A big thank you to composer and music producer Roberto Lorenz who has written this guest article for us today about his album, “Music for Anne Boleyn – Court music from her rise and reign”, which was released on 7th September 2020.

Over to Roberto…

Ever since my history teacher first mentioned her, I’ve been obsessed with Anne Boleyn, who, as he put it, “reached the highest peak and fell”. There’s something surreal about Anne’s rapid rise and fall – it’s like a tragic fairy tale and yet a perfect example for the always astonishing, always unpredictable reality of life. Anne Boleyn is one of those historical figures that become more mysterious the more we find out about them. We’ll never fully understand her complex personality, never hear her voice, never see how she moved and gestured, never even know her birthday. However, one direct connection to Anne has survived: the music of her lifetime.

Anne Boleyn lived in an exceptional time for music: the Medieval ages had just transitioned into a new era – the Renaissance – when a richer spectrum of chords and harmonies was developed, new instruments were invented and improved, and the musical notation was elaborated.

My album “Music for Anne Boleyn” includes popular court dances, ballads, and sacred pieces, mostly from Anne’s adult years. The motet “Congregati sunt” (composed by Phillippe Verdelot in 1527) is a striking example for the magic of polyphony, which reached its height in the 16th century. The dance “Tourdion” (first published by Pierre Attaingnant in 1530) was one of the most famous and most referred to evergreens of that time. The anonymous lament “My Lady Carey’s dompe” was probably dedicated to Anne’s sister Mary Boleyn whose husband William Carey died in 1528.

The album also presents four pieces penned by Henry VIII himself. One of the British Library’s treasures is a historical musical collection known as the “Henry VIII songbook”, which includes several songs and instrumental pieces written by “the Kynge H. VIII”. Since Henry was a passionate lute player, it’s tempting to imagine him performing his compositions for Anne during his courting efforts. Who knows for whom he wrote his wistful ballad “If love now reigned” …

The album “Music for Anne Boleyn – Court music from her rise and reign” is available to download and stream in all stores. Here’s a link to the album on Spotify – https://open.spotify.com/album/3YKraczfW4CDMcUz89Ndfy…

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7 thoughts on “Music for Anne Boleyn – Court music from her rise and reign”
  1. Thank you Claire for making us aware of this and thank you Mr. Lorenz for your work in producing this. As soon as I read Claire’s post I sought out the album and just finished listening to it. Wonderful compositions. It rally sets the tone for the Tudor Court. The choral pieces are so beautiful and really latch on to your soul. The piece ‘Departure is My Chief Sorrow’ is so very sad, but quite lovely.
    The piece that really stands out for me is ‘Lady Carey’s Dampe’ which sounds so very modern. I grew up in the 60’s and as I was listening to it I could imagine Linda Ronstadt, when she was with the Stone Ponies singing to it and it would not sound out of place.
    I have had little exposure to music from this period and very much enjoyed it. Again, thank you.

      1. Thank you for your support, Michael! Unfortunately, none of Henry’s compositions have been dated. An examination of the “Henry VIII songbook” has shown that it was probably compiled around 1518. So we can assume that he wrote these pieces in his youth and/or early years as a king.

  2. Thank you, Mr Lorenz for this beautiful collection of sixteenth century music from the time of Anne Boleyn and from the Court of Henry Viii and this free link so we can appreciate this wonderful music. King Henry’s Galliard was featured in Anne of 1000 Days. It’s an uplifting piece. Then there are the soulful pieces for the lute, hauntingly moving. There is also Death Rock Me Asleep dedicated to the memory of Anne at the time of her fateful execution. Many thanks.

    Thanks also Claire for hosting this article and work of Mr Lorenz.

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