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
Sweelinck: Organ Works, Vol. 1 / Harold Vogel
Release Date: 06/14/2011   Label: Md&g (Dabringhaus & Grimm)  
Catalog: 9141690   Number of Discs: 1
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Browse 1-25 of 154 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    In dulci jubilo / Hillier, Theatre of Voices
    Label: Dacapo   Catalog: 6220661 Release Date: 10/20/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Heinrich Scheidemann,  Christian Geist,  Johann Christoph Bach,  Dietrich Buxtehude  ... 
    Performer:  Allan Rasmussen,  Jesenka Balic Zunic,  Fredrik From,  Else Torp  ... 
    Conductor:  Paul Hillier,  Paul Hilliard
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Theatre of Voices
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  • 2.
    Christmas Presence / The King's Singers
    Label: Signum Classics   Catalog: 497 Release Date: 09/01/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Anonymous,  Orlando de Lassus,  Michael Praetorius,  William Byrd  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Singers
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  • 3.
    Sweelinck: Psaumes francais & Canciones Sacrae / Reuss, Cappella Amsterdam
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 502033 Release Date: 08/11/2017  
    Composer:  Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck
    Conductor:  Daniel Reuss
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cappella Amsterdam
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  • 4.
    Bach: Goldberg Variations & Its Predecessors / Armstrong
    Label: C Major   Catalog: 741608 Release Date: 07/28/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  William Byrd,  Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck,  John Bull,  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Kit Armstrong
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  • 5.
    Bach: Goldberg Variations & Its Predecessors / Armstrong [Blu-ray]
    Label: C Major   Catalog: 741704 Release Date: 07/28/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  William Byrd,  Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck,  John Bull,  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Kit Armstrong
    Blu-ray Video: $39.99
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  • 6.
    Cosmography of Polyphony / Royal Wind Music
    Label: Pan Classics   Catalog: 10377 Release Date: 07/07/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Adrian Willaert,  Hernando de Cabezón,  Johannes Ockeghem,  Nicolas Gombert  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Wind Music
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  • 7.
    Super Audio Collection, Vol. 10
    Label: Linn Records   Catalog: 564 Release Date: 07/07/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Paul Williams,  Benjamin Britten,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Christoph Graupner  ... 
    Performer:  Joe Stilgoe,  Lorenzo Soulčs,  Sean Shibe,  Chiyan Wong  ... 
    Conductor:  Markus Daunert,  John Butt,  Monica Huggett,  Oliver Knussen  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Aldeburgh Strings,  Dunedin Consort,  Irish Baroque Orchestra  ... 
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  • 8.
    Cromatica: The Art of Moving Souls / Swiatkiewicz
    Label: Cpo   Catalog: 555142 Release Date: 06/02/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Emanuell Soncino,  John Bull,  Johann Jacob Froberger,  Tarquinio Merula  ... 
    Performer:  Marcin Swiatkiewicz
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  • 9.
    History of the Organ: From Latin Origins to the Modern Age
    Label: Arthaus Musik   Catalog: 109326 Release Date: 02/17/2017   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Pierre Attaingnant,  Antonio De Cabezón,  Girolamo Frescobaldi,  Francisco Correa de Arauxo  ... 
    Performer:  Bernard Foccroulle,  Gustav Leonhardt,  Hans Heintze,  Marie-Claire Alain  ... 
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  • 10.
    Recital at Saint Mark's Cathedral / Kleinschmidt
    Label: Loft Recordings   Catalog: 1161 Release Date: 11/11/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck,  Dietrich Buxtehude,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Antonio Soler  ... 
    Performer:  Michael Kleinschmidt
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  • 11.
    Early Choral Music / Marlow, Choir of Trinity College Cambridge
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 88985323472 Release Date: 10/28/2016   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Orlando de Lassus,  Tomás Luis de Victoria,  Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck,  Claudio Monteverdi  ... 
    Conductor:  Richard Marlow
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Trinity College Choir
    CD: $22.99
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  • 12.
    Luther und die Musik
    Label: Christophorus   Catalog: 77403 Release Date: 09/30/2016   Number of Discs: 9
    Composer:  Petrus Roselli,  Anonymous,  Johannes Hesdimois,  Josquin Des Préz  ... 
    Performer:  Franz Vitzthum,  Julian Behr,  Margit SchultheiB,  Marion E. Herbst  ... 
    Conductor:  Alessandro Quarta,  Arno Paduch,  Wilfried Rombach,  Bernhard Klebel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Concerto Romano,  Johann Rosenmüller Ensemble,  Musica Antiqua Vienna  ... 
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  • 13.
    Bonjour & Willkommen: A Franco-German Debut / Miller
    Label: Acis Productions   Catalog: 72306 Release Date: 06/14/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  César Franck,  François Couperin,  Charles-Marie Widor,  Louis Vierne  ... 
    Performer:  Crista Miller
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  • 14.
    A Musical Journey Around Europe / Lester
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 5939 Release Date: 06/10/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Luzzasco Luzzaschi,  Girolamo Frescobaldi,  Claudio Merulo,  Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck  ... 
    Performer:  Richard Lester,  Elizabeth Lester
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  • 15.
    Archiv Produktion: Analogue Stereo Recordings (1959-1981)
    Label: Archiv Produktion (Dg)   Catalog: 002490502 Release Date: 05/20/2016   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Pierre Vachon,  Nicolas-Marie Dalayrac,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Stader,  Hedwig Bilgram,  Hertha Töpper,  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau  ... 
    Conductor:  Karl Richter,  August Wenzinger,  Karl Ristenpart,  Robert Stehli  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Bach Orchestra,  Munich Bach Choir,  Loewenguth String Quartet  ... 
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  • 16.
    Psallite / Johnson, Cor Cantiamo
    Label: Divine Art   Catalog: 25133 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,  Mark Baglione,  JoEllyn Caulfield  ... 
    Conductor:  Eric Johnson,  Eric Johnson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cor Cantiamo
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  • 17.
    Ton Koopman at the Zacharias Hildebrandt Organ
    Label: Challenge   Catalog: 72264 Release Date: 03/04/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Dietrich Buxtehude,  Johann Pachelbel,  Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck,  Johann Gottfried Walther  ... 
    Performer:  Ton Koopman
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  • 18.
    Journey: Two Hundred Years of Harpsichord Music / Pinnock
    Label: Linn Records   Catalog: 570 Release Date: 02/12/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonio De Cabezón,  William Byrd,  Thomas Tallis,  Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck  ... 
    Performer:  Trevor Pinnock
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  • 19.
    Mersenne's Clavichord
    Label: Divine Art   Catalog: 25134 Release Date: 11/13/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antoine de Févin,  Anonymous,  Pierre Blondeau,  Guillaume Costeley  ... 
    Performer:  Terence Charlston
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  • 20.
    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 der Kamp,  Harry van Berne,  Nele Gramß  ... 
    Conductor:  Harry Van der Kamp
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gesualdo Consort
    CD: $48.99
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  • 21.
    The St. Paul's Gem
    Label: Priory Records   Catalog: 1130 Release Date: 10/02/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Dietrich Buxtehude,  John Bull,  Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck,  Georg Böhm  ... 
    Performer:  Timothy Wakerell
    On sale! $21.98
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  • 22.
    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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  • 23.
    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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  • 24.
    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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  • 25.
    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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