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Fall 2017

Sweelinck and His Contemporaries


Friday, October 20, 2017 at 6 pm
Holy Trinity Lutheran Church
Central Park West and 65th Street, New York City

A concert featuring music and composers with ties to the Netherlands and the Low Countries
Part of the Early Music New York Celebration of the Low Countries: Holland and Flanders


ARTEK director Gwendolyn Toth presents a concert of music from her two latest CDs, The Arp Schnitger Organ in Eenum and The Renaissance Organ in Oosthuizen. A tiny village in the northeast Netherlands, Eenum boasts one of the surviving examples of the great organ-building genius Arp Schnitger, a small one-manual meantone organ dating from 1704. Oosthuizen has one of the oldest playable organs in the world, dating from the late 15th century. Also only one-manual and tuned in meantone, the organ still retains its compass of only F to a', just 3 octaves and 2 notes. Ms. Toth will perform selections by Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck, Heinrich Scheidemann, and others on Holy Trinity's outstanding baroque organ by Paul Fritts, assisted by tenor Philip Anderson singing related songs and airs.

The concert is part of the New York Early Music Celebration 2017.

Music by Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck (1562-1621), Josquin des Prez (c.1450/55-1521), Nicolas Gombert (c.1495-c.1560), Heinrich Scheidemann (c.1595-1663)

Available at the concert for purchase: copies of Gwendolyn Toth’s latest CDs,
The Renaissance Organ in Oosthuizen (Netherlands) and
The Arp Schnitger Organ in Eenum (Netherlands).

Artists:
Gwendolyn Toth, organ
Philip Anderson, tenor

Tickets:
Sweelinck and His Contemporaries at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church
Friday, October 20, 6pm
VIP Balcony seating (with up close view of the artists) $40 regular, $30 seniors.
VIP ticketholders are invited to a special reception following the concert. Floor seating (general admission) $20 regular, $15 seniors.
Tickets available for both concerts from Gotham Early Music Scene (GEMS)
Click to order tickets

About the program

The people of the Netherlands are so justly proud of the Dutch composer Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck that they placed him on the 25 Guilder banknote (up until the advent of the euro). Sweelinck straddled the Renaissance and the early baroque; his keyboard works display his mastery of vocal polyphony with a fresh new baroque approach to instrumental figuration, resulting in a deeply emotional yet virtuoso repertoire for early keyboard. He is represented on the program by his Hexachord Fantasy, one of the true masterpieces of early 17th-century keyboard music.

Two pieces by the eminent Flemish composers Josquin and Gombert come down to us in organ tablature dating from around the time of Sweelinck’s birth. The technique of intabulating, or arranging for keyboard using a special note-name-based notation was the principal means of preserving keyboard music in the 16th and 17th centuries in Northern Europe.

A major source of Dutch early keyboard music is the Susanne van Soldt manuscript. Susanne was the daughter of a wealthy Flemish/Dutch merchant, Johannes Paulus van Soldt, living in England. The manuscript is dated 1599, though most of the pieces date from around the 1570s/1580s and are exclusively Franco-Flemish, including the intabulation of Lassus’ Susanne ung jour and the dance Brabanschen Ronden.

Sweelinck is known to have taught numerous students. Of these, Heinrich Scheidemann was one of Sweelinck’s favorite pupils, and he went on to become one of the most renowned German organ composers of the first half of the 17th century. He continued to use the archaic model of keyboard intabulations of vocal works such as Hassler’s Benedicam Domino (based in turn on the Gregorian chant Benedicamus Domino), as well as the famous “Flow My Tears” – or, in Dutch, “Traen, ogen, traen.”

The Luneburg tablatures from the middle of the 17th century contain numerous pieces by Scheidemann as well as a number of anonymous works. O lux beata Trinitas is likely by Scheidemann or another pupil of Sweelinck based on the similarities in style.

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