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
Piet Kee Plays Buxtehude & Sweelinck
Release Date: 07/29/1992   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 514   Number of Discs: 1
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Sweelinck: Music For Harpsichord / Glen Wilson
Release Date: 05/26/2009   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8570894   Number of Discs: 1
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Browse 101-125 of 155 Available Recordings
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  • 101.
    Treasury Of A Saint / Caecilia-concert
    Label: Challenge   Catalog: 72161 Release Date: 09/12/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck,  Philipp F. Buchner,  Giovanni Fontana,  Philipp Friedrich Böddecker  ... 
    Performer:  Kathryn Cok,  Fiona Russell,  Adam Woolf,  Wouter Verschuren
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Caecilia-Concert
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  • 102.
    Instruments From The Russell Collection Vol 1 / John Kitchen
    Label: Delphian   Catalog: 34001 Release Date: 07/25/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Stanley,  Muzio Clementi,  George Frideric Handel,  Armand-Louis Couperin  ... 
    Performer:  John Kitchen
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  • 103.
    War & Peace - Philips, Gibbons, Byrd, Etc / Bob Van Asperen
    Label: Aeolus   Catalog: 10014 Release Date: 07/18/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Jacob Froberger,  Anonymous,  Louis Couperin,  Claude Le Jeune  ... 
    Performer:  Bob van Asperen
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  • 104.
    Dresden Kreuzchoir - Legendary Recordings
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 8392 Release Date: 03/28/2006   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Gottfried August Homilius,  Rudolf Mauersberger,  Johann Hermann Schein,  Max Reger  ... 
    Performer:  Georg Fleischer,  Reinhold Krause,  Eberhard Uhlig,  Heinz Müller  ... 
    Conductor:  Rudolf Mauersberger,  Gothart Stier,  Martin Flämig
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Kreuz Choir,  Capella Fidicinia,  Blasende Music Leipzig  ... 
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  • 105.
    Organ In The Hills - Bach, Sweelinck, Etc / Henry Wallace
    Label: Divine Art   Catalog: 24101 Release Date: 02/28/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Théodore Dubois,  Johann Jacob Froberger,  Johann Caspar Fischer,  Johann Sebastian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Henry Wallace
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  • 106.
    Psalms And Music Of The Reformation / Choir Le Labyrinth
    Label: Gall (Formerly Gallo)   Catalog: 1165 Release Date: 02/28/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Le Jeune,  Philibert Jambe de Fer,  Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck,  Théodore Bèze  ... 
    Performer:  François Roche,  François Delor,  Kiady Ramambason
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Carpe Diem Genève
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  • 107.
    Sweelinck: Toccatas, Fantasias, Variations / Peter Ella
    Label: Hungaroton   Catalog: 32382 Release Date: 01/24/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck
    Performer:  Péter Ella
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  • 108.
    Jewels Of The Renaissance Era
    Label: Analekta   Catalog: 29781 Release Date: 11/15/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Anonymous,  Anthony Holborne,  Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck,  Clément Janequin  ... 
    Performer:  Antoine Bouchard,  Shannon Mercer,  Luc Beauséjour,  Matthew White  ... 
    Conductor:  James Tinsley,  Gilbert Patenaude,  Christopher Jackson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Strada,  Niagara Brass Ensemble,  Les Petits Chanteurs du Mont-Royal  ... 
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  • 109.
    Candlelight Carols
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 5028 Release Date: 10/01/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Rutter,  Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck,  Michael Praetorius,  Herbert Howells  ... 
    Conductor:  Cecilia Rydinger Alin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Allmänna Sången Choir
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  • 110.
    All Is Bright / Llewellyn, Handel And Haydn Society
    Label: Avie   Catalog: 2078 Release Date: 09/27/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  William Mathias,  Sir William Walton,  Michael Praetorius,  Tom Vignieri  ... 
    Performer:  John Finney,  Christopheren Nomura,  Susan Consoli,  Janice Giampa  ... 
    Conductor:  Grant Llewellyn
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Handel and Haydn Society,  Handel and Haydn Society Chorus,  Trinity Handbell Ensemble
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  • 111.
    The Orpheus Of Amsterdam - Sweelinck, Et Al / Gail Archer
    Label: Cala Records   Catalog: 88043 Release Date: 05/05/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck,  Samuel Scheidt,  Heinrich Scheidemann
    Performer:  Gail Archer
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  • 112.
    Fantasien / Alexander Fiseisky
    Label: Motette   Catalog: 1314 Release Date: 11/30/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Oleg Nirenburg,  Alexander Glazunov,  Vladimir Odoyevsky  ... 
    Performer:  Alexander Fiseisky
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  • 113.
    Best Loved Christmas Carols / King's College Choir, Cambridge
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 86121 Release Date: 10/05/2004   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  William Mathias,  Michael Praetorius,  Peter Cornelius,  Johann Sebastian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Thomas Trotter,  Stephen Varcoe,  Sir David Willcocks,  Sir Andrew Davis  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Philip Ledger,  Sir David Willcocks
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge King's College Choir,  Philip Jones Brass Ensemble
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  • 114.
    Laureate Series, Organ - Timothy Olsen
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8557218 Release Date: 07/20/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ned Rorem,  César Franck  ... 
    Performer:  Timothy Olsen
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  • 115.
    Cembalo - Greatest Works
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 1236 Release Date: 05/25/2004   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Alessandro Poglietti,  Gottlieb Muffat,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Performer:  Isolde Ahlgrimm,  Hans Pischner,  Violetta Liebsch,  Christine Schornsheim  ... 
    Conductor:  Burkhard Glaetzner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Bach Collegium Musicum Orchestra
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  • 116.
    The Fitzwilliam Virginal Book / Byron Schenkman
    Label: Centaur Records   Catalog: 2638 Release Date: 10/21/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Philips,  Giles Farnaby,  Giovanni Picchi,  William Byrd  ... 
    Performer:  Byron Schenkman,  Maxine Eilander
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  • 117.
    Label: Raum Klang   Catalog: 2205 Release Date: 10/15/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Heinrich Scheidemann,  Melchior Schildt,  Dirck Sweelinck,  Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck  ... 
    Performer:  Léon Berben
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  • 118.
    The Cambridge Singers Christmas Album / Rutter
    Label: Collegium Records   Catalog: 512 Release Date: 10/07/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Tavener,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Peter Warlock,  Benjamin Britten  ... 
    Performer:  Stephen Varcoe,  Stephen Orton,  Karen Kerslake,  Caroline Ashton  ... 
    Conductor:  John Rutter
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Singers,  City of London Sinfonia
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  • 119.
    Alle Registers Open / Beekman
    Label: Zefir Records   Catalog: 9605 Release Date: 06/01/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Christoph Kellner,  Willem Lootens,  Pieter Bustijn,  Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck  ... 
    Performer:  Bram Beekman
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  • 120.
    Historic Organs Of Boston - Thirty-one Historic Pipe Organs
    Label: Raven Recordings   Catalog: 20 Release Date: 04/29/2003   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Matthias Weckmann,  John Jenkins,  Louis-Nicolas Clérambault  ... 
    Performer:  Kimberly Ann Hess,  Peter Sykes,  Margaret Irwin-Brandon,  Andrew Scanlon  ... 
    Conductor:  Edith Ho
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Church of the Advent Choir
    On sale! $51.98
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  • 121.
    Andre Marchal - First Recordings - Paris 1935 & 1948
    Label: Arbiter   Catalog: 135 Release Date: 02/25/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Henry Purcell,  Louis Vierne,  Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck,  John Blow  ... 
    Performer:  André Marchal
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  • 122.
    Debut - Music For Trumpet And Organ / Balsom, Thomas
    Label: Emi Classics Special Import   Catalog: 75683 Release Date: 02/04/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir George Thalben-Ball,  Petr Eben,  Olivier Messiaen,  Henri Tomasi  ... 
    Performer:  Quentin Thomas,  Alison Balsom
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  • 123.
    The Sweelinck School Of German Organists / Harrison
    Label: Raven Recordings   Catalog: 540 Release Date: 01/28/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck,  Melchior Schildt,  Samuel Scheidt,  Heinrich Scheidemann  ... 
    Performer:  Elisabeth Harrison
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  • 124.
    Historical Organs In Sweden - The Morlanda Organ / Davidsson
    Label: Intim Musik   Catalog: 73 Release Date: 01/29/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Matthias Weckmann,  Georg Böhm,  Johann Jacob Froberger,  Johann Kaspar Kerll  ... 
    Performer:  Hans Davidsson
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  • 125.
    17th Century Dutch & Iitalian Works
    Label: Teknon   Catalog: 5638075138 Release Date: 01/01/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jan Jacob Van Eyck,  Anonymous,  Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck
    Performer:  Marijke Miessen,  Glen Wilson
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