Anne Boleyn's Songbook: Alamire's next project confirmed
Anne Boleyn is famously the the most notorious of Henry VIII’s six wives. She was brought up in France and for a time was under the guardianship of Margaret of Austria, who was patron some of the most famous composers in all of Europe. It is here where the young Anne developed her keen musical tastes, and when a collection of her favourite works began to be assembled into what is now known as the Anne Boleyn Songbook (Royal College of Music, MS 1070). The book probably remained in her possession until her execution in 1536, when she was wrongfully accused by Henry’s council of adultery with no less than five men (one being her brother, George). Another of the accused was Mark Smeaton, her music tutor and lutenist, who may have had a hand in including some of the love songs in the book.
Here Alamire explores motets and chansons by the greatest composers of the early 16th century, including Compere, Mouton, Brumel, and Josquin. Performances by Alamire are interspersed with French chansons and instrumental items for lute and harp from the songbook. Also included in the programme is a haunting setting of ‘O death rock me asleep’, the text of which is thought by some to have been written by Anne while awaiting her fate in the Tower of London.
RECORDING IN ARUNDEL AND HEVER CASTLES, MAY 2015.
Alamire Press Office