Almost at the top of the Christmas music charts this year here in Britain is a coral rendition of Dulcissima virgo Maria (Most Sweet Virgin Mary) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-29693410 .
From the British Library
It was given by the Bavarian composer, Almire, to Henry VIII, along with the choir book, a manuscript that was highly valued then and is still one of the great treasures of the British library.
It sounds like a beautiful work of peace and love and salvation, haunted with the hopes of a new-born Saviour.
One small difficulty is that it is shot through with perfidy. Almire was a spy. No, worse. He was a double agent, trusted by the courts of Henry VIII and by his Yorkist rival bent on taking the English throne on which Henry VIII sat. No doubt Almire thought he would win no matter who the king was.
Perhaps he was right. He does not seem to have been identified during his life time. Richard de la Pole died in 1525 before he could invade England in partnership with the king of France, Francis I.
It’s beautiful music, though.
PS: I have just read a blog post describing Rothstein’s research on the disenfranchisement of Blacks from the property market from which so many of us middle class whites have profited so richly, which I mentioned in my previous post. The blog’s author, like me, didn’t know it was happening, but on looking back, now sees events in quite a different perspective. It’s an easy read – and worth it. Hands up! Why We All Can’t Breathe