Anne Boleyn is famously the the most notorious of Henry VIII’s six wives. She was brought up in France and for a time was under the guardianship of Margaret of Austria, who was patron of some of the most famous composers in all of Europe. It is here 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. The book probably remained in her possession until her execution in 1536, when she was accused by Henry’s council of adultery with no less than five men. Another of the accused was Mark Smeaton, her music tutor and lutenist, who may have had a hand in including some of the love songs in the book.
In the third and final workshop of our 2014-15 season, revered musicologist David Skinner (Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge; Alamire) introduces us to works found in the manuscript. Around the same time, Alamire will be recording these works for their next CD release, scheduled for September. This follows on from the success of The Spy's Choirbook, which was covered by the national press. You are advised to book your place in advance as our last three workshops have all sold out.