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Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck

Biography

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 / James David Christie
Release Date: 05/01/1995   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8550904   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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Sweelinck: Psaumes Francais & Canciones Sacrae
Release Date: 11/10/2009   Label: Harmonia Mundi  
Catalog: 902033   Number of Discs: 1
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Browse 26-50 of 168 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    Baroque Conversations / David Greilshammer
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 792969 Release Date: 07/31/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jean-Philippe Rameau,  Morton Feldman,  Antonio Soler,  François Couperin  ... 
    Performer:  David Greilsammer
    CD: $12.99
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  • 27.
    Organs Of Edinburgh
    Label: Delphian   Catalog: 34100 Release Date: 07/10/2012   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Percy Whitlock,  Alfred Hollins,  Louis Vierne,  Dietrich Buxtehude  ... 
    Performer:  John Kitchen,  Thomas Laing-Reilly,  Andrew Caskie,  Duncan Ferguson  ... 
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  • 28.
    Harpsichord Music For A Thin Place
    Label: Whaling City Sound   Catalog: 59 Release Date: 05/08/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  François Couperin,  Louis Couperin,  Jean-Baptiste Forqueray,  Jean-Philippe Rameau  ... 
    Performer:  Paul Cienniwa
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  • 29.
    Tehilim:psalms Between Ju / Nederlands Kamerkoor
    Label: Globe   Catalog: 5247 Release Date: 05/08/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Sim Gokkes,  Salomone Rossi,  Tzvi Avni  ... 
    Performer:  Gilad Nezer,  Heleen Koele,  Kees-Jan de Koning,  Stefan Berghammer  ... 
    Conductor:  Klaas Stok
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  • 30.
    Gustav Leonhardt Edition
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 731897 Release Date: 04/24/2012   Number of Discs: 15
    Composer:  Anthony Newman,  Elias Nikolaus Ammerbach,  Master John Taylor,  John Blitheman  ... 
    Performer:  Gustav Leonhardt,  Frans Brüggen,  Anner Bylsma,  Wieland Kuijken  ... 
    Conductor:  Gustav Leonhardt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leonhardt Consort
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  • 31.
    Passion And Craftsmanship: Baroque Chamber Music From Both Sides Of The Alps
    Label: Centaur Records   Catalog: CAV Release Date: 04/24/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Francesco Turini,  Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck,  Unico Graf Van Wassenaer,  Carolus Hacquart  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Accademia Amsterdam
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  • 32.
    Amstel Tracks Now! / Amstel Quartet
    Label: Challenge   Catalog: 72534 Release Date: 04/10/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Guillermo Lago,  Johannes Brahms,  Michael Nyman,  Samuel Barber  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amstel Quartet
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  • 33.
    Label: Glossa   Catalog: 922407 Release Date: 03/13/2012   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Genevan Psalter,  Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck,  Bernard Winsemius
    Performer:  Lee Santana,  Bernard Winsemius
    Conductor:  Harry Van der Kamp
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gesualdo Consort
    CD: $68.99
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  • 34.
    Miniatures - Renaissance & New Music / Ennsemble Mixtura
    Label: Genuin Musikproduction   Catalog: 11219 Release Date: 02/28/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Erwin Koch-Raphael,  Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck,  Eduardo Flores Abad,  Francisco de la Torre  ... 
    Performer:  Katharina Bäuml,  Margit Kern
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mixtura
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  • 35.
    Himmels-Lieder - Sacred Songs & Cantatas / Franz Vitzthum
    Label: Christophorus   Catalog: 77354 Release Date: 01/31/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Philipp Heinrich Erlebach,  Johann Hildebrand,  Georg Böhm,  Johann Wolfgang Franck  ... 
    Performer:  Franz Vitzthum
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Capricornus Consort Basel
    CD: $18.99
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  • 36.
    Great Cathedral Organs [13-CD Set]
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 0852952 Release Date: 11/15/2011   Number of Discs: 13
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Louis-Claude Daquin,  Henry Purcell,  Sigfrid Karg-Elert  ... 
    Performer:  Noel Rawsthorne,  Francis Jackson,  Douglas Guest,  Simon Preston  ... 
    On sale! $67.98
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  • 37.
    Kerstmis Noel Christmas Weihnachten / Netherlands Bach Society
    Label: Channel Classics   Catalog: 6111 Release Date: 11/08/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Anonymous,  Michael Praetorius,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Andreas Hammerschmidt  ... 
    Performer:  Leo van Doeselaar
    Conductor:  Jos van Veldhoven
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Netherlands Bach Society Choir,  Cappella Figuralis,  Netherlands Bach Society
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  • 38.
    Maxine Thevenot Plays The Hellmuth Wolff Organ
    Label: Raven Recordings   Catalog: 929 Release Date: 11/08/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Dietrich Buxtehude,  Johann Kaspar Kerll,  Ruth Watson Henderson,  Nicolaus Bruhns  ... 
    Performer:  Maxine Thévenot
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  • 39.
    Ein Kind Ist Geboren
    Label: Cavi Music   Catalog: 7771046 Release Date: 10/11/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Heinrich Schütz,  Johannes Eccard,  Ernst Pepping,  Heinrich Kaminski  ... 
    Conductor:  Steffen Walther
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chemnitz Chamber Choir
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  • 40.
    Hohepunkte Der Chormusik
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 300227 Release Date: 07/12/2011   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Heinrich Isaac,  Pierre de La Rue,  Josquin Des Préz,  Antoine de Févin  ... 
    Performer:  Karl-Heinz Schmieder,  Werner Eberhardt,  Siegfried Hausmann,  Joachim Vogt  ... 
    Conductor:  Dietrich Knothe,  Hans Gruss,  Roderich Kreile,  Rudolf Mauersberger  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Schütz-Akademie,  Virtuosi Saxoniae,  Trompetensemble Ludwig Güttler  ... 
    CD: $48.99
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  • 41.
    Label: Glossa   Catalog: 922406 Release Date: 06/28/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck
    Conductor:  Harry Van der Kamp
    CD: $34.99
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  • 42.
    Sweelinck: Organ Works, Vol. 1 / Harold Vogel
    Label: Md&g (Dabringhaus & Grimm)   Catalog: 9141690 Release Date: 06/14/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck
    Performer:  Harald Vogel
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  • 43.
    Stylus Phantasticus - Bruhns, Mons, Sweelinck, Et Al / Gnann
    Label: Audite   Catalog: 20012 Release Date: 05/31/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Georg Böhm,  Dietrich Buxtehude  ... 
    Performer:  Gerhard Gnann
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  • 44.
    La Spagna - A Tune Through Three Centuries / Paniagua, Madrid Atrium Musicae
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 1963 Release Date: 05/24/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Hans Buchner,  Antonio De Cabezón,  Fabricio Caroso,  Joan Ambrosio Dalza  ... 
    Conductor:  Gregorio Paniagua
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Atrium Musicae
    SuperAudio CD: $21.49
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  • 45.
    Canadian Brass - The Classics
    Label: Opening Day   Catalog: 7400 Release Date: 04/05/2011   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Jean Joseph Mouret,  Henry Purcell,  Thomas Morley,  Otto Nicolai  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Canadian Brass
    CD: $29.98
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  • 46.
    Loeki Stardust Collection 1980-2000
    Label: Newton Classics   Catalog: 8802044 Release Date: 02/22/2011   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Tarquinio Merula,  Gioseffo Guami,  Girolamo Frescobaldi,  Giovanni Palestrina  ... 
    Performer:  Karel Van Steenhoven,  Bertho Driever,  Daniel Brüggen,  Paul Leenhouts
    Conductor:  Christopher Hogwood
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Loeki Stardust Quartet Amsterdam,  Academy of Ancient Music
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  • 47.
    Herzlich Lieb Hab Ich Dich
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 300148 Release Date: 01/11/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck,  Claudio Monteverdi,  Michael Praetorius,  Samuel Scheidt  ... 
    Performer:  Werner Marschall,  Reinhart Ginzel,  Albrecht Lepetit,  Ekkehard Wagner  ... 
    Conductor:  Rudolf Mauersberger,  Martin Flämig,  Erhard Mauersberger,  Howard Arman  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Schütz-Akademie
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  • 48.
    The King Of Instruments / Gillian Weir
    Label: Priory Records Uk (Dvd)   Catalog: 7001 Release Date: 12/14/2010  
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck,  Louis-Claude Daquin,  Giovani B. Lucchinetti  ... 
    Performer:  Gillian Weir
    On sale! $57.98
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  • 49.
    Sweelinck: Fortune My Foe - Works For Harpsichord
    Label: Carpe Diem   Catalog: 16281 Release Date: 11/16/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck,  John Bull
    Performer:  Alina Rotaru
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  • 50.
    Bach: Magnificat / Jos Van Veldhoven, Netherlands Bach Society
    Label: Channel Classics   Catalog: 32010 Release Date: 11/09/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Michael Bach,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Johann Hermann Schein,  Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck  ... 
    Performer:  William Towers,  Dorothee Mields,  Johannette Zomer,  Charles Daniels  ... 
    Conductor:  Jos van Veldhoven
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Netherlands Bach Society
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