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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
History Of The Organ Vol 2 - From Sweelinck To Bach
Release Date: 09/30/2008   Label: Arthaus Musik  
Catalog: 102113   Number of Discs: 1
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Browse 126-150 of 172 Available Recordings
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  • 126.
    Pavana - The Virgin Harpsichord / Skip Sempé, Fortin, Hantaï
    Label: Naive   Catalog: 8841 Release Date: 06/11/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  William Byrd,  Anonymous,  Martin Peerson,  Robert Johnson  ... 
    Performer:  Skip Sempé,  Pierre Hantaï
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  • 127.
    Great European Organs Vol 61 - St Laurens' Church, Rotterdam
    Label: Priory Records   Catalog: 689 Release Date: 05/28/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Peter Racine Fricker,  Egon Wellesz,  Georg Böhm  ... 
    Performer:  Roger Judd
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  • 128.
    Music & Art - Music From The Time Of Rembrandt
    Label: Metronome   Catalog: 1057 Release Date: 03/05/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Nicholas Lanier,  Philippe de Monte,  Constantijn Huygens,  Jacques Chambonnieres  ... 
    Performer:  Christopher Wilson,  Paul [Tenor Vocal] Agnew,  Julia Gooding,  Carole Cerasi
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  • 129.
    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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  • 130.
    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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  • 131. 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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  • 132.
    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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  • 133.
    Merit - A Treasury Of Harpsichord Favorites / Igor Kipnis
    Label: Music & Arts Programs Of America   Catalog: 4243 Release Date: 01/23/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jean-Philippe Rameau,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Pietro Domenico Paradies  ... 
    Performer:  Igor Kipnis
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  • 134.
    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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  • 135.
    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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  • 136.
    Great European Organs Vol 54 - Handel, Reger, Sweelinck, Etc
    Label: Priory Records   Catalog: 606 Release Date: 02/22/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir George Thalben-Ball,  Jaak Nikolaas Lemmens,  Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck,  Robert Cundick  ... 
    Performer:  Christopher Nickol
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  • 137.
    The World Of Early Music
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8554770-71 Release Date: 02/22/2000   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Michael Praetorius,  Walther von der Vogelweide,  Alfons X (El Sabio),  Dietrich Buxtehude  ... 
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  • 138.
    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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  • 139.
    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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  • 140.
    The Organs By Willem Hermans In Pistoia And Collescipoli
    Label: Accent   Catalog: 98129 Release Date: 10/01/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Abraham Van Kerckhoven,  Bernardo Pasquini,  Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck,  Séverin Cornet
    Performer:  Liuwe Tamminga
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  • 141.
    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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  • 142.
    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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  • 143.
    Once As I Remember... / Gardiner, Monteverdi Choir
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 462050 Release Date: 10/20/1998   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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  • 144.
    Sing Choirs Of Angels / Malle Babbe Women's Choir
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 60660 Release Date: 10/06/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Michael Praetorius,  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Giovanni Palestrina,  Vincent Lübeck  ... 
    Conductor:  Leny Van Schaik
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Malle Babbe Women's Choir
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  • 145.
    A Versatile Organ In Maryland / James Lancelot
    Label: Priory Records   Catalog: 640 Release Date: 08/25/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Louis-Nicolas Clérambault,  Pietro Yon,  Frank Bridge,  Guy Bovet  ... 
    Performer:  James Lancelot
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  • 146.
    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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  • 147.
    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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  • 148.
    Motetten Alter Meister / Mauersberger, Dresdner Kreuzchor
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 9196 Release Date: 02/17/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gottfried August Homilius,  Johann Hermann Schein,  Jacob Handl,  Hans Leo Hassler  ... 
    Conductor:  Rudolf Mauersberger
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Kreuz Choir
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  • 149.
    The Art Of The Baroque Trumpet Vol 2 / Eklund, Johannessen
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8553593 Release Date: 01/01/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Christoph Pezel,  Anonymous,  Michelangelo Rossi,  Johannes Prentzel  ... 
    Performer:  Tormod Dalen,  Mats Klingfors,  Knut Johannessen,  Niklas Eklund  ... 
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  • 150.
    Historic Organs Of Connecticut - 35 Historic Pipe Organs
    Label: Raven Recordings   Catalog: 94 Release Date: 12/16/1997   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Gottfried August Homilius,  Amy Marcy Beach,  John Stanley,  Sir Edward Elgar  ... 
    Performer:  David Dahl,  Ardyth Lohuis,  Robert Murray,  Victoria Wagner  ... 
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