: Her Portrait, Her Life, Her Music
The forgotten figure of a 17th-century Dutch recorder virtuoso, illuminated by a unique synthesis of art history, scholarship and modern musicianship.
Der Fluyten Lust-hof (The Recorder's Pleasure Garden, or Garden of Delights) is a famous collection of music for recorder composed by Jacob van Eyck and published in Amsterdam by Paulus Matthijsz. The same Matthijsz published a parallel recorder edition in 1644 that he dedicated to a certain Adriana vanden Bergh: Der goden fluit-hemel (The Gods’ Recorder Heaven). Her identity remained obscure for centuries, until the musicologist Thiemo Wind discovered that she was portrayed as the muse Euterpe by the painter Jacob Backer, an illustrious contemporary of Rembrandt.
In his dedication, Matthijsz compared Adriana to the muse Euterpe in a four-line poem: ‘Euterpe’s spirit was reborn, or so it did appear, / Whene’er the sound of ADRIANA’s Fluyt I chanced to hear: / A wonder of our century, that such a youthful lass / Wears in the name of all the maidens laurels on Parnas.’
Who was Adriana vanden Bergh? This book and album tells the full and fascinating story, shedding light along the way on many aspects of culture, religion and everyday life in Amsterdam during the 17th century. As both a musicologist and art historian, Thiemo Wind is uniquely placed to tell this story. He has identified Adriana as the subject of a famous painting by Jacob Adriaensz Backer (1608/09–1651), hitherto anonymous but considered one of the most beautiful portraits of the Dutch Golden Age.
Through original research, Thiemo Wind has assembled an eventful biography, which moves in short and lively chapters, each of them illustrated with a telling image, from Adriana’s family background to her birth in 1631, her complex religious inheritance of both Protestant and Catholic observance, her apparently rapid mastery of the recorder, her participation in Amsterdam’s lively performing culture and her status as a musical celebrity even as a teenager, to her marriage in 1650, which probably occasioned the commission of Backer’s portrait. Thereafter the story turns darker, with a tale of bankruptcy, child-birth and -death, family splits and reconciliations, obscurity and ultimately Adriana’s death in 1668, having given birth to her ninth child.
The accompanying album takes its cue from Der goden fluit-hemel, and from the music publications featured in Backer’s portrait, to present new recordings of music with which Adriana would have delighted audiences in her time. There are tunes and hymns adapted by Van Eyck, an air by Matthijsz, sonata movements by Dutch and Italian masters such as Sweelinck, Rossi, Merula and Uccellini, and more besides. Performed by the internationally renowned virtuoso Erik Bosgraaf, in company with his ensemble Cordevento, the recording complements Thiemo Wind’s scholarship to present Adriana’s life and music in the round.
Recorder & Artistic direction | Erik Bosgraaf
Violin | Anna Dmitrieva
Recorder | Wei Hung
Baroque & Renaissance guitar | Izhar Elias
Viola da gamba, Cello | Robert Smith
Theorbo | Liza Solovey
Harpsichord | Alessandro Pianu