|THE LIFE AND TIMES|
OF QUEEN MARY
Saturday 9 February 2013
Following their baroque extravaganza, 'An evening of Handel' with special guest, countertenor James Bowman, in October last year, the Counterpoint Choir are back with another sensational selection of the music for which they are so rightly famous - English Renaissance.
The Counterpoint concert at Buckfast Abbey will include choral music from Mary's lifetime:
From her childhood:
Heinrich Isaac 1445-c.1517
1503: Virgo prudentissima For Emperor Maximilian I William Cornysh 1465-1523 1505: “Ave Maria, Mater dei” The Eton Choirbook 1518: “Ah Robyn, gentle Robyn” Henry VIII’s Songbook From her father's newly created 'Church of England':
|Christobal de Morales|
Christobal de Morales 1500-1553 1539: “Peccantem me quotidie” (I sin every day) Officium Defunctorum for Empress Isabella of
and Holy Roman Emperor Charles V (parents of Philip II of Portugal ) From her reign as Queen of England and Ireland: Spain
Jacobus Clemens non Papa 1510-1555 1550: “Ego flos campi” (I am the flower of the field) for the Marian Brotherhood at 's-Hertogenbosch
Hernando Franco 1532-1585 Christus factus est (Christ is born) Thomas Tallis c.1505-1585 Loquebantur variis linguis (They spoke in many tongues) INTERVAL Nicholas Gombert 1495-1556 Lugebat David Absalon (David Mourned for Absalon) Robert Parsons 1530-1571 Ave Maria (Hail Mary) Robert Whyte 1538-1574
coeli (Queen of Heaven) Regina
John Taverner 1490-1545 O Jesu Christe, pastor bone (O Jesus Christ, Good Shepherd) Votive Antiphon) Thomas Tallis c.1505-1585 O sacrum convivium (O sacred banquet) Francisco Guerrero 1528-1599 O Domine Jesu Christe (Lord Jesus Christ) John Sheppard c.1515-1558 In pace, in idipsum (together, in peace)
A lifetime in music - an what a life it was!
Mary was born in 1516. For the first 18 years of her life, the English Church was part of the Roman Catholic Church. Her father, Henry VIII, was head of the church, and loyal to successive Popes, Leo X, Adrian VI and Clement VII in Rome.
When Mary was 16, Anne became pregnant with Henry's child and Henry and Anne were married the following year. Mary's half-sister Elizabeth was born in September when Mary was 17. Henry's marriage to Mary's mother was annulled by Archbishop Cranmer the following May, three months after Mary's 18th birthday . In defiance of Clement VII and Catherine's nephew, the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, Henry passed the Act of Supremacy making himself the supreme head of the Catholic Church in England.
A Young Woman: 1530s
At that time Henry's chief minister, Thomas Cromwell Earl of Essex, initiated the 'Visitation of the Monasteries' to assess their value in preparation for confiscation by the King. Anne had opposed the proposed redistribution of property, and so made a very dangerous enemy. Henry appointed Thomas to gather evidence against Anne with a view to having her deposed and executed.
|Jean Rombaud executes Anne Boleyn|
The following autumn, Jane Seymour gave birth to the male heir that Henry had wanted for so long, but she died shortly afterwards. The 21 year old Mary was made Edward's godmother, and chief mourner at her second step-mother's funeral.
Despite pressures for protestant reform, Henry's church had remained Catholic, even though it was independent of Rome. In 1539, five years after the act of supremacy, Henry passed the 'Act of the Six Articles' which made it a capital offence to question or defy six of the basic Catholic beliefs. The beliefs chosen were precisely those rejected by the Protestant church - so that actively professing Protestant belief now carried a death sentence. Archbishop Cranmer kept his family abroad for safety, and Bishop Latimer, amongst others, fled the country.
By the time Henry died, Edward, Elizabeth and Mary had had three further step-mothers. Henry's marriage to Anne of Cleves had been annulled. Thomas Cromwell, who had arranged the marriage, had been executed without trial. (His great-great-great nephew, Oliver Cromwell, would later become Lord Protector of the Commonwealth.) Catherine Howard, like her cousin Anne Boleyn, was executed for adultery - less than two years after marrying Henry. Catherine's body was buried alongside Anne at the Royal Chapel of St Peter in Chains at the Tower of London.
Within a year of Henry's death, Katherine married for a fourth time - to Jane Seymour's younger brother Thomas. Mary went to live at the Seymour's family home, Sudeley Castle in Gloucestershire, with Princess Elizabeth and also Henry's niece, Lady Jane Grey. Shortly afterwards, Katherine became pregnant for the first time. During the pregnancy Thomas directed his sexual attention towards Elizabeth, whom he had previously hoped to marry, and she had to sent away from her step-mother's home, although Katherine and Elizabeth were very fond of each other.
The powerful position of 'Lord Protector of the Realm' had gone to Jane Seymour's older brother Edward, the Earl of Hartford - who then became Duke of Somerset. It was he who had Thomas executed for scheming to control the young King, and for proposing marriage to Edward's cousin, Lady Jane Grey..
Edward repealed the 'Act of the Six Articles' and oversaw six years of Protestant reformation of the Church of England.
Edward died of a chest infection when he was only 15. Mary was 37 and impatient to take over power and reverse Edward's policies. Edward changed his will just before he died, to make Henry VIII's 17 year old Protestant niece, Lady Jane Grey, his successor. Jane was never crowned Queen. Mary raised forces in East Anglia and Lady Jane took refuge in the Tower of London, which became her prison. In the face of Mary's popular support, the Privy Council pronounced Mary Queen.
|Lady Jane Grey|
Jane's father and brothers joined a Protestant rebellion in a vain attempt to prevent this. The failure of this rebellion led to their execution, and the execution of Lady Jane and her husband, Lord Guildford. Princess Elizabeth, despite her insistence that she had not been involved in the rebellion, was imprisoned indefinitely in the Tower.
Royal Marriage: 1550s
|Philip II of Spain|
Mary was soon diagnosed to be pregnant and, as the time for the birth approached, Elizabeth was released to attend her half-sister's confinement. Philip had been made Regent in case Mary died in childbirth, and was planning to propose marriage to Elizabeth in the event of Mary's death.
The royal physicians had been mistaken, however. Mary had not been pregnant and there was no baby. The process was repeated again three years later, again without any baby being born. Philip did not become regent and Elizabeth remained heir to the throne. Mary died the following year, aged 42. Her 25 year old half-sister Elizabeth became Queen of England and Ireland.
Mary reigned for just five years. During that time she reversed the changes to the church in England made by her father and half-brother. Archbishop Cranmer and others were imprisoned. Edwards religious laws were abolished and Mary brought back Henry's 'Act of the Six Articles' from 1539, which made it a capital offence to deny, as protestants did, that bread and wine became flesh and blood during the mass. Celibacy was also made compulsory for priests, meaning that married priests lost their positions.
|Thomas Cranmer is burned|
Mary also set out to consolidate the authority she had inherited from her father in Ireland. She initiated a policy of 'plantation' of English settlers in the Irish midlands, creating two new counties for the King and Queen of England (which now form the Dáil Éireann constituency of Laois-Offaly). The regally named administrative centres were 'Maryborough' and 'Philipstown' (now Port Laoise and Daingean).
|Henry II of France|
Mary's reign ended in way that would seem familiar to us today. Several years of continuous rain led to crop failures and famine. Philip, despite being King of England and Ireland, would not allow England to share in the benefits of Spain's new world trade. In the autumn of 1558, while Philip was in Brussels, Mary died of influenza and Princess Elizabeth became Queen.
A fascinating and terrible life.
Sunday 9 February 7.30pm
THE LIVE AND TIMES OF
QUEEN MARY I (1516-1558)
director of music: David Acres
choral music by:
William Cornysh Heinrich Isaac
Nicholas Gombert Christobal de Morales
Jacobus Clemens non Papa Roger Parsons
Robert Whyte Rodrigo de Ceballos
Thomas Tallis Francisco Guerrero
Hernando Franco John Sheppard
Tickets: £10 (advance £8)
from David Acres: 01392 490398