On Sat 11th January 2020, eight members of the Society met at Christ’s Chapel of God’s Gift at Dulwich to play and listen to Sweelinck’s organ music played by Marilyn on the 1760 George England Organ, restored by Wlliam Drake 2009, and hear from Marilyn where he fitted into the Ecclesiastical goings-on of late 16th/early 17th century Holland. He came from a musical family and was known for his openness, tolerant attitude and general friendliness.
Born a Catholic, he became, at least on paper, a Calvinist. His reputation was built primarily on compositions for the Catholic Church, but he became a central figure in stabilizing what became known as the North German Lutheran tradition. As well as organ and choral music for church use, he composed for the Virginal and Harpsichord, writing variations on secular as well as sacred themes.
As Marilyn took us through the story there was a lively discussion, sometimes leading us a bit off-topic, only to be led gently back onto it! When the session came to an end I, for one, felt that we had only scratched the surface, and I shall make good use of the list of “further reading”.
There is much more to Sweelinck than his variations on “Mein junges Leben hat ein Ende” and his motet for Christmas Day “Hodie Christus natus est”.
Marilyn will be leading another Society event in the Chapel on Saturday 23rd May focussing on Transposition and Sight-reading. It will start at 1630 (somewhat later than previously published, due to a wedding…..)
Robert Bowles January 2020
Marilyn is a former Chair of SSLSO; Royal College of Organists Accredited Teacher; and currently the Organist of Christ’s Chapel where this event took place