"If you were music, I would listen to you ceaselessly, and my low spirits would brighten up." - Anna Akhmatova

Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck

If it were up to Calvinism, all the organs would have been destroyed during the Beeldenstorm, the outbreaks of destruction of religious images that occurred in Europe in the 16th century. Thanks to city governments, the organs were saved. Strictly speaking, Sweelinck was a servant for the city government as well as the city organist of Amsterdam. His organ and harpsichord music was also used during international negotiations, making his music arguably quite influential.  Sweelinck's music should not be listened to with the same ears as one listens to Bach, Beethoven or Brahms. His instrumental works have its own completely unique expression, including temporal modulations, instead of tonal ones. His toccatas, variations and fantasies often start modestly, and gradually increase in movement. Especially his fantasies are masterpieces in this regard. Take for instance his Chromatic Fantasy. The first part uses the chromaticism by alternating whole and half steps. In the second section, the theme is enlarged to a complete cantus firmus, while the embellishments increase in speed. In the third section, the chromatic theme is increased in speed as well, after which the whole work is finished with a graceful bow. 

Featured on

The Art of Variation - Secular Cycles
Fabio Antonio Falcone
Ton Koopman at the Zacharias Hildebrandt Organ (1726) in Lengefeld in the Erzgebirge
Ton Koopman
Ruckers 1604
Marco Vitale
Harpsichord Music
Gavin Black
Sweelinck and the Art of Variation
Brisk Recorder Quartet Amsterdam
Amstel Tracks Now!
Amstel Quartet
Netherlands Chamber Choir
Puer Nobis Nascitur
Ton Koopman
Treasury Of A Saint
Huygens: Dutch Music in the 17th Century
Camerata Trajectina
Keyboard Works
Anneke Uittenbosch
Music of the Spheres, English Consort Songs and Instrumental Music, 16th Century
Maarten Koningsberger / Brisk Recorder Quartet Amsterdam / Mike Fentross
Keyboard Works
Anneke Uittenbosch