Sweelinck, his students, their works by Bernard Winsemius

by Bernard Winsemius | Het ORGEL | Year 97 | (2001) | Issue 5

Bernard Winsemius Sweelinck, his students, their works
Het ORGEL 97 (2001), nr. 5, 8-11 [summary]

Jan Pietersz. Sweelinck’s organ style was less famous in Holland than it wasabroad. His students came from cities around the Baltic Sea: Heinrich Scheidemann,Melchior Schildt, Samuel and Gottfried Scheidt, Jacob and Johannes Praetorius, PaulSiefert, Peter Hasse, Andreas Düben. Sweelinck himself rarely travelled. Amsterdam, beinga metropolis, apparently offered him sufficient resources to realise his perfect synthesisof the Venetian style of Willaert and the brothers Gabrieli with the English virginaliststyle of Byrd and Bull.

Interpreting the organ music of Sweelinck and his students means using the dynamicpossibilities of the organ. Articulation (speaking clearly), phrasing (syntax),accentuation and agogics (playing with tempo and timing) demand a skillful hand. Rhythmcan function as a dynamic element as well. The basic touch is‘not-quite-legato’, as can be learned from the violinist and the trombonist.

If insufficient attention is given to elements like these, the music will just resemblea mass of sounds or even noise.