Main content
Sorry, this episode is not currently available

Crown and Choir

Dr David Starkey reveals how the story of British music was shaped by its monarchy, beginning with kings who were also composers, Henry V and Henry VIII.

Dr David Starkey reveals how the story of British music was shaped by its monarchy. In this first episode he begins with kings who were also composers - Henry V and Henry VIII - and the golden age of English music they presided over. He discovers how the military and religious ambitions of England's monarchy made its music the envy of Europe - and then brought it to the brink of destruction - and why British music still owes a huge debt to Queen Elizabeth I.

Featuring specially recorded music performances from King's College Cambridge, Canterbury Cathedral and Eton College, and early music ensemble Alamire, and the music of Thomas Tallis, William Byrd, John Dunstable and John Dowland.

Dr Starkey reveals why Henry V took a choir with him to the Battle of Agincourt, and hears the music the king wrote to keep God on-side in his crusade against the French - rarely performed in the centuries since, and now sung by the choir at Canterbury Cathedral. He visits Eton College, founded by Henry VI, where today's choristers sing from a hand-illuminated choir book which would have been used by their 16th-century predecessors, King's College, Cambridge, built by successive generations of monarchs and still world-famous for its choir, and the Chapel Royal at Hampton Court Palace, where Henry VIII and Elizabeth I heard works created especially for their worship by some of the greatest composers in British history.

1 hour

Last on

Mon 25 Jun 2018 01:00

More episodes

Previous

You are at the first episode

See all episodes from David Starkey's Music and Monarchy

Music Played

Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes

  • George Frideric Handel

    Messiah - Hallelujah Chorus

    Performer: Choir of Westminster Abbey. Conductor: James OʼDonnell.
  • William Walton

    Belshazzar's Feast - Crown Imperial

    Performer: Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Andrew Litton.
    • LONDON 448 134.
  • Anon.

    Agincourt Carol

    Performer: Alamire.
  • Henry V

    Gloria

    Performer: The Choir of Canterbury Cathedral. Conductor: David Flood.
  • John Dunstable

    Preco Preheminencie

    Performer: The Choir of Canterbury Cathedral. Conductor: David Flood.
  • Henry V

    Sanctus

    Performer: The Choir of Canterbury Cathedral. Conductor: David Flood.
  • Walter Lambe

    Nesciens Mater

    Performer: Eton College Boys Choir. Conductor: Tim Johnson.
  • John Browne

    O Maria Salvatoris

    Performer: Choir of King’s College, Cambridge. Conductor: Stephen Cleobury.
  • King Henry VIII of England

    Pastime with Good Company

    Performer: Alamire. Conductor: David Skinner.
  • Anon. & The Band of the Lifeguards

    Traditional Trumpet Fanfares

  • King Henry VIII of England

    Helas Madame

    Performer: Fretwork. Performer: William Lyons. Performer: David Miller.
  • Robert Fayrfax

    Lauda vivi alpha

    Performer: Alamire. Performer: Eton College Boys Choir. Conductor: David Skinner.
  • King Henry VIII of England

    O my Heart

    Performer: Clare Wilkinson. Performer: Andrew Lawrence‐King.
  • Robert Wylkynson

    Jesus autem transiens

    Performer: Choir of King’s College, Cambridge. Conductor: Stephen Cleobury.
  • Anon.

    Pipe and tabor - Dansa (Ben volgra s'esser poges)

    Performer: Early Music Consort of London.
  • Thomas Tallis

    Ave dei patris filia

    Performer: Alamire. Performer: Eton College Choir trebles. Conductor: David Skinner.
  • Thomas Tallis

    If ye love me

    Performer: Alamire. Conductor: David Skinner.
  • William Byrd

    Sing joyfully

    Performer: Choir of King’s College, Cambridge. Conductor: Stephen Cleobury.
  • King Henry VIII of England

    O my Heart

    Performer: Clare Wilkinson. Performer: Andrew Lawrence‐King.
  • Kethe, William 

    Old Hundredth

  • William Byrd

    The Great Service - Magnificat

    Performer: Choir of King’s College, Cambridge. Conductor: Stephen Cleobury.
  • John Dowland

    Say, Love, if ever thou didst find

    Performer: Grace Davidson. Performer: David Miller.
  • John Dowland

    Lachrimae Antiquae from Lachrimae

    Performer: Fretwork.
  • William Byrd

    O Lord, make thy servant Elizabeth

Credits

Role Contributor
Presenter David Starkey
Producer Peter Sweasey
Director Peter Sweasey
Executive Producer Nicholas Kent

Broadcasts

Featured in...

Extended Performances

Extended Performances

Watch full excerpts of some of the musical pieces featured in the series.