This is part 2 of our adventures at Hampton Court, a Tudor palace. I was very keen on hearing some period music while we were there. Some of the historical reenactments mentioned musicians so I was bound and determined to listen to something medieval. I wanted to go medieval on that bass. (Sorry, I couldn’t help).
Some context: Back in graduate school, I belonged to an instrumental guild for the Society of Creative Anachronism who like to recreate the better parts of the Medieval Ages and the Renaissance. We played various types of recorders (soprano down to a bass) and performed a variety of medieval and Renaissance music. I loved it; it was the best thing I did in grad school. And there is nothing like playing music while people dance. Seriously. Best feeling in the world. I only wish there was something easily accessible in Chicago so I could continue it.
So I went to the courtyard to learn that the Master of Ceremonies was facing a quandary. He had two sets of musicians to choose from but could not decide what was appropriate. Should he hire a gentle and melancholy lute player to resonate with the king’s illness or should he hire boisterous and happy musicians to remind the king of the good times? We were to help him make his choice. So we wandered into the apartments to a small hall behind the Great Hall. This had a wonderful gold and white ceiling, beautiful stained glass, and additional tapestries.
The lutist played a slow sweet tune and then a trio of musicians played a lively tune that they recently learned in Spain. I was so happy to hear this music! The audience voted to determine which musician(s) should become the new court musicians. The trio of musicians won. However, the head of security, I think it was Thomas Seymour, had some questions for the musicians. He was suspicious about the musicians’ travels across Europe and decided to arrest them for further questioning. Alas! So the lutist won out. It was all very delightful to watch!