Anne Boleyn's Songbook, Music & Passions of a Tudor Queen

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.
1. Tota pulchra es (Jean Mouton, c.1459-1522)
2. Venes regrets, venes tous (Anonymous)
3. Fer pietatis opem miseris mater (Anonymous)
4. Stabat mater dolorosa (Josquin Desprez, c.1450/55-1521)
5. Laudate Dominum omnes gentes (Anonymous)
6. Maria Magdalena et altera Maria (Anonymous)
7. Forte si dulci stigium boantem (Anonymous)
8. O virgo virginum (Anonymous)
9. Paranymphus salutat virginem (Loyset Compère, c.1445-1518)
10. Gentilz galans compaingnons (Anonymous)
11. Tempus meum est ut revertar (Antoine de Févin, c.1470-1511/12)
12. Que est ista (Antoine Brumel, c. 1460-1512/13)
13. Liber generationis (Josquin)
1. Jouyssance vous donneray (Claudin de Sermisy, c.1490-1562)
2. Popule meus quid feci tibi (Anonymous)
3. In illo tempore (Mouton)
4. Sicut lilium inter spinas (Brumel)
5. Praeter rerum seriem (Josquin)
6. O Deathe rock me asleep (Anonymous/attrib. Boleyn)
ALAMIRE, directed by David Skinner
Sopranos: Grace Davidson, Kirsty Hopkins
Altos: Carris Jones, Martha McLorian, Clare Wilkinson
Tenors: Ruiari Bowen, Guy Cutting, Steven Harrold, Ben Hymas, Nick Todd, Simon Wall
Baritones: Gregory Skidmore, Timothy Scott Whiteley
Basses: Tom Flint, William Gaunt, Robert Macdonald
Jacob Heringman, lute
Kirsty Whatley, harp
Vocal & Choral Recording of the Year 2015
Read review piece by Alexandra Coghlan
Read review
The Guardian review 5th October 2015
Listen to Dr David Skinners interview with Kirsty Lang on BBC Radio 4's Front Row programme - 4th September 2015
View here to see David Skinner interviewed on the ITV News at 10, Septemer 14th 2015
Read The Telegraph's review piece by Ivan Hewett, Classical Music Critic
A piece by Elizabeth Davis, Classic FM, September 17th 2015