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 101-125 of 144 Available Recordings
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  • 101.
    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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  • 102.
    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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  • 103.
    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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  • 104.
    Claviorgan Fireworks - Sweelinck, Etc / Claudio Brizi
    Label: Camerata Records   Catalog: 28012 Release Date: 05/25/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Dietrich Buxtehude,  Johann Pachelbel,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Girolamo Frescobaldi  ... 
    Performer:  Claudio Brizi
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  • 105.
    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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  • 106.
    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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  • 107.
    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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  • 108.
    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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  • 109.
    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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  • 110.
    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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  • 111.
    Label: Priory Records   Catalog: 689 Release Date: 05/28/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Niels Gade,  Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck,  Peter Hurford,  Georg Böhm  ... 
    Performer:  Roger Judd
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  • 112.
    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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  • 113.
    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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  • 114.
    ...in Dialogue Vol 1 - Buxtehude, Et Al / Bates, Yearsley
    Label: Loft Recordings   Catalog: 1008 Release Date: 10/30/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Melchior Schildt,  Franz Tunder,  Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck,  Johann Adam Reincken  ... 
    Performer:  David Yearsley,  Robert F. Bates
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  • 115.
    Christmas Music From King's / Willcocks, King's College Choir
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 66244 Release Date: 09/04/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Traditional,  Stanley Taylor,  Johannes Eccard,  Thomas Weelkes  ... 
    Performer:  Christopher Van Kampen,  Sir Andrew Davis,  Douglas Whittaker,  Robert Spencer
    Conductor:  Sir David Willcocks
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge King's College Choir
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  • 116.
    Fernando Germani Plays Bach At The Organ Of Laurenskirk
    Label: Testament   Catalog: 1202 Release Date: 04/01/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Bull,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck
    Performer:  Fernando Germani
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  • 117.
    Baroque Music - The Arp Schnitger Organ Chapel / Ennulat
    Label: Aca Digital   Catalog: 20067 Release Date: 10/24/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Louis-Claude Daquin,  Dietrich Buxtehude,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Nicolaus Bruhns  ... 
    Performer:  Egbert Ennulat
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  • 118.
    Orologio: Primo Libro Delle Canzonette / Fagotto, Et Al
    Label: Arts Music   Catalog: 47531 Release Date: 07/18/2000   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Allessandro Orologio,  Anonymous,  Christian Erbach,  Ruggiero Giovanelli  ... 
    Conductor:  Gianpaolo Fagotto
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Il Terzo Suono,  Ensemble 1492,  Dià-Pasòn
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  • 119.
    The Fitzwilliam Virginal Book / Charivari Agréable
    Label: Signum U.k.   Catalog: 9 Release Date: 12/15/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Philips,  William Byrd,  Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck,  Anonymous  ... 
    Performer:  Susanne Heinrich,  Reiko Ichise,  Lynda Sayce,  Kah-Ming Ng  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Charivari Agréable
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  • 120.
    Angels & Shepherds - A 17th Century Christmas / Veldhoven
    Label: Channel Classics   Catalog: 15198 Release Date: 10/12/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Michael Praetorius,  Johann Vierdanck,  Martin Luther,  Hans Leo Hassler  ... 
    Performer:  Pieter Dirksen
    Conductor:  Jos van Veldhoven
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Netherlands Bach Society Choir,  Cappella Figuralis
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  • 121.
    Orologio: Primo Libro Delle Canzonette / Fagotto, Et Al
    Label: Arts Music   Catalog: 47531 Release Date: 08/17/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Michael Praetorius,  Allessandro Orologio,  John Dowland,  Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck  ... 
    Conductor:  Gianpaolo Fagotto
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dià-Pasòn,  Il Terzo Suono,  Ensemble 1492
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  • 122.
    Ain't Misbehavin' - Sweelinck, Debussy, Et Al / Quink
    Label: Ottavo   Catalog: 19862 Release Date: 12/15/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Thomas "Fats" Waller,  Richard Rodgers,  Erroll Garner,  Frederick Loewe  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Quink Vocal Ensemble
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  • 123.
    Once As I Remember... / Gardiner, Monteverdi Choir
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 462050 Release Date: 10/20/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Michael Praetorius,  Anonymous,  John Tavener,  William Byrd  ... 
    Performer:  Jeremy West,  Ian Watson,  Robert Goodhew,  Abigail Newman  ... 
    Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Monteverdi Choir
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  • 124.
    24 Preludes / Catherine Perrin
    Label: Atma Classique   Catalog: 2172 Release Date: 08/01/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Various,  Frédéric Chopin,  Jean-Philippe Rameau,  Louis Couperin  ... 
    Performer:  Catherine Perrin
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  • 125.
    Sweelinck: Works For Organ / Gustav Leonhardt
    Label: Dhm Editio Classica   Catalog: 77434 Release Date: 06/11/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck
    Performer:  Gustav Leonhardt
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