Classical The best music site on the web there is where you can read about and listen to blues, jazz, classical music and much more. This is your ultimate music resource. Tons of albums can be found within. Fri, 23 Aug 2019 10:57:54 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck - Fortune My Foe (2010) Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck - Fortune My Foe (2010)

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01. Fantasia Chromatica а 4 [08:20]
02. Puer nobis nascitur [02:38]
03. Pavana Hispanica [02:17]
04. Balleth del granduca [04:31]
05. Onder een linde groen [04:55]
06. Engelse Fortuijn [Fortune my foe] [02:54]
07. Paduana Lachrymae [04:49]
08. Ach Gott vom Himmel sieh darein [05:03]
09. Mein junges Leben hat ein End' [05:54]
10. Toccata in d [03:00]
11. Malle Sijmen [01:18]
12. Fantazia op de Fuga van M: Jan Pieters. Fecit Dr. Bull 1621 [04:12]

Alina Rotaru – harpsichord


The music of Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck (1562–1621) is beloved by organists, and rightly so. The obligatory piece or two of Sweelinck will turn up now and again on organ recitals, especially those given by organ grad students at major conservatories. Sweelinck has been relatively neglected by harpsichordists, though, and there is a possible explanation for that. Since most of his music is manualiter (for manuals only without pedal), it falls to the performer to decide which pieces work best on harpsichord. I can imagine that the very act of sorting through the music has deterred a lot of them. Many pieces are effective on either instrument, but some, such as the Fantasia chromatica , should only be played on harpsichord, although that hasn’t stopped organists from trying. A quick check of ArkivMusic produced exactly two items devoted entirely to harpsichord: Volume 2 of the complete keyboard works on Chandos recorded in 2009 by Robert Wolley, and a single Naxos CD recorded by Glen Wilson, neither of which has been reviewed in Fanfare . I haven’t heard either one, but I have no hesitation in recommending the present Carpe Diem CD as the ideal place to start one’s exploration of Sweelinck’s harpsichord music.

Alina Rotaru is a young Rumanian harpsichordist who currently resides in Bremen, Germany. On the booklet cover her photograph shows a rather serious-looking young lady—perhaps the cares of the world are weighing down heavily on her. She can rest assured, however, that with playing as accomplished as this, she has a brilliant career ahead. Her keyboard work in the Fantasia chromatica is amazing. She starts out slowly and deliberately and then builds to a spectacular finish; the sweeping 32nd-note runs in the concluding section will take your breath away. The Ballet del granduca , often heard on organ recitals, is likewise given the grand treatment. Every tune is gauged perfectly, including the one that gives the CD its title, Fortune My Foe. It is based on a piece from the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book by William Byrd, but with added embellishments and florid passages. Paduana lachrymae is a note-for-note transcription of Dowland’s famous Flow My Teares , surprisingly effective on the harpsichord. Ach Gott vom Himmel sieh darein is an elaboration of a Lutheran hymn tune, the sort of thing that Sebastian Bach would be famous for 100 years later. Mein junges Leben is Sweelinck’s complex and virtuosic rendition of a popular German song, while Malle Sijmen is a lighthearted version of an English folk song. The program concludes fittingly with John Bull’s Fantazia op de Fuga , a lament written in 1621 on the death of Sweelinck. Bull, Sweelinck, and Dowland were all born in the same year, and Bull, who lived in Antwerp, knew Sweelinck personally. The music of this era contains many fascinating cross-references and borrowings, nowhere more apparent than in the pieces that Rotaru has so aptly selected for this program.

Rotaru succeeds in this repertoire where others fail thanks to a rock-steady rhythmic pulse and honest, self-effacing musicianship. Although it’s often difficult to put a finger on it, her style is exactly right. I never get the feeling, for example, that she plays this music because it’s historically “important”; she plays it because she believes in it. The music comes through with all its brilliance and structural complexity intact, high praise indeed for any performer.

The harpsichord is a Ruckers copy by Fred Bettenhuasen of Haarlem, and it is the perfect choice for the music. Although no details are given, I presume from the sound that it’s a small, single-manual instrument with two eight-foot registers. The recorded sound leaves nothing to be desired. Urgently recommended. ---FANFARE: Christopher Brodersen,

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]]> (bluesever) Sweelinck Jan Pieterszon Tue, 07 Jan 2014 16:57:30 +0000
Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck - Organ Works (1998) Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck - Organ Works (1998)

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1. Echo Fantasia in A minor		4:20		play
2. Da pacem, Domine, in diebus nostris	8:44
3. Hexachord Fantasia No. 5		9:53
4. Fantasia No. 4 in D minor		13:41	
5. Puer nobis nascitur - Ons is gheboren	3:33
6. Toccata No. 17 in A minor		5:25

Gustav Leonhardt – organ
St.Jakobskerk, Den Haag


Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck (Deventer, April or May, 1562 – Amsterdam, 16 October 1621) was a Dutch composer, organist, and pedagogue whose work straddled the end of the Renaissance and beginning of the Baroque eras. He was among the first major keyboard composers of Europe, and his work as a teacher helped establish the north German organ tradition.

Sweelinck represents the highest development of the Dutch keyboard school, and indeed represented a pinnacle in keyboard contrapuntal complexity and refinement before J.S. Bach. However, he was a skilled composer for voices as well, and composed more than 250 works for voice (chansons, madrigals, motets and Psalms). Some of Sweelinck's innovations were of profound musical importance, including the fugue—he was the first to write an organ fugue which began simply, with one subject, successively adding texture and complexity until a final climax and resolution, an idea which was perfected at the end of the Baroque era by Bach. It is also generally thought that many of Sweelinck's keyboard works were intended as studies for his pupils. He was also the first to use the pedal as a real fugal part. Stylistically Sweelinck's music also brings together the richness, complexity and spatial sense of Andrea and Giovanni Gabrieli, with whom he was familiar from his time in Venice, and the ornamentation and intimate forms of the English keyboard composers. In some of his works Sweelinck appears as a composer of the baroque style, with the exception of his chansons which mostly resemble the French Renaissance tradition. In formal development, especially in the use of countersubject, stretto, and organ point (pedal point), his music looks ahead to Bach (who was quite possibly familiar with Sweelinck’s music).

Sweelinck was a master improviser, and acquired the informal title of the "Orpheus of Amsterdam". More than 70 of his keyboard works have survived, and many of them may be similar to the improvisations that residents of Amsterdam around 1600 were likely to have heard. In the course of his life, Sweelinck was involved with the musical liturgies of three distinctly different church types: the Roman Catholic, the Calvinist, and the Lutheran—all of which are reflected in his work. Even his vocal music, which is more conservative than his keyboard writing, shows a striking rhythmic complexity and an unusual richness of contrapuntal devices.


Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck (ur. w kwietniu 1562 w Deventer, zm. 16 października 1621 w Amsterdamie) - holenderski organista, kompozytor i pedagog. Skomponował liczne wariacje, toccaty, fantazje oraz madrygały, psalmy, motety. Był ostatnim wielkim mistrzem franko-flamandzkiej szkoły polifonii wokalnej, a zarazem twórcą przełomu renesansu i baroku.

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]]> (bluesever) Sweelinck Jan Pieterszon Mon, 04 Jul 2011 18:47:45 +0000
Sweelinck - Psaumes Francais and Canciones Sacrae (2009) Sweelinck - Psaumes Francais and Canciones Sacrae (2009)

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1.Psalm 133, "Resveillez vous, chascun fidele"
2.Psalm 91, "Qui en la garde du haut Dieu"
3.Psalm 130, "Du fonds de ma pensee"
4.De profundis clamavi ad te Domine
5.Magnificat anima mea Dominum
6.Beati pauperes spiritu
7.Psalm 77, "A Dieu ma voix j'ay haussee"
8.Psalm 42, "Ainsi qu'on oit le cerf bruire"
9.Psalm 146, "Sus mon ame, qu'on benie le Souverain"
10.Te Deum laudamus

David Jansen – organ
Ophira Zakaï - lute
Cappella Amsterdam
Daniel Reuss – conductor


Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck, "the Orpheus of Amsterdam," was active at the beginning of the 17th century. Along with the English madrigalists he was one of the last exponents of polyphony in the Renaissance style. He was equally celebrated for instrumental and vocal music in his own time, but now it is his keyboard pieces (which were diffused as far as England) and viol music that get played most often, and this fine sampling of his sacred vocal music will be a welcome addition to Renaissance collections. Among the more famous composers of sacred music in the late Renaissance the one he resembles most is Lassus: his style is restrained, not especially chromatic, yet highly expressive, with a seemingly inevitable connection between music and text, and long lines that seem to unfold over vast stretches of music in substantial pieces like the beautiful 15-minute Te Deum laudamus at the end. His general style was mapped onto diverse Protestant (Calvinist) and Catholic styles in the religiously tolerant city, which especially in the Protestant sphere also allowed a strong secular orientation: Calvinist services permitted no music, and churches like the Oude Kerk, then as now, often served as concert halls. The CD booklet (with commentary and texts in English, German, and French) illustrated this delightfully with a portrait of Sweelinck in a church crowded with all kinds of people and activities. The French pieces (apparently in French, not Dutch, because Sweelinck preferred the French texts) are psalms based on preexisting melodies; the Canciones Sacrae are Latin Catholic motets with a soberness and expressive intensity that ought to recommend them to any choir. These are played with an unobtrusive continuo of lute and organ, a decision that ought to be explained inasmuch as the booklet stresses the slow adoption of this Italian innovation in the Netherlands. The performances by the mixed-gender adult, 18-voice Cappella Amsterdam are otherwise ideal, with flawless intonation that nevertheless gives the expressive dimension of the music room to breathe. --- James Manheim, Rovi

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]]> (bluesever) Sweelinck Jan Pieterszon Thu, 12 Jun 2014 16:10:22 +0000
Sweelinck – Organ Works (Christie) [1995] Sweelinck – Organ Works (Christie) [1995]

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1. Toccata in C: Toccata		4:37
2. Ballo del granduca	5:03
3. Ricercar	11:26
4. Malle Sijmen		1:40	
5. Mein junges Legben hat ein End'	6:25	
6. Echo Fantasia in A minor	4:15	
7. Onder een linde groen: Onder een line groen		5:35	
8. Toccata in A minor	6:00	
9. Erbarm dich mein, o Herre Gott	11:26
10. Poolsche Dans	7:47

James David Christie – organ


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 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. --- Robert Cummings, Rovi

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]]> (bluesever) Sweelinck Jan Pieterszon Thu, 22 May 2014 16:00:01 +0000