Personalities | Henry VIII | Renaissance | Classical

King of England and composer

From his coronation in 1509 until his death in 1547 Henry VIII led his country in a permanent split from the Catholic church, and he depleted the savings accumulated by his parsimonious father in a series of wars he lost against France. On the brighter side, he was a generous patron of music. An avid amateur performer, he seems to have been something of a composer as well. A manuscript known as ‘Henry VIII’s Book’ contains some 37 songs and instrumental works ascribed to the king, the best and most famous being the jolly song ‘Pastyme with Good Company’.

Recommended Recording:
All Goodly Sports: the Complete Music of Henry VIII, Sirinu (Chandos)

Sounds Familiar

‘Greensleeves’ is perhaps the best-known Renaissance tune in English-speaking countries, and it is often incorrectly thought to have been composed by Henry VIII. Like many myths, it has its basis in truth: Henry was an enthusiastic musician who wrote several pieces.

Introduction | Renaissance | Classical
Personalities | Heinrich Isaac | Renaissance | Classical


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