Daphne from the Camphuysen MS; dating

Most of us know this beautiful piece, recorded by Gustav Leonhardt back in the 1960s on an original Ruckers harpsichord. This recording can be heard online.

The Camphuysen MS has been variously dated, as “c1650” in a printed edition and recently as belonging to the “second half of the 17th century”. Early-to-middle baroque then, until we play and compare and at this point things look slightly different.

Camphuysen’s is actually a significantly-improved version of “Daphne” by Giles Farnaby, from the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book (FWV) vol.I no.5 in the Fuller Maitland and Barclay Squire edition: this is a late-Renaissance piece that has been dated dated c1610.
It is apparent that both Camphuysen and Farnaby wrote variations on a 16th-century tune.

Today I played again Camphuysen’s lovely Daphne, with all its ornament signs, musica ficta, shifting continuously between b flat and b natural, with the rhythms and counterpoint we find throughout the FWB. It fully follows all the archaisms already found in Farnaby’s piece. At this point, I would date Camphuysen’s Daphne to 1620 at the latest.

Just to confirm, I searched online found that Camphuysen is unlikely to have composed and written his MS c1650 or later, because actually he died in 1627!

I would like to hear comments from colleagues who have also played this piece.




This book previously unknown to me. Here is a page from Utrecht University about it:

There’s a digital version online there too.

Thanks Claudio!

Thanks Andrew! This is precisely one of the sources I viewed. The dating is obviously wrong: this is music from the second half of the SIXTEENTH century!

As the article cited by Andrew makes clear: “Although this name does neither refer to the composer nor to an owner, it was well chosen, because 21 of the 36 pieces are based on songs deriving from Camphuysen’s Stichtelycke Rymen, the most popular sacred song book of the seventeenth century in The Netherlands. No composers name, owner or date is mentioned in the manuscript; the reserved space on the engraved title page is left empty.”

The Rymen were published in 1624, hence the conclusion that the pieces based on tunes from the Rymen are post-1624.

I am no expert on 17th-century Dutch keyboard music, but I think any researcher would look at any undated, anonymous piece in this genre and ask 'Is it pre-Sweelinck, or post-Sweelinck?" (Or contemporary with Sweelinck.)

The anonymous Daphne variations seem to me to be post Sweelinck.

I think a mid-17th-century date is much more likely than a 16th-century date, on stylistic grounds as well as the context of being in a collection which depends so heavily on tunes first published in 1624.

Obviously this Camphuysen MS reflects a strand of Dutch keyboard playing, perhaps in a domestic context, which is independent of the ‘modern’ developments in keyboard writing in France. Change does not happen all at once to an entire country.

1 Like

Thanks for all this detail Douglas!
My comments still hold true: if Camphuysen wrote the MS, and he died in 1627, this cannot possibly be mid-17th century, even less so the “second half of the seventeenth century” date claimed in some websites.

… but there’s no evidence that he did and plenty that he did not. Claudio seems quite alone in suggesting that Camphuysen himself had anything to do with the manuscript beyond providing the source of many of the melodies.

In “Some Notes on the Camphuysen Manuscript”(1), Rudi A. Rasch compared the various editions of the Stichtelycke Rymen published throughout the 17th century and concluded that the MS was not compiled before 1670 based on the particular versions of the melodies that it contains. How late did Dutch scribes use the old virginalist ornament signs?

Regarding “Daphne”, Rasch remarks that it is “the most elaborate [piece] in the manuscript and of high musical quality”, which suggests to me that it was composed by someone other than whoever composed the rest of the pieces in the MS. It could well have been a much older piece beloved by the compiler. (Again, there’s no reason to think that the “someone other” was Camphuysen.) Leonhardt’s recording dates the piece to c.1640.


(1) Some Notes on the Camphuysen Manuscript
Rudi A. Rasch
Tijdschrift van de Vereniging voor Nederlandse Muziekgeschiedenis
Deel 23, No. 1 (1973), pp. 30-43 (14 pages)
Published By: Koninklijke Vereniging voor Nederlandse Muziekgeschiedenis (KVNM)
Tijdschrift van de Vereniging voor Nederlandse Muziekgeschiedenis
(viewable with a free JSTOR account)

1 Like

Thanks Gordon.
Perhaps “I am alone”, thanks for the remark, but if so I have been mislead by webpages, e.g. the one from the Utrech University:, which seem to suggest that Camphuysen was the author of the MS. With the new information provided, I fully accept that this cannot possibly be the case.

As for dating, the Univ. of Utrecth webpage suggests “second half of the 17th century”, which is hardly possible for this late-Renaissance/early-Baroque music. Elsewhere another Utrecht source suggests “c. 1652”.
I find that the “c1640” date suggested by Leonhardt appears most appropriate.

I was not aware of the Rasch study, which suggests that the date may be even earlier: if so, my initial comment (which was mainly about dating of the composition) was not quite off the mark.



Le 23/07/2021 12:45, Claudio Di Veroli via The Jackrail écrit :

Perhaps “I am alone”, thanks for the remark, but if so I have been
mislead by webpages, e.g. the one from the Utrech University
which seem to suggest that Camphuysen was the author of the MS. With
the new information provided, I fully accept that this cannot possibly
be the case.

I don’t see where the webpage you mention suggests that “Camphuysen was
the author of the MS”.

1 Like

Hi Claudio,

thanks for pointing us to this beautifully produced online facsimile, which downloads so easily. To be fair, it appears the Utrecht web page is referring to the dating of the manuscript and not of the music it contains: “the scribe has written on printed blank music paper from the Amsterdam publisher Paulus Matthijsz († 1684)”- Matthisz seems to have sold very attractive, good quality blank music manuscript booklets of which this is an example. It would be helpful to know when he first started selling these (though of course, a blank booklet might have been bought but not used for a while).

It is indeed very interesting that the scribe should still be collecting older English-style music in (let’s say) the later 17th century.

The main person who has worked on repertoire, source & dating of the ‘Camphuysen’ MS seems to be Rudolf Rasch, who has written several articles on the subject. See for example:

Rasch, Rudi A. “Some Notes on the Camphuysen Manuscript.” Tijdschrift Van De Vereniging Voor Nederlandse Muziekgeschiedenis, vol. 23, no. 1, 1973, pp. 30–43. [JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/938864. Accessed 23 July 2021.]

Summarizing some of its content: 1) Rasch considers the dating of Matthysz’ blank music manuscript booklets and decides “it seems that the production of music paper by Matthysz started at least in the 1650s”. He points out that such manuscript books or 1680s are also used in two early 18th-century MSS. The use of 6-line staffs in the Camphuysen MS is normal Dutch 17th-c. practice; there is a change in layout to 5-line staffs in one of the two early 18th-c. sources written on Matthysz paper.

  1. Rasch then goes on to conclude on the basis of repertoire that the Camphuysen MS was written down some time in the 1670s or 1680s, its contents derived from a 1669 (or later) edition (Rieuwertsz-Arentsz) of the Camphuysen melodies. The incipits of three psalm settings found in the MS were only published with melodies in 1669. This post-1669 dating, based on the inclusion of the expanded repertoire first found in the 1669 ed., puts it two decades later than that suggested by Curtis in his selective edition of the more attractive pieces: A.Curtis, Dutch Keyboard Music of the 16th and 17th Centuries (Amsterdam 1961; Monumenta Musica Neerlandica iii).

I see in the Dutch Wiki article on Paulus Matthysz https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paulus_Matthysz (based on Rasch’s research) that Matthysz married an Elisabeth van Pull, then an orphan, on 17 april 1640 in de Nieuwe Kerk (reformed church) in Amsterdam. Elisabeth’s dates were 1617/1618-1673. I think Elisabeth can’t be John Bull’s first daughter, who was born before 1617, but can’t help wondering if there is any connection? This may be easy to disprove for someone who knows about Antwerp genealogies.

Michael Shields

1 Like

With regards to the original Daphne tune and text, this is covered extensively in the excellent book “Jacob van Eyck’s Der fluyten lust-hof: (1644-c1655)” by Ruth van Baak Griffioen. (See pg 162.) The author has found evidence to show that:

– the text first appears as a broadside ballad in the Earle songbook (C1615-26)
– Curtis had already reported that part of the tune is in Valerius Otto’s Neue Paduanen (1611), which shows that it had travelled from England to the Continent by then
– the first Dutch translation of the text is in 1622, in the Friesche Lust-hof (which also has the tune)
– the tune appears in a ‘huge number’ of later Dutch songbooks, up until the late 18th century

The book I have consulted has chapter and verse, so to speak, on all the tunes in van Eyck’s collection. Very useful when you are writing programme notes, for harpsichordists as well as recorder players!