Classic Dutch: The 17th Century

This entry is part of the series Classic Dutch
Dirk Hals – Musicians, 1623, Collection of the Hermitage Museum (© Wikimedia Commons)


“Classic Dutch” is a panorama of classical music composed or performed in the Netherlands through the centuries. Most of the music in this series was selected from among the huge wealth of recordings made by Radio Netherlands’ own Music Department. In each programme presenter Hélène Michaud speaks with a guest conductor, composer or music performer.

In the Netherlands, the 1600’s marked a Golden Age of painting, and there was plenty of music too, but no Golden Age of composition. The Dutch Republic had no monarch or church prelates to compose for, and there was even talk of banning organ music in some Protestant churches. But the repertoire became more democratic. Jacob van Eyck, the “father of recorder players” also helped to develop the carillion, and the brilliant statesman, poet and intellectual Constantijn Huygens found time to compose music too. The greatest musician of his age, Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck, became known as the Orpheus of Amsterdam. Studio guest is musicologist and music critic Thiemo Wind.

Produced and presented by Hélène Michaud

Original broadcast: December 14, 2002

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