A shared vision results in a superb sheen and finish to the Hamer Singers' sound.
Divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived. The ancient rhyme, of course, recalls the fates of the six wives of King Henry VIII. But a popular misconception still bedevils the reputation of the last of them. Queen Katherine Parr is often depicted as the sober, middle-aged widow whose soft lap and quiet demeanour eased the final years of an obese, syphilitic despot – an autocrat positively Trump-like in his irascible unpredictability. In fact, the real Katherine couldn’t be more different. A writer and theologian with an occasionally bawdy wit and an instinct to make peace, not war, Henry’s final spouse survived by being a shrewd political operator. And now a bit of musical detective work by musicologist and conductor Dr David Skinner reveals her to be a royal propagandist of the first order thanks to a previously unsuspected collaboration with Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer and the composer Thomas Tallis. Katherine Parr (1512 – 1548), attributed to William Scrots. Skinner’s intriguing research throws new light on all four protagonists – Henry (who almost certainly never had syphilis), Katherine (just 31 years of age when she married the King), Cranmer and Tallis – in ways that are exciting historians in many different fields.