Henry VIII – pastime with good company – coolinarism
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Henry VIII – pastime with good company

Henry VIII – pastime with good company

King Henry the VIII was to become proficient in many skills such as hunting, fencing, jousting, archery writing poetry, singing as well as learning to play several musical instruments. Henry developed a life-long love of listening to, performing and composing music. He built an extensive collection of musical instruments over the years including some 78 flutes, 76 recorders, 10 trombones, 14 trumpets, 5 bagpipes and many others! He was well respected as a competent musician and singer, doing much to actively encourage the very best musicians of the day to attend court.

Most fascinating is the King’s compositional output. He wrote a great deal of music although sadly some of which has been lost including many of his masses and ballads. A testament to his ability as a composer is the popularity with which some of his pieces enjoyed, spreading from his court, across the realm and into Europe. And not only in his lifetime. Some of his songs have passed through the generations and are still performed by early music ensembles today

Henry VIII Songbook
An extraordinary collection of his music is today kept at the British Library in London; the so-called Henry VIII’s Songbook. This book contains over 100 secular compositions by contemporary Tudor composers, 33 of which were written by the King himself. Beautifully notated and illuminated by one of his inner circle onto parchment, this manuscript gives us an amazing insight into the developing composer. Contained in this collection is Henry’s greatest success, a song written in 1509 shortly after his coronation entitled Pastime with Good Company. So popular was this catchy tune with its raucous lyrics, that it quickly spread through England becoming a national hit

image: – Songs written by Henry VIII c.1518

t-penned by coolka
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