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Sweelinck, Jan Pieters


Renaissance organist and church composer (called also Jan Pieterszoon); b. Deventer, Holland, May 1562;d. Amsterdam, Oct. 16, 1621. His father, Pieter, was organist at the Oude Kerk (Catholic) in Amsterdam, and Jan succeeded to the post about 1577 and retained it until his death. He was an organist and teacher of uncommon brilliance, and vestiges of his style may be traced through many pupils into many countries. His vocal music, though eclipsed by his great contribution to the development of a new instrumental style, reflects the finest of late Renaissance style and texture, especially in the four books of Psalms, and in the transitional protobaroque

Latin motets comprising the Cantiones sacrae of 1619. His harpsichord music won its way into such anthologies as the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book. His organ music shows him at the height of his powers as an innovator in such forms as the toccata and the chorale variation, the latter serving to carry the earlier cantus firmus techniques into the mainstream of baroque music.

Bibliography: Complete Works, ed. m. sieffert, 10 v. (Amsterdam 18941901). b. van den sigtenhorst meyer, Jan P. Sweelinck en zijn instrumentale muziek (The Hague 1934; repr. 1946); De vocale muziek van Jan P. Sweelinck (The Hague 1948). p. h. lÁng, Music in Western Civilization (New York 1941). g. reese, Music in the Renaissance (rev. ed. New York 1959). a. annegarn, Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart, ed. f. blume (Kassel-Basel 1949). t. a. anderson, The Metrical Psalmody of Jan Pieterzoon Sweelinck, with a Practical Performing Edition of the Livre Quatrième et Conclusional des Pseaumes de David (1621) (Ph.D. diss. University of Iowa, 1968). p. dirksen, The Keyboard Music of Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck: Its Style, Significance, and Influence (Utrecht 1997). f. noske, Sweelinck (Oxford 1988). d. m. randel, ed., The Harvard Biographical Dictionary of Music (Cambridge 1996). n. slonimsky, ed., Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians (New York 1992). r. h. tollefsen in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, ed. s. sadie (New York 1980).

[d. stevens]

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