King Henry the Eighth (1491-1547)
Henry the Eighth was the King of England from 1509 until his death in 1547. Henry was a tyrant and he killed many people during his reign.
The King was trained in music from a young age and he loved music and poetry. King Henry the Eighth played and composed music. There are 34 compositions by Henry the Eighth that survive. Two of his most famous compositions are “Helas Madam” (a song in French), and “Pastyme with Good Company”.
“Helas Madam” is a folk song that is attributed to Henry the Eighth. Here is a recording of the song performed by a singer with a lute and a group of other instruments.
“Pastyme with Good Company” is a favourite of choral groups and has been recorded by various ensembles with instruments such as recorders, lutes, hurdy-gurdies, shawms, percussion instruments, and flutes. Here is a recording done by a group called the King’s Singers.