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The brand new CD by Foundation Musick's Monument entitled 'Saskia Uylenburgh & Rembrandt Gedenck-clanck' is now available www.musicksmonument.nl
Rembrandt and Saskia carry you to the turbulent times of the 17th century, an era of religious conflicts, deep social divisions, intense poverty and enormous wealth, repression, slave-trade, desire for freedom and journeys of discovery, during which the well-to-do citizenry, who had the time and the money to engage in art and music, gathered at fixed dates throughout the year, to dance, to sing, to play, to converse, and to arrange marriages.
It was the kind of environment Saskia Uylenburgh, a Frisian mayor's daughter, grew up in. Her father, the jurist Rombertus Uylenburgh, got his doctorate in the Calvinistical Heidelberg. As a Protestant he rapidly progressed up the political career ladder and eventually he even rose to a position in the States General. In all likelihood, as it was customary at the time for girls of her class, Saskia attended a French school, where, among other things, she learned to play instruments such as the lute, the harpsichord, or the virginal.
Saskia's father sojourned in Contra-Remonstrant circles. Of one Saskia's elder sisters married the theologian Johannes Maccovius (1588-1644), who was involved in the synod of Dordt (1618-1619). After the passing away of his wife, Saskia moved in with him to take care of their children. Her brother-in-law Johannes Sylvius (1564-1638), a clergyman of the 'fourteen great churches' in Amsterdam, also played a major role in Saskia's life. Sylvius assisted her in a legal suit about an inheritance and represented her at the civil wedding in Amsterdam, when Saskia still resided in Franeker; Rembrandt and Saskia and this couple were very close friends.
An important source of information about the music that was played during that period is a lute book compiled by the also Contra-Remonstrant preacher Adriaen Smout (1578/79-1646). Apart from being a theologian, he was also a huge music lover who collected songs and owned an enormous music library. The music from his lute book is the guiding principle of this CD. Residential music as it sounded at the time, as it was heard by Rembrandt and Saskia, and which undoubtedly inspired them. He, the great artist, and she, his muse, the major force behind the beginning of his career.