A gift for King Henry VIII, one of the greatest patrons of Renaissance music

Music for King Henry - Royal Choirbook

Antwerp (Flanders) — 1516

Music for King Henry - Royal Choirbook

Music for King Henry - Royal Choirbook

Antwerp (Flanders) — 1516

  1. A gift from an Antwerp merchant named Petrus de Opitiis and his son Benedictus to Henry VIII (1491–1547)

  2. The manuscript is adorned with gorgeous paintings with an unmitigated connection to Henry VIII's life

  3. Six of the songs were composed for the King, one of the greatest musical patrons of Renaissance Europe

Music for King Henry - Royal Choirbook

Music for King Henry - Royal Choirbook

“S” Initial – Madonna and Child

With a serene look on her face, the Virgin Mary holds a red rose between her thumb and index finger as the baby Jesus reaches out for it. They are surrounded by a light blue aura interrupting the letter, which is created with leafy embellishments. Using five-line staves, the musical notation of a motet dedicated to the Virgin by Benedictus de Opitiis is surprisingly modern with the notes indicating both melody and rhythm – a testament to the advanced state of 16th century English music.

Music for King Henry - Royal Choirbook

Alternative Titles:
  • Magister Sampson, Benedictus de Opitiis and others, Motets
  • Musik für Heinrich VIII. - Königliches Chorbuch
Music for King Henry - Royal Choirbook – Royal MS 11 E XI – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Music for King Henry - Royal Choirbook – Royal MS 11 E XI – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Music for King Henry - Royal Choirbook – Royal MS 11 E XI – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Music for King Henry - Royal Choirbook – Royal MS 11 E XI – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Music for King Henry - Royal Choirbook – Royal MS 11 E XI – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Music for King Henry - Royal Choirbook – Royal MS 11 E XI – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Music for King Henry - Royal Choirbook – Royal MS 11 E XI – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Music for King Henry - Royal Choirbook – Royal MS 11 E XI – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Music for King Henry - Royal Choirbook – Royal MS 11 E XI – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Music for King Henry - Royal Choirbook – Royal MS 11 E XI – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Music for King Henry - Royal Choirbook – Royal MS 11 E XI – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Music for King Henry - Royal Choirbook – Royal MS 11 E XI – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Music for King Henry - Royal Choirbook – Royal MS 11 E XI – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Music for King Henry - Royal Choirbook – Royal MS 11 E XI – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Music for King Henry - Royal Choirbook – Royal MS 11 E XI – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Music for King Henry - Royal Choirbook – Royal MS 11 E XI – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Music for King Henry - Royal Choirbook – Royal MS 11 E XI – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Music for King Henry - Royal Choirbook – Royal MS 11 E XI – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Music for King Henry - Royal Choirbook – Royal MS 11 E XI – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Music for King Henry - Royal Choirbook – Royal MS 11 E XI – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Music for King Henry - Royal Choirbook – Royal MS 11 E XI – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Music for King Henry - Royal Choirbook – Royal MS 11 E XI – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Music for King Henry - Royal Choirbook – Royal MS 11 E XI – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Music for King Henry - Royal Choirbook – Royal MS 11 E XI – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Music for King Henry - Royal Choirbook – Royal MS 11 E XI – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Music for King Henry - Royal Choirbook – Royal MS 11 E XI – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Music for King Henry - Royal Choirbook – Royal MS 11 E XI – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Music for King Henry - Royal Choirbook – Royal MS 11 E XI – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
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  1. Short Description
  2. Codicology

Short Description

The English King Henry VIII was known as a great lover of music. A wonderful manuscript offers a glimpse into this passion of the King’s and into his biography and personality: the so-called Royal Choirbook. This manuscript was a gift from an Antwerp merchant named Petrus de Opitiis and his son Benedictus to Henry VIII. It contained six Latin motets, which were expressly composed for the King. Additionally, the manuscript is adorned with gorgeous paintings, which produce an unmitigated connection to Henry VIII, his family, and his life. A unique testimonial to the great musical tradition of England, which Henry VIII co-founded!

Music for King Henry - Royal Choirbook

The English King Henry VIII was known as a great lover of music. A wonderful manuscript offers a glimpse into this passion of the King’s and into his biography and personality: the so-called Royal Choirbook. This manuscript was a gift from an Antwerp merchant named Petrus de Opitiis and his son Benedictus to Henry VIII. It contained six Latin motets, which were expressly composed for the King. Additionally, the manuscript is adorned with gorgeous paintings, which produce an unmitigated connection to Henry VIII, his family, and his life. A unique testimonial to the great musical tradition of England, which Henry VIII co-founded!

The Musical King

Henry VIII (1491–1547), famous King of England, was a great lover of music. Henry played the harp passionately and enthusiastically composed pieces of music. Additionally, he was one of the greatest patrons of the musical arts in Europe of his time, he had 58 court musicians appointed. His fascination with music inspired him to found a great musical tradition in England. This Royal Choirbook, which was gifted to him, directly conveys this love of music.

A Personal Gift for the King

The manuscript with the shelf mark MS 11 E XI of the British Library in London originated in Flemish Antwerp in 1516 at the behest of Petrus de Opitiis. This Antwerp merchant probably wanted to make his son Benedictus, a gifted organist, known to the King or to thank the King for a favor done for Benedictus. The Royal Choirbook contains six wonderful Latin motets. These pieces for a choir – works by Benedictus de Opitiis and a composer named Sampson, who probably came from the Netherlands according to the latest research – was specifically composed for the King and whose contents also have an unmitigated connection to the circumstances of his life. This gift was presented in 1518.

Red Roses and Fine Gold

These musical pieces are also illustrated in a magnificently artistic manner on 36 pages of parchment measuring 49.5 x 34.5 cm. The gorgeously heraldic décor with qualitatively outstanding miniatures makes the Royal Choirbook of Henry VIII an exceptional book! Among other decorations, a gorgeous frontispiece adorns the manuscript: three roses – one red, the red of Lancaster, a red-white rose as symbol of the unification of the houses of York and Lancaster, and a crowned rose as a symbol for the King Henry himself – adorn the page and a pomegranate tree symbolizes Henry’s spouse Catherine of Aragon. The red roses are found distributed throughout the entire manuscript and thus celebrate the Tudor dynasty, which is praised in the songs and honored in the miniatures!

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Magister Sampson, Benedictus de Opitiis and others, Motets
Musik für Heinrich VIII. - Königliches Chorbuch
Size / Format
36 pages / 49.5 x 34.5 cm
Date
1516
Genre
Language
Artist / School
Previous Owners
Music for King Henry - Royal Choirbook

Music for King Henry - Royal Choirbook

The Tudor Rose

This allegorical miniature is found at the beginning of the songbook and is dense with symbolism. The walled garden represents peace and the Tudor Rose is a symbol of the reconciliation between the House of York (white rose) and House of Lancaster (Red rose), whose dynastic rivalry was at the root of the Wars of the Roses.

Other flowers represent members of the royal family: daises and marigolds for his sisters Margaret and Mary, a pomegranate bush for his wife Catherine of Aragon. Surrounded by water, this garden is the Kingdom of England, as indicated by flags with St. George’s cross as well as the escutcheons of the King and Queen. Flanked by a dragon and a greyhound, a lion guards the gateway, which is inscribed with Salve Felix Anglia.

1 available facsimile edition(s) of „Music for King Henry - Royal Choirbook“

Music for King Henry - Royal Choirbook
Music for King Henry - Royal Choirbook – Royal MS 11 E XI – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Music for King Henry - Royal Choirbook – Royal MS 11 E XI – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Music for King Henry - Royal Choirbook – Royal MS 11 E XI – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Music for King Henry - Royal Choirbook – Royal MS 11 E XI – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Music for King Henry - Royal Choirbook – Royal MS 11 E XI – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Music for King Henry - Royal Choirbook – Royal MS 11 E XI – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Music for King Henry - Royal Choirbook – Royal MS 11 E XI – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Music for King Henry - Royal Choirbook – Royal MS 11 E XI – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Music for King Henry - Royal Choirbook – Royal MS 11 E XI – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Music for King Henry - Royal Choirbook – Royal MS 11 E XI – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Music for King Henry - Royal Choirbook – Royal MS 11 E XI – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Music for King Henry - Royal Choirbook – Royal MS 11 E XI – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Music for King Henry - Royal Choirbook – Royal MS 11 E XI – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Music for King Henry - Royal Choirbook – Royal MS 11 E XI – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Music for King Henry - Royal Choirbook – Royal MS 11 E XI – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Music for King Henry - Royal Choirbook – Royal MS 11 E XI – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Music for King Henry - Royal Choirbook – Royal MS 11 E XI – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Music for King Henry - Royal Choirbook – Royal MS 11 E XI – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Music for King Henry - Royal Choirbook – Royal MS 11 E XI – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Music for King Henry - Royal Choirbook – Royal MS 11 E XI – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Music for King Henry - Royal Choirbook – Royal MS 11 E XI – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Music for King Henry - Royal Choirbook – Royal MS 11 E XI – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Music for King Henry - Royal Choirbook – Royal MS 11 E XI – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Music for King Henry - Royal Choirbook – Royal MS 11 E XI – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Music for King Henry - Royal Choirbook – Royal MS 11 E XI – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Music for King Henry - Royal Choirbook – Royal MS 11 E XI – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Music for King Henry - Royal Choirbook – Royal MS 11 E XI – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Music for King Henry - Royal Choirbook – Royal MS 11 E XI – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
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Music for King Henry - Royal Choirbook

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
The Folio Society – London, 2009
Limited Edition
500 copies
Binding
Quarter-bound in buckram with vegetable parchment. Sides blocked in gold and coloured foils. Edge-gilding on all sides. Presented in a slipcase blocked in gold.
Commentary
1 volume (120 pages) by Nicolas Bell
More Information
With CD recording by the “Alamire Consort” directed by Dr. David Skinner.
Price Category: € (under 1,000€)
Edition available
Price: Login here!
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