Anne Boleyn is without doubt the most famous of Henry VIII’s six wives. She was brought up for a time under the guardianship of Margaret of Austria, who was patron to some of the most famous composers in all of Europe, and then in the French court before her return to England in 1522. It was in France 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 accused of adultery with no less than five men including her own brother, George, and lutenist Mark Smeaton.
Here Alamire explores the finest works in the Songbook by the greatest composers of the early 16th century, including Compère, Brumel, Mouton, and Josquin. Performances by Alamire are interspersed with French chansons and instrumental items for lute, harp and voice. The programme concludes with a most haunting setting of ‘O Deathe rock me asleep’, not from the Songbook but possibly linked to Anne’s fate while awaiting her execution in the Tower of London.
Alamire and Obsidian Records are most grateful to our Project Patron, Mrs Patricia Brown, for her generous financial support.
Vocal & Choral Recording of the Year 2015
Listen here to Dr David Skinners interview with Kirsty Lang on BBC Radio 4's Front Row programme - 4th September 2015
Read review piece by Alexandra Coghlan
View here to see David Skinner interviewed on the ITV New at 10, Septemer 14th 2015
Read review
Read The Telegraph's review piece by Ivan Hewett, Classical Music Critic
The Gardian review 5th October 2015
A piece by Elizabeth Davis, Classic FM, September 17th 2015
The Spy's Choirbook wins Gramophone award
Obsidian's Records release, The Spy's Choirbook has triumphed at the Gramophone Magazine Classical Music Awards 2015 winning the award for best Early Music disc.
Founder of Alamire, Dr David Skinner accepted the award at St John's, Smith Square, London during the evening September 17 2015