Posted by Ken on April 30, 1998 at 08:04:47:
In response to Greensleeves, written by Marie-Bernadette on April 29, 1998 at 13:36:54
] Henry VIII not only played, but composed!I
] It is hard to believe but Henry VIII wrote the music and words to 'Greensleeves'! I cannot comprehend how someone who had some of his wives beheaded could write such lovely music.
Well, it's hard to believe because he didn't do it, actually. The melody is just another of the umpteen realizations of the passamezzo antico bass. (Pachelbel's Canon of the next century is another.) The lyrics I'm not sure of, but I am fairly sure Henry didn't do them either--chalk up another for our old friend Anonymous. "Pastime in Good Company" is usually credited to Henry, but I believe there's some doubt. He also apparently did a setting of "Tandernacken", which was a fairly well-known late 14th century piece. There are some others we're reasonably certain Henry did.
It wouldn't have been that unusual, actually. Check out Castiglione's The Courtier for contemporaneous suggestions on what the well-bred gentleman should be able to accomplish. And remember that Henry started his reign attempting to be what we would later call the quintessential Renaissance monarch. It's true his wives fared poorly, but that's mostly because Henry got all the dynastic stuff mixed up in his head & couldn't think straight about it.
- Greensleeves and Henry VII... Helen 10:19:08 5/01/98 (2)
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