1. Introduction 2. King David 3. Henry V 4. Henry VIII 5. Ivan The Terrible 6. Frederick The Great 7. Tsar Alexander II 8. Queen Salote of Tonga 9. King Bhumibol Adulyadej
A royal court – the ideal place for music-making. With generous financial support and appreciative audiences, composers and performers often flourish under royal patronage. In European royal palaces of the 17th and 18th centuries, the music staff could include a full orchestra, opera company and chapel choir, as well as soloists and composers. Some of the most important chapters in musical history have been initiated through royal patronage, such as French opera in the court of Louis XIV, or the German Classical style under Frederick the Great.
Members of royal families are often keen musicians themselves, singing and cultivating instrumental skills as part of a well-rounded education. And music by monarchs can prove very useful. When history comes to reassess a ruler better-known for military might or political cunning, music they have written can show us a gentler side, giving them a human face.
Composing monarchs rarely see it that way though....