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 was abroad. His students came from cities around the Baltic Sea: Heinrich Scheidemann, Melchior Schildt, Samuel and Gottfried Scheidt, Jacob and Johannes Praetorius, Paul Siefert, Peter Hasse, Andreas Düben. Sweelinck himself rarely travelled. Amsterdam, being a metropolis, apparently offered him sufficient resources to realise his perfect synthesis of the Venetian style of Willaert and the brothers Gabrieli with the English virginalist style of Byrd and Bull.

Interpreting the organ music of Sweelinck and his students means using the dynamic possibilities of the organ. Articulation (speaking clearly), phrasing (syntax), accentuation and agogics (playing with tempo and timing) demand a skillful hand. Rhythm can 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 resemble a mass of sounds or even noise.