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Published: 22 July 2013

By Andy Ross

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English Choral Music

The art and craft of English Choral music is showcased in a BBC series by David Starkey, Music and Monarchy.

Beautiful singing has long been a tradition in English courts and churches, and this programme illustrates its long history, including all the twists and turns that have created and recreated the unmistakable sounds. This programme is centred around the two kings, Henry V and Henry VIII, both composers and musicians whose wonderfully sumptuous books and illustrated songs show how important music was at the time in the court and church.

My favourite part in the programme is the illustration of improvisation. A choir master would sing a known melodic line and a chorister would improvise around the melody. It is beautifully sung here.