|Julia Dokter||Musical rhetoric in Sweelinck’s keyboard variations on sacred melodies (I)
Het ORGEL 108 (2012), nr. 5, 14-23 [summary]
Our knowledge of the music of Jan Pietersz. Sweelinck, whose 450th
birthday is celebrated this year, has been augmented in recent
years, mostly through culture-historical studies and source studies.
But an analytical study that directly influences our evaluation of
the sound of Sweelinck’s music has not been made. This two-part
article makes a start at filling this gap by analyzing Sweelinck’s
sacred variations for keyboard, providing new insights into the
performance practice of these works. The keyboard variation sets by
Sweelinck on sacred melodies are studied in relation to the texts by
placing the texts next to the cantus firmi. In these keyboard
variations we encounter numerous musical figures. By using the music
rhetorical figures that were catalogued by theoreticians and
musicians from Sweelinck’s time, as well as earlier and later, this
article presents a method by which the semantic meaning behind these
musical figures can be understood. A basic idea is formulated which
makes it possible to discover the music rhetorical figures in
Sweelinck’s sacred variations. Then a number of detailed analyses of
variation sets is given based on this idea.
The first part of this article treats variation sets that use the complete text. The examples discussed are the sets ‘Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr’ and ‘Ich ruf zu dir’.