Jacob van Eyck Quarterly


2006, No. 3 (July)



Jan Baptist Verrijt: A carillon (and recorder) pupil of Jacob van Eyck


In 1628 the Utrecht authorities agreed to give Jacob van Eyck a salary raise, provided he take on one or two pupils 'who would be able to fill his function in the event of his death.' Three years later the blind master approached the council with the grievance that he could not properly instruct his pupils 'without having an accord of cymbals or small bells on which to practice indoors', lest 'their bungling on public bells visit disgrace on them and on the city.' Therefore he requested the purchase of 'an accord of thirty small chimes'. The council approved the request and allowed Van Eyck to install the practice instrument in his own house 'in order to more conveniently practice by himself and to instruct others.'

The names of several pupils are known. In 1633 the Reformed Orphanage sent him a youngster named Claes Jansz Weyman, who as Van Eyck's apprentice was also to learn the art of playing the carillon, 'as much as his noggin could absorb.' Was the boy a simpleton, or did Van Eyck doubt his musical capabilities?

Van Eyck attracted young musicians from other towns as well. In 1646 Pieter de Moor from Middelburg spent four or five months in Utrecht under Van Eyck's tutelage. Five years later Jacob van Reynsburch arrived with the same goal, hoping to succeed his deceased father as municipal carillonneur in Leiden.

Of Van Eyck's pupils, Jan Baptist Verrijt deserves a closer look, as he was the only one who can be connected with the recorder. Van Eyck composed a variation on an 'Almande Verryt' [NVE 93] that appeared in the second volume of Der Fluyten Lust-hof (1646). The theme was probably a composition by Verrijt.

Almande Verryt, the theme, from Jacob van Eyck's Der Fluyten Lust-hof II (2nd ed., 1654)

Verrijt was appointed organist of the Sint-Janskerk (St. John's Church) in 's-Hertogenbosch in 1640. Van Eyck, who had also been invited to participate in consultations regarding a new carillon there, played an advisory role in the hiring procedure. He heard the auditions on July 12, 1640. In the morning and the afternoon two candidates played the church organ, and in the afternoon they also played the harpsichord in the city hall. Additionally they were required to sing and play other instruments. Candidates were thus expected to be quite well-rounded musicians. In the end, however, neither man was appointed, as the most suitable candidate turned out to be a drunkard. The job eventually went to another person, Jan Baptist Verrijt, who was born around 1610 in the north Brabant town of Oirschot. He started his career there as organist of the Pieterskerk and subsequently held a similar position in Leuven.

Verrijt's appointment in 's-Hertogenbosch is surprising, because he was not at all an experienced carillonneur; apparently his abilities as an organist were of more importance to his future employers. The business of who was to play the carillon could be postponed, as the instrument itself had yet to be built. Jacob van Eyck was very much involved in this project.
's-Hertogenbosch, Sint-Janskerk

In January 1642 Van Eyck spent several days in 's-Hertogenbosch in order to tune the bells. He probably went home with a request to return later that year to install the carillon. On June 11 the canons of the Dom chapter in Utrecht agreed 'to write to the magistrate of 's-Hertogenbosch that Jo. Jacob van Eyck will spend some time there to ensure that the console for playing the bells is installed properly and to his satisfaction.' On September 14 Van Eyck went back. The work was completed on October 20.

The city authorities in 's-Hertogenbosch must have been well impressed by Van Eyck, because less than a week later they decided to send Verrijt to Utrecht to study carillon playing with the blind master. Verrijt received two guilders per day in expenses, but he was required to provide and pay a substitute in 's-Hertogenbosch during his absence. Verrijt was instructed, in addition to his carillon lessons, to 'diligently spend his time learning something from Van Eyck about flute playing.' Jacob van Eyck's fame as a recorder player thus extended well beyond Utrecht's city limits!

's-Hertogenbosch would hardly benefit from Verrijt's musicianship. Already in 1644 he moved to Rotterdam to become organist of the Laurenskerk, where a brand-new organ was waiting. He was expected to become carillonneur here as well, but the planned Hemony carillon was not made until after Verrijt's death. He died in 1650. Only the last of his five opus numbers has survived: Flammae divinae, printed in 1649 by Phalèse in Antwerp.It is a collection of two- and three-part Latin motets along with two three-part Mass settings.

The 'Almande Verryt' may have stemmed from his sole instrumental collection, Concentus harmonici opus 3, a volume of five-part dances.

Thiemo Wind


click on the icon for the score of Van Eyck's 'Almande Verryt'...


Thiemo Wind, Jacob van Eyck en de anderen — Nederlands solorepertoire voor blokfluit in de Gouden Eeuw (Diss. Utrecht University, 2006), pp. 87-88. To be published in English by the Koninklijke Vereniging voor Nederlandse Muziekgeschiedenis (KVNM) in 2007.

The motets by Verrijt have been recorded by The Consort of Musicke cond. Anthony Rooley (NM Classics, 92076).

The motets by Verrijt are published by KVNM.





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