Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck


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 144 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Label: Divine Art   Catalog: DDA25133 Release Date: 03/11/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ily Matthew Maniano,  Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck,  Gavin Bryars,  Stephen Foster  ... 
    Performer:  Cor Cantiamo,  Carrie M. Filetti,  JoEllyn [Soprano Vocal] Caulfield,  Mark [Tenor Vocal] Baglione  ... 
    Conductor:  Eric Johnson
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  • 2.
    Journey: Two Hundred Years of Harpsichord Music / Trevor Pinnock
    Label: Linn Records   Catalog: 570 Release Date: 02/12/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonio De Cabezón,  William Byrd,  Thomas Tallis,  John Bull  ... 
    Performer:  Trevor Pinnock
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  • 3.
    Sweelinck: Complete Keyboard Works / Van Der Kamp, Gesualdo Consort Amsterdam
    Label: Glossa   Catalog: 922410 Release Date: 11/13/2015   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck,  Anonymous,  Jacob Praetorius,  Jan Utenhove  ... 
    Performer:  Bernard Winsemius,  Harry van Berne,  Harry Van der Kamp,  Nele Gramß  ... 
    Conductor:  Harry Van der Kamp
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gesualdo Consort
    CD: $48.99
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  • 4.
    Glenn Gould Remastered: The Complete Columbia Album Collection
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 503222 Release Date: 10/09/2015   Number of Discs: 81
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Glenn Gould,  Elizabeth Benson-Guy,  Donald Gramm,  Charles Bressler  ... 
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein,  Walter Susskind,  Vladimir Golschmann,  Igor Stravinsky  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  CBC Symphony Orchestra,  Columbia Symphony Orchestra,  Symphonia String Quartet  ... 
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  • 5.
    Northern Baroque: Sweelinck, Buxtehude & Co.
    Label: Coviello Classics   Catalog: 91504 Release Date: 06/30/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck,  Heinrich Schütz,  Heinrich Scheidemann,  Dietrich Buxtehude
    Performer:  Fabien Moulaert,  Zsuzsi [Soprano Vocals] Toth
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  • 6.
    Olivier Baumont A Chambord: Les Plaisirs Du Clavecin
    Label: Bayard Musique   Catalog: 3084302 Release Date: 04/14/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Anonymous,  Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck,  Henry Purcell,  Girolamo Frescobaldi  ... 
    Performer:  Olivier Baumont
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  • 7.
    The Fitzwilliam Virginal Book, Vol. 3: Philips, Sweelinck
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 94449 Release Date: 11/18/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Peter Philips,  Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck
    Performer:  Pieter-Jan Belder
    CD: $11.99
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  • 8.
    A Double Celebration / Rutter, Cambridge Singers
    Label: Collegium Records   Catalog: 137 Release Date: 09/09/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  John Amner,  Anonymous,  Thomas Tallis,  Orlando Gibbons  ... 
    Performer:  Mark Williams,  Mark Padmore,  Donna Deam,  Frances Jellard  ... 
    Conductor:  John Rutter,  John Birch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Singers,  City of London Sinfonia,  BBC Concert Orchestra  ... 
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  • 9.
    Bach & B-a-c-h / Johannes Lang
    Label: Genuin Musikproduction   Catalog: 14324 Release Date: 09/09/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Robert Schumann,  Jan Esra Kuhl,  Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck
    Performer:  Johannes Lang
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  • 10.
    Popular Renaissance Music / Lucie Guerra Zakova
    Label: Orlando Records (Classical)   Catalog: 11 Release Date: 09/09/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Anonymous,  John Bull,  Claude Gervaise,  Bernhard Schmid  ... 
    Performer:  Vocals] Lucie [Organ Zakova,  Philippe Lécossais,  Tambourine] Carlos Arturo Guerra [Drum Parra
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  • 11.
    Noel Noel /  Australian Brandenburg Orchestra
    Label: Abc Classics   Catalog: 4726062 Release Date: 06/10/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Xaver Gruber,  Henry Cowell,  Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck,  Claudio Monteverdi  ... 
    Conductor:  Paul Dyer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Australian Brandenburg Orchestra,  Brandenburg Bellringers
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  • 12.
    Ruckers 1604
    Label: Ayros   Catalog: 3013 Release Date: 06/10/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck,  William Byrd,  Martin Peerson
    Performer:  Marco Vitale
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  • 13.
    Bruhns: Complete Organ Music / Adriano Falcioni
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 94447 Release Date: 05/27/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Nicolaus Bruhns,  Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck,  Heinrich Scheidemann,  Samuel Scheidt  ... 
    Performer:  Adriano Falcioni
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  • 14.
    The Historic Organ Of The Basilica Of St. Andrew In Olkusz
    Label: Dux Records   Catalog: 969 Release Date: 02/25/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Hans Leo Hassler,  Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck,  Johann Jacob Froberger,  Tablature, Anonymous, W.  ... 
    Performer:  Marek Kudlicki
    CD: $19.99
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  • 15.
    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
    CD: $34.99
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  • 16.
    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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  • 17.
    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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  • 18.
    Starry Crown / Junkin, University Of Texas Wind Ensemble
    Label: Longhorn Music   Catalog: 2012002 Release Date: 09/24/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Donald Grantham,  Christopher Rouse,  Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck,  David Maslanka  ... 
    Conductor:  Jerry Junkin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  University of Texas Wind Ensemble
    CD: $12.99
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  • 19.
    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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  • 20.
    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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  • 21.
    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
    CD: $18.99
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  • 22.
    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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  • 23.
    Exultate Deo
    Label: Lir Classics   Catalog: 70026 Release Date: 02/12/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Francis Poulenc,  Giovanni Palestrina,  Kenneth Leighton,  Henry Purcell  ... 
    Performer:  Andrew Arthur,  Alison Hill,  Sophie Jones,  Elizabeth Drury  ... 
    Conductor:  Colm Carey
    On sale! $18.98
    CD: $15.99
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  • 24.
    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
    On sale! $20.98
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  • 25.
    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 Sandström  ... 
    Conductor:  Jeremy Backhouse
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vasari Singers
    CD: $12.99
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