Henry VIII in the mix

July 16 2012


Random post alert. Following on the discussion below about kings and art, the same reader writes to remind me of Henry VIII's undoubted musical ear, and to warn that:

You might get strict musos complaining that Henry VIII didn't write Greensleeves. The only evidence is the folk attribution and the belief it refers to Anne Boleyn. I tend to prefer traditional attributions where they make sense. But in any case here's Pastime With Good Company, 1519, which Henry definitely wrote, played with proper vigour by the Swiss Army.

Me too on the traditional attributions - tho' I've always wondered whether Henry VIII actually composed the music attributed to him, or hummed something, perhaps on his close stool, which was then embellished by a court musician. The video above is unintentionally hilarious - I yield to no man in my love of all things Swiss, for I am half-Swiss - but 16th Century music and army bands don't mix, especially not Swiss ones. It sounds like a bubbling Tudor fondue. Here's a better choral version.

Update: my mother writes to say that tho' I have a Swiss passport, I am in fact only a quarter Swiss.

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