Anne Boleyn’s Songbook

Sep15,2015

Anne Boleyn songbookYou may already have seen this on the news, so apologies for sharing it again, but for those who haven’t heard, some compositions from a book known as “Anne Boleyn’s Songbook” have been performed and recorded by the Alamire Choir.

The book, which is manuscript 1070 in the collection of the Royal College of Music, is described by the RCM as “an early 16th-century choir book containing 39 Latin motets and 3 French chansons by Franco-Flemish composers. Evidence suggests that it was prepared for Anne Boleyn.”

However, opinion is divided over whether it was prepared for Anne, whether it was actually prepared initially for Marguerite d’Angoulême and passed on to Anne, or whether Anne did in fact compose some of the music herself. Whatever the truth of the matter, the book is definitely linked to Anne Boleyn because her name can be found in the book and one composition depicts a falcon, used by Anne as her badge, pecking at a pomegranate, the badge of Catherine of Aragon.

You can see a video of a news report, which includes the Alamire Choir performing the music, at www.itv.com/news/2015-09-14/music-from-anne-boleyns-songbook-performed-for-first-time-in-500-years/

Here’s a promotional video of Anne Boleyn’s Songbook from the Alamire Choir:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UBlUlId85ss

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7 thoughts on “Anne Boleyn’s Songbook”
  1. Suzannah Lipscomb tweeted about his last night so luckily I caught it. Both the report and Suzannah’s contribution were very interesting

  2. I saw it on the news last night, and I could just imagine Anne in her chamber with her ladies and Smeaton maybe singing and Anne singing to and maybe playing on her lute.

  3. What wonderful music. Even if it was not performed by Anne, composed by Anne, it seems it has her personality and soul all over it. That she owned this beautiful collection and may have written or had this music for her pleasure is exciting. Anne loved music and was reputed to be a fine musician herself. How extraordinary that it has been hidden for so long and now we can share in music that Anne heard, may have had written in her honour, at the time of her death, for her pleasure, of could have even composed herself. The manuscript is beautiful and a tangible link to Anne. Is there a CD of the music?

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