Sweelinck clearly knew and took his inspiration from a wide variety of music, especially the keyboard traditions of England and Italy. While contrapuntal compositions such as the fantasia and ricercar are found in his English sources, the toccata is a specifically southern type, his particular models being Claudio Merulo and Andrea Gabrieli. Built on a less extensive scale than the other free-form works the Toccata
(Ionian) opens with the same head-motif as the Echo Fantasia
, although counterpoint is almost completely absent. While there is bravura passagework, the form is not yet the vehicle for out and out virtuosic display that it was to become and chordal passages and sequences abound.
from notes by Stephen Westrop © 2003