The tours for you
Our first stop is Italy, which is not one of the low countries, and found elsewhere in Europe. Guillaume Dufay spent some years of his life here. This is where he composed a number of compositions for ceremonial reasons that were played in public celebrations, such as the election of Pope Eugenius IV in 1431, the Treaty of Viterbo in 1433, and the “Feast of the Pheasant” in 1453. He composed a lamentation for the Feast of the Pheasant for the start of a crusade (as in the crusades intended to take back the holy land, Jerusalem).
Our next stop is in France. France is not a low country, and is found elsewhere in Europe. This is an important place because it is where a certain famous composer, Jean de Ockeghem, supposedly died. Jean de Ockeghem died in Tours, France, February 6, 1497. He also spent some time of his earlier life there as a treasurer of the Abbey of Saint-Martin, where he earned a lot of money (the salary was quite large).
Our next stop is in Belgium, which is in the Low Countries. Our stop is Saint-Ghislain, Belgium. This is where Jean de Ockeghem was apparently born. His birth is shrouded in mystery, because people don’t know exactly when he was born. There are two dates that people suggest, 1410, and 1430. People find that 1410 is the more plausible of the two dates because Jean de Ockeghem met Gilles Binchois in Hainaut sometime before 1423.
Staying in Belgium, let’s go over to Brussels. This is where Guillaume Dufay was born around August 5, 1397. He was an illegitimate child.
Deventer, The Netherlands
Next, we go to The Netherlands, one of the low countries. We are going first to Deventer, which is where Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck was born the May of 1562. Some people have said that he was born in Amsterdam, but he just spent basically his whole life there. Jan didn’t spend much time in Deventer, as he moved to Amsterdam early in his life.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Staying in The Netherlands, we are going to go over to Amsterdam to see where Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck spent all his life, the Low countries, but never leaving the Low Countries. This is where he became the organist of Oude Kerk of Amsterdam and stayed the organist until he died in Amsterdam October 16, 1621. Sweelinck was mainly a keyboard composer, and he wrote most of his works in Amsterdam. He also wrote over 200 vocal works including chansons and motets, so he had a wide range of compositions, both secular and sacred.