Little is known of van Eyck, other than that he held the post of carillonneur at Utrecht Cathedral in the Netherlands in 1624, and in 1648, two years after the publication of Der Fluyten Lust-hof (The Flute's Pleasure Garden), was given a raise of 50 guilders by the town council because "he delighted the strollers in the [cathedral] cemetery with the sound of his little flute."
The original edition of 150 pieces was published in two parts; its title page of which gives the contents as comprising "psalms, pavanes, Allemands, courantes, ballets, airs, etc.,...artistically presented with figurations and variations." Written for a solo instrument, the work contains, in addition to the aforementioned types, free variations of a more virtuoso character, such as an "Echo Fantasia" and six modal variations on "Enels Nachtegaltje" (The Nightingale). There are no indications of speed, phrasing, or ornamentation, but the simplicity and liveliness of these predominantly short pieces have survived the years to charm both professional and amateur players, and many selections have been edited and published in modern editions. Van Eyck's "little flute" was almost certainly a soprano recorder, and this is still the most appropriate instrument on which to play the pieces.
These innocent inventions contrast strikingly with the complex and serious works associated with the seventeenth century Netherlands school of composers, and the thought of this humble, talented functionary moving around the quiet churchyard "delighting the strollers," his music blending with bells of the carillon, is touching and evocative.