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Harmonia Time Capsule: 1599

1599 the supposed year in which William Shakespeare wrote “Julius Caesar.” Although the play was published over two decades later, a contemporary diary account mentions a performance in September of 1599.

In other English news, Oliver Cromwell was born on April 25th. He is infamously remembered as a military and political leader who had a hand in turning England into a republican Commonwealth.

Another auspicious birth took place in June of 1599. Spanish painter Diego Velázquez was born in Seville. Even though he’s usually referred to by a first and last name, the full version is actually Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez. He was a leading Spanish painter during the 17th Century who was employed at the Spanish court of King Philip IV. One of Velázquez’ most memorable works is a depiction of courtiers entitled La Meninas, or The Maids of Honor.

In music news, two Italian composers passed away in 1599—Luca Marenzio and Cristofano Malvezzi. Both men are remembered for their exquisite madrigals.

Other music news saw the publication of composer Thomas Morley’s “First Booke of Consort Lessons” for the uniquely English ensemble which comprised of two viols, flute, lute, cittern, and bandora.

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