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 51-75 of 155 Available Recordings
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  • 51.
    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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  • 52.
    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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  • 53.
    Sweelinck: Cantiones Sacrae / van der Kamp, Gesualdo Consort Amsterdam
    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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  • 54.
    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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  • 55.
    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
    CD: $14.99
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  • 56.
    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
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  • 57.
    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
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  • 58.
    Rondom - Van Eyck / Ardalus Ensemble
    Label: Phaedra   Catalog: 92068 Release Date: 03/24/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jan Jacob Van Eyck,  Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck,  Anonymous,  John Dowland  ... 
    Conductor:  Karen Ketels
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ardalus Ensemble
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  • 59.
    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:  Albrecht Lepetit,  Ekkehard Wagner,  Werner Marschall,  Reinhart Ginzel  ... 
    Conductor:  Rudolf Mauersberger,  Martin Flämig,  Erhard Mauersberger,  Howard Arman  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Schütz-Akademie
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  • 60.
    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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  • 61.
    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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  • 62.
    Sweelinck: Psaumes De David / Marlow, Trinity College Choir
    Label: Conifer   Catalog: 16850 Release Date: 09/15/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck
    Conductor:  Richard Marlow
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Trinity College Choir
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  • 63.
    Cabezon: La Tecla de l'Alma / Paola Erdas
    Label: Arcana   Catalog: 357 Release Date: 08/20/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Thoinot Arbeau,  Luis de Narváez,  Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck,  Anonymous  ... 
    Performer:  Paola Erdas,  Lia Serafini
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  • 64.
    Inspirations From England
    Label: Regent   Catalog: 309 Release Date: 04/13/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sasha Johnson Manning,  William Walond,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Felix Alexandre Guilmant  ... 
    Performer:  Scott Montgomery
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  • 65.
    Universe Of Poetry
    Label: Pro Organo   Catalog: 7235 Release Date: 12/08/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Joseph Rheinberger,  Dietrich Buxtehude,  André Fleury  ... 
    Performer:  Michael Unger
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  • 66.
    Christmas Songs / Alin, Orphei Drangar
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 1833 Release Date: 11/24/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Traditional,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Mel Torme,  Hugh Martin  ... 
    Conductor:  Cecilia Rydinger Alin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Uppsala Chamber Orchestra,  Linne Quintet,  Orphei Drängar
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  • 67.
    Es Ist Ein Ros Entsprungen / Kopp, Vocal Concert Dresden
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 16442 Release Date: 10/09/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Michael Praetorius,  Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck,  Johannes Brahms,  Franz Xaver Gruber  ... 
    Conductor:  Peter Kopp
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Vocal Concert
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  • 68.
    A Treasury Of Harpsichord Favorites / Igor Kipnis
    Label: Music & Arts Programs Of America   Catalog: 243 Release Date: 09/24/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Anonymous,  William Byrd,  John Bull,  Orlando Gibbons  ... 
    Performer:  Igor Kipnis
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  • 69.
    The Christmastide
    Label: Da Chiesa   Catalog: 5637564624 Release Date: 09/22/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Traditional,  Matthew Armstrong,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Robert Chilcott  ... 
    Performer:  Deborah Thoreson,  Miguel Santillanes,  Amanda Jones
    Conductor:  Eric Nelson
    CD: $26.99
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  • 70.
    Fantasie Through Time / Kimberly Marshall
    Label: Loft Recordings   Catalog: 1108 Release Date: 09/08/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck,  Anthony [16th C.] Newman,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Kimberly Marshall
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  • 71.
    The Last Schnitger Organ - Sweelinck, Bach / Elisabeth Harrison
    Label: Raven Recordings   Catalog: 914 Release Date: 08/11/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Heinrich Scheidemann,  Ulrich Steigleder,  Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach,  Johann Ludwig Krebs  ... 
    Performer:  Elizabeth Harrison
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  • 72.
    Label: Crd Records   Catalog: 5001 Release Date: 08/06/2009   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  John Francis Wade,  Traditional,  Richard R. Bennett,  Herbert Howells  ... 
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  • 73.
    Sweelinck: Music For Harpsichord / Glen Wilson
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8570894 Release Date: 05/26/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck,  John Dowland,  Martin Luther,  Melchior Schildt
    Performer:  Glen Wilson
    CD: $9.99
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  • 74.
    The Sacred Flame / Rutter, Cambridge Singers, La Nuova Musica
    Label: Collegium Records   Catalog: 134 Release Date: 05/05/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Heinrich Schütz,  Hans Leo Hassler,  Tomás Luis de Victoria  ... 
    Performer:  Katy Hill,  James Holiday,  Ben Breakwell,  Gabriel Crouch  ... 
    Conductor:  John Rutter
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Singers,  La nuova musica
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  • 75.
    Fitzwilliam Virginal Book / Jovanka Marville
    Label: Aeon   Catalog: 865 Release Date: 03/04/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giles Farnaby,  John Bull,  William Byrd,  Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck
    Performer:  Yovanka Marville
    CD: $8.99
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