A pioneering recording offers a fascinating window into the musical world of Henry VIII’s controversial second wife.


Anne Boleyn’s Songbook
Music and Passions of a Tudor Queen
Alamire/David Skinner
Obsidian Records CD715 (2CD)


As a maid of honour to Margaret of Austria, the young Anne Boleyn would have been exposed to a wide variety of musical styles, as well as being given ample opportunity to develop her own musical talents. All the more intriguing then, is a rare music book kept in London’s Royal College of Music that bears her name. It contains a remarkable 42 works by a variety of composers popular at the time. Some were clearly destined for domestic or devotional settings, while others are grander, liturgical works.

David Skinner and his splendid vocal consort, Alamire, offer a generous sampling of the book’s diverse contents. What is immediately noticeable is the group’s sonorous, rich, even tone which is used to great effect in...