Henry’s Music

Motets from a Royal Choirbook | Songs by Henry VIII

Andrew Lawrence-King
Directed by David Skinner

This recording, produced in conjunction with the various ‘Henry at 500’ celebrations held in 2009, contains music written for Henry and by Henry. Voices and instruments combine to offer a fitting tribute to England’s most musical king.

'Henry's Music' includes a world premiere recording of the contents of MS Royal 11.e.xi (a royal choirbook gifted to King Henry in 1516), which is to be produced in full-colour facsimile by the Folio Society, and tribute motets by Robert Fayrfax, Philippe Verdelot, and John Taverner. Alamire will be joined by the cornet and sackbutt ensemble QuintEssential and gothic harpist Andrew Lawerence-King.

CD of the MONTH, Classic FM Magazine
10/10 review, Classics Today


Track listing

1. O Christe Jesu, pastor bone (Taverner)
2. King's Pavan (Anonymous)
3. England be glad (Anonymous)
4. Consort XII (Henry VIII)
5. Madame d'amours (Henry VIII)
6. Tandernaken (Henry VIII)
7. Salve radix (Sampson?)
8. Psallite felices (Sampson)
9. Sub tuum presidium (de Optitiis)
10. Quam pulcra est (Sampson)
11. Hec est preclarum (Anonymous)
12. Beati omnes (Jacotin)
13. Consort XIII (Henry VIII)
14. O my heart (Henry VIII)
15. Helas Madame (Henry VIII)
16. Though some saith (Henry VIII)
17. Nil majus superi vident (Verdelot?)
18. Consort VIII (Henry VIII)
19. Adieu Madame (Henry VIII)
20. En vray amoure (Henry VIII)
21. Lauda vivi alpha et oo (Fayrfax)

In the press

“The freshness and sensitivity of Alamire distinguishes it from rival ensembles. David Skinner channels the singers' skill to create a stunning architecture out of complex and sometimes ungrateful polyphonic vocal lines.”
- BBC Music Magazine

“…a pleasing panorama of the optimistic, extrovert mood of the English court and its young ruler, before it all changed…”
- Gramophone Magazine

"[Alamire's] measured and dignified style is wholly in touch with such an approach, which values introspection over spectacle. Their style is tempered yet enthusiastic, careful yet invigorating ... it makes for a very satisfying listening experience."
- Classical Net

"They sing, marrying galvanizing spirit with impeccable tuning and blend ... Nothing but this music can transport you to the indescribable warmth that must have greeted the new King ... Awesome."
- Classic FM Magazine

“I can’t emphasize enough how much of the success of this recording is due to Alamire’s impeccably balanced, full-bodied, well-tuned sound, so expertly recorded in three different venues–and to the scholarship and clearly inspired direction of David Skinner. Don’t delay; you’ll love this!”
- Classics Today | 10/10 review

“The performances of the 12-voice mixed-gender adult choir Alamire (named for the compiler of the motet book) are among the best available in this repertory; the group conveys the quality of free fantasy, counterbalanced by complex abstraction, in the music and avoids the ponderousness that often turns large works like Fayrfax's concluding Lauda vivi alpha et o into undifferentiated blobs. All in all, a fine addition to English Renaissance collections.”
- All Music | 4.5 star review