If Sweelinck did not actually invent the Echo Fantasia
(Ionian), then he made it very much his own. Its construction is much less strict than the big fantasias, placing greater emphasis on the moment rather than the overall design, and feeling more improvisatory. The opening section is again contrapuntal but the part writing is more relaxed, the imitation looser and more vocal in quality. In some of these pieces the echoes appear at the same pitch, contrasting dynamic marks indicating changes of manual, marking these out specifically as organ works. However, the present work is one of those where the echoes are generally at the octave below, thus making the piece playable also on the harpsichord. One cannot but marvel at the sheer inventiveness of Sweelinck’s development of such a simple idea. The echo ideas include horn calls, repeated notes and all sorts of passagework, and the piece is rounded off with another virtuosic ending.
from notes by Stephen Westrop © 2003