Author Topic: The Organ, Master of them all - general organ thread  (Read 71794 times)

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Offline Marc

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Re: The Organ, Master of them all - general organ thread
« Reply #520 on: August 01, 2017, 09:26:02 PM »
Wikipedia says he wrote music for Calvinist, Lutheran and Catholic liturgies.

But I am skeptical that a man who spent over four decades as the musician of an important Calvinist church in Amsterdam was a secret Catholic. Catholics in the Netherlands were not quite as oppressed as those in England (like Bull and Byrd), and unlike their English brethren, would have had more opportunity to physically relocate to Catholic territory. And even if relocation was not an option, wouldn't he have at least found another way to make a living?

He wasn't a church organist, but a city organist.
If it were up to Calvinism, all the organs would have been destroyed during the so-called Beeldenstorm, the outburst of destruction of religious images that occurred in (a.o.) the Netherlands half-way the 16th century. Calvinists called the organ "des Satans fluytenkast" (the flute case of Satan). Thanks to city governments, the organs were saved. Sweelinck wasn't a servant of any church/religion, he was a servant for the city government as well as the city organist of Amsterdam.
« Last Edit: August 01, 2017, 09:35:43 PM by Marc »
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Offline bioluminescentsquid

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Re: The Organ, Master of them all - general organ thread
« Reply #521 on: August 01, 2017, 11:41:48 PM »
He wasn't a church organist, but a city organist.
If it were up to Calvinism, all the organs would have been destroyed during the so-called Beeldenstorm, the outburst of destruction of religious images that occurred in (a.o.) the Netherlands half-way the 16th century. Calvinists called the organ "des Satans fluytenkast" (the flute case of Satan). Thanks to city governments, the organs were saved. Sweelinck wasn't a servant of any church/religion, he was a servant for the city government as well as the city organist of Amsterdam.

There's a fun article here about the Calvinists' "War on Organs", illustrated with some colorful quotes.
https://books.google.com.tw/books?id=xbRMAwAAQBAJ&lpg=PA112&ots=k5r9tS7A-z&dq=des%20Satans%20fluytenkast&pg=PA107#v=onepage&q=des%20Satans%20fluytenkast&f=false

Calvinists initially saw organs as too Popish to be used in church, some going as far as to see them as a form of idolatry. But when congregational singing was introduced, it was hard to make people learn the Psalter tunes. That's why city councils employed people like Sweelinck to play variations on the Psalms while service was not in session so people could learn the Psalter. (alongside with variations on secular songs just for entertainment - like Est ce Mars, which was a big hit in 1615)
Later, in 1640, Constantijn Huygens published an essay advocating the use of the organ to accompany the singing (as opposed to only playing it before and after the service). Suddenly you get large organs like the ones in the Leiden Pieterskerk (one of my favorite Dutch organs  ;D ), Amsterdam Nieuwekerk, or Alkmaar Laurenskerk that could meet these new demands.

Sietze de Vries playing Sweelinck's P.23 on my favorite little organ, the organ in Uttum.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pyVpBUtXep4

Another fun Sweelinck fact is that in 1604, Sweelinck was sent to Antwerp on a business trip to buy the city a Ruckers harpsichord, probably his only sojourn outside Holland. Someone discovered the lid of this harpsichord, and now it's in the Rijksmuseum! https://www.rijksmuseum.nl/en/collection/SK-A-4947
But I wonder if the soundboard may have made its way into a still extant large French harpsichord or something?
« Last Edit: August 01, 2017, 11:58:10 PM by bioluminescentsquid »

Offline bioluminescentsquid

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Re: The Organ, Master of them all - general organ thread
« Reply #522 on: September 22, 2017, 06:08:40 AM »


There's a new Pachebel hexachordum (I'm assuming a re-release, as the style of playing seems rather antiquated?) that's very nice on Spotify. Does anyone have more info on the performer or recording? What organ was used in it? Sounds like a Southern German organ correct for Pachelbel's period, but that's all I can deduce.

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