MUSIC of Henry VIIIThis is a featured page

The Music of King Henry VIII

King Henry & Will Somers
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Henry VIII was a true renaissance prince.
He was educated in the classics, and spoke and
wrote several languages fluently,
including the prerequisite Latin.

He studied philosophy, and religion and often had
heated debates with the learned thinkers of the age.

He was an athlete and he was skilled in the arts of war.
He wrote prose and poetry.
But his real passion was always MUSIC.

It is said that he owned:
10 trombones, 14 trumpets, 5 bagpipes, 76 recorders and 78 flutes.

  • Henry VIII: Mind of a Tyrant soundtrack The new David Starkey Channel 4 series, Henry VIII: The Mind of a Tyrant features a score by Philip Sheppard. The complete soundtrack for the series draws upon melodies and lyrics written by Henry himself, as well as works by his contemporaries. It can be heard at the link as free stream. Click the play buttons to hear the tracks.
Henry playing Greensleeves
In season 1 of The Tudors, King Henry VIII is shown playing the song 'Greensleeves', however this is likely an inaccuracy as this song is probably Elizabethan in origin and is based on an Italian style of composition that did not reach England until after Henry's death

'Pastyme in Good Company'
was written by Henry VIII himself and his most famous composition
Original lyrics:

Pastyme with good companye
I love and shall untyll I dye;
Grugge who lust, but noon denye;
So god be plecyd, thus leve woll I;
For my pastaunce
Hunte, syng and daunce'
My hert ys sett
All godely sport
For my cumfort:
Who shall me lett?

Yowth must have sum dalyaunce,
Of good or yll some pastaunce;
Companye my thynckyth then best
All throftes and fancys to digest.
For idelnes
Ys cheff mastres
Of vices all;
Than who can say
But myrth and play
Ys best of all?

Cumpany with honeste
Ys vertu, vices to flee;
Cumpany ys gode and yll
But every man hath hys frewyll
The best insew.
The worst eschew
My mynde shall be
Vertu to use
Vyce to reffuse
Thus shall I use me.
Lyrics in modern English:

Pastime with good company
I love and shall unto I die.
Grudge whoso will, but none deny,
So God be pleased, this live will I.
For my pastance
Hunt, sing, and dance.
My heart is set
All goodly sport
To my comfort.
Who shall me let?

Youth will have needs dalliance,
Of good or ill some pastance.
Company me thinketh then best
All thoftes and fantasies to digest.
For idleness
Is chief mistress
Of vices all.
Than who can say
But "pass the day"
Is best of all?

Company with honesty
Is virtue, and vice to flee.
Company is good or ill
But every man hath his free will.
The best ensue,
The worst eschew,
My mind shall be.
Virtue to use,
Vice to refuse,
I shall use me.

King Henry's greatest hit is still performed 500 years later and below are several modern renditions:

Original Release of Past Time With Good Company by Blackmore's Night.
Also a version by Jethro Tull. It's a montage of pictures and both bands playing in concert.

performed by Ensemble D.E.U.M. (Dany, Ezio, Umba, Martie) members of "Coro Thomas Tallis di Arduino Pertile"

Live performance by Lucidian at the Mobile Renaissance Faire November 2007

"Pastime with good company" enregistrée sur le DVD "Echos de l'Harmonie Reflets de Harnes" ( copyright Harmonie de Harnes-Orpheus Studios 2005 )

Prophets of the perfect fifth
נביאי הקווינטה
Contra-Tenor: David Feldman
Tenor: Eitan Drori
Bass: Elam Rotem
Drum: Joel Sivan

Blackmore's night

Jethro Tull at a concert in 2007

Reading Phoenix Choir, February 2002, Henley-on-Thames

Fiona e Lisa play Pastime With good company.
Dvd Lichtbilder (2004).

Daniel Pearl Music Day, Maagan Michael October 24,2008

Performed by the Animando Ensemble

Péter Lévai - crumhorn
Anna Nagyné Bartha - viola da gamba
Mária Békey - viola da gamba
Dávid Budai - viola da gamba
Ildikó Nagy - percussion


Stone Angel = 1975 self-titled album. http://psychedelicfolk.home...

VIII. Henrik - Pastime with good company Videó: Kis Attila Visegrád palotajátékok 2009.07.12.

'Green groweth the holly' & others

Performed by Sirinu. "All Goodly Sports: Complete Music of Henry VIII."
Grene growith the holy,
So doth the ive,
Thow wynter blastys blow never so hye,
Grene growith the holy.

As the holy grouth grene
And never chaungyth hew,
So I am, ever hath bene,
Unto my lady trew.

Grene growith the holy, etc.

As the holy grouth grene
With ive all alone
When flowerys cannot be sene,
And grenewode levys be gone.

Grene growith the holy, etc.

Now unto my lady
Promyse to her I make,
Frome all other only
To her I me betake.

Grene growith the holy, etc.

Adew, myne owne lady,
Adew, my specyall,
Who hath my hart trewly,
Be suere, and ever shall

Performed by Sirinu. "All Goodly Sports: Complete Music of Henry VIII."

Alas, what shall I do for love?
For love, alasse, what shall I do,
Syth now so kynd
I do you fynde
To kepe yow me unto?

Performed by Sirinu. "All Goodly Sports: Complete Music of Henry VIII."
Thow that men do call it dotage,
Who lovyth not wantith corage.

And whosever may love gete,
Frome Venus sure he must it frett;

Or elles from her which is her hayre;
And she to hym most seme most fayre.

Wyth ee and mynd doth both agre,
There is no bote; ther must it be.

The ee doth loke and represent;
But mynd afformyth with full consent.

Thus am I fyxed withowt gruge,
Myne ey with hart doth me so juge.

Love maynteynyth all noble courage;
Who love dysdaynyth ys all of the village.

Soch lovers though thay take payne
It were pete thay shuld optayne;

For often tymes wher they do sewe
Thay hynder lovers that wolde be trew.

For whoso lovith shuld love butt oone;
Chaunge who so wyll, I wyll be none.


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