Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck (1562-1621)
Engelsche Fortuyn -
Variations on "Fortune My Foe"
Recorder Quartet: SATB
Score (with original keyboard version) + 4 Parts
Transcription for recorder ensemble of Sweelinck's complete set of variations
originally for keyboard instruments.
Arranged by Charles Coldwell.
Engelsche Fortuyn (English Fortune) was a popular tune in Holland,
and can be found in numerous Dutch songbooks and instrumental settings from 1603
until the beginning of the eighteenth century. As its most common Dutch
title indicates, the tune was originally an English ballad that dates from
around 1590– the famous "Fortune My Foe."
Sweelinck’s Engelsche Fortuyn (one source, German, gives the title
Von der Foruna werd’ ich getrieben) comprises three variations that reflect
the poignant text of the ballad. It starts with a simple statement of the
mournful tune that includes a brief bicinia in canon between the two top
voices. The second variation is dominated by moving eighth notes, with motivic
figures tossed between the voices. The final variation leads to a climactic
barrage of sixteenth notes in the middle of the piece, but in the end the
intensity winds down in apparent resignation.
Click to hear an audio clip of Engelsche Fortuyn (3:01)