catalog: 2012002 Release Date: 09/24/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Donald Grantham,  Karel Husa,  Christopher Rouse,  Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck  ... 
    Conductor:  Jerry F. Junkin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  University of Texas Wind Ensemble
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  • 5.
    Le Parler Et Le Silence
    Label: Ramee   Catalog: 1206 Release Date: 08/27/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giovanni Bassano,  Luzzasco Luzzaschi,  Gioseffo Guami,  Girolamo Frescobaldi  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Attaignant Consort
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  • 6.
    Label: Bongiovanni   Catalog: 5173 Release Date: 03/26/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Juan Bautista José Cabanilles,  Francisco Correa de Arauxo,  Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck,  Domenico Scarlatti  ... 
    Performer:  Nicolo Sari,  Jorge Garcia Martin
    CD: $32.49
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  • 7.
    Recital In York Springs
    Label: Loft Recordings   Catalog: 1123 Release Date: 03/26/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Adam Reincken,  Melchior Schildt,  Nicolaus Bruhns,  Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck  ... 
    Performer:  Riyehee Hong
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  • 8.
    100 Best Organ Classics
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 332452 Release Date: 02/26/2013   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Jeremiah Clarke,  Dietrich Buxtehude,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  Nicolas Kynaston,  Nicholas Kynaston,  Noel Rawsthorne,  Lionel Rogg  ... 
    Conductor:  Michel Plasson,  Yehudi Menuhin,  Georges Prętre
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toulouse Capitole Orchestra,  Menuhin Festival Orchestra,  Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservato  ... 
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  • 9.
    Norddeutsche Orgelmeister Vol 5 - Sweelinck / Joseph Kelemen
    Label: Oehms   Catalog: 680 Release Date: 02/26/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck
    Performer:  Joseph Kelemen
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  • 10.
    Exultate Deo
    Label: Lir Classics   Catalog: 70026 Release Date: 02/12/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Francis Poulenc,  Giovanni Palestrina,  Kenneth Leighton,  Charles Hubert Parry  ... 
    Performer:  Andrew Arthur,  Sophie Jones,  Alison Hill,  Elizabeth Drury  ... 
    Conductor:  Colm Carey
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  • 11.
    Sweelinck And The Art Of Variation
    Label: Globe   Catalog: 5253 Release Date: 01/08/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Anonymous,  Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck,  Klaas de Vries,  Daan Manneke
    Conductor:  Thera de Clerck
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Brisk Recorder Quartet,  Camerata Trajectina
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  • 12.
    Organ Souvenirs Through The Ages
    Label: D.e. Versluis   Catalog: 20 Release Date: 12/11/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Louis Marchand,  Girolamo Frescobaldi,  Georg Muffat,  Johannes Speth  ... 
    Performer:  Johan Van Lunenburg
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  • 13.
    A Winter's Light / Backhouse, Vasari Singers
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8573030 Release Date: 11/13/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Chilcott,  Traditional,  Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck,  Jan Sandstrom  ... 
    Conductor:  Jeremy Backhouse
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vasari Singers
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  • 14.
    The Arhend & Brunzema Organ - Amsterdam's Oude Kerk / Leonhardt, Imbruno
    Label: Tactus   Catalog: 5700010 Release Date: 11/13/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Heinrich Scheidemann,  Anthoni Van Noordt,  Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck,  Anonymous  ... 
    Performer:  Gustav Leonhardt,  Matteo Imbruno
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  • 15.
    Glenn Gould Plays Renaissance & Baroque Music
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 541372 Release Date: 10/30/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  William Byrd,  Orlando Gibbons,  Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Performer:  Glenn Gould
    CD: $11.99
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  • 16.
    La Monarcha - 17th Century Music From The Spanish Territories
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 94352 Release Date: 10/30/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Andrea Falconieri,  Francesco Corbetta,  Santiago de Murcia,  Bartolemé de Selma y Salaverde  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cordevento
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  • 17.
    The Best Of The King's Singers
    Label: Signum U.k.   Catalog: 297 Release Date: 10/30/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Cyrillus Kreek,  William Byrd,  Carlo Gesualdo,  Arvo Pärt  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Singers
    CD: $25.49
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  • 18.
    Essential Carols
    Label: Cct   Catalog: 5162 Release Date: 10/09/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Traditional,  William J. Kirkpatrick,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Patrick Hadley  ... 
    Performer:  Francis Grier,  Gareth Morrell,  Ian Hare,  Stephen Varcoe  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Philip Ledger,  Sir David Willcocks,  Richard Hickox,  Eric Ericson  ... 
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  • 19.
    Once As I Remember... / Gardiner, Monteverdi Choir
    Label: Eloquence   Catalog: 4806553 Release Date: 10/09/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Cowper,  Anonymous,  Giovanni Palestrina,  Traditional  ... 
    Performer:  Elinor Carter,  Nicola Jenkin,  Katherine Fuge,  Julian Podger  ... 
    Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Monteverdi Choir
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  • 20.
    Two Oxford Organs / Brooks, Webber
    Label: Priory Records   Catalog: 1050 Release Date: 08/14/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Antonín Dvorák,  Sebastián Aguilera de Heredia,  Johann Pachelbel  ... 
    Performer:  Geoffrey Webber,  Gerard Brooks
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  • 21.
    Baroque Conversations / David Greilshammer
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 792969 Release Date: 07/31/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jean-Philippe Rameau,  Morton Feldman,  Antonio Soler,  François Couperin  ... 
    Performer:  David Greilsammer
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  • 22.
    Organs Of Edinburgh
    Label: Delphian   Catalog: 34100 Release Date: 07/10/2012   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Percy Whitlock,  Alfred Hollins,  Jean Langlais,  Louis Vierne  ... 
    Performer:  John Kitchen,  Thomas Laing-Reilly,  Andrew Caskie,  Duncan Ferguson  ... 
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  • 23.
    Harpsichord Music For A Thin Place
    Label: Whaling City Sound   Catalog: 59 Release Date: 05/08/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  François Couperin,  Louis Couperin,  Jean-Baptiste Forqueray,  Jean-Philippe Rameau  ... 
    Performer:  Paul Cienniwa
    CD: $17.99
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  • 24.
    Tehilim:psalms Between Ju / Nederlands Kamerkoor
    Label: Globe   Catalog: 5247 Release Date: 05/08/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Sim Gokkes,  Salomone Rossi,  Tzvi Avni  ... 
    Performer:  Gilad Nezer,  Heleen Koele,  Kees-Jan de Koning,  Marjon Strijk  ... 
    Conductor:  Klaas Stok
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  • 25.
    Gustav Leonhardt Edition
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 731897 Release Date: 04/24/2012   Number of Discs: 15
    Composer:  Anthony Newman,  Elias Nikolaus Ammerbach,  Master John Taylor,  John Blitheman  ... 
    Performer:  Gustav Leonhardt,  Frans Brüggen,  Anner Bylsma,  Viola da Gamba] Wieland [Cello Kuijken  ... 
    Conductor:  Gustav Leonhardt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leonhardt Consort
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