Wolf Hall : The Tudor Music
The soundtrack to BBC/PBS television series Wolf Hall brings King Henry VIII’s court to life with dances and songs from the early 16thC—some of which were composed by the monarch himself. Filmed in the great historic houses in England, the series features specialist period musicians playing live on set. All the Tudor Music for the production has been carefully sourced and arranged by Claire van Kampen, and recorded with the Musicians of Shakespeare’s Globe at the famous Abbey Road Studios, London, England.
A note from the composer, Claire van Kampen
Before principal photography began on the BBC/PBS TV series of Wolf Hall, its director Peter Kosminsky asked me to source and arrange all the Tudor music for the production to accompany Debbie Wiseman’s modern score.
With the aesthetic of this very uniquely researched work for television in mind, Peter felt it especially important to not only record our specialist Early Music players, but to go to the considerable extra expense of filming them playing live.
This extra investment has resulted in an entirely new audience for music and instruments of the early Tudor period, as well as giving this series of Wolf Hall a great sense of organic authenticity.
Filmed in candlelight, in some of the most beautiful historical great houses in England, we brought Henry VIII’s court to life with dances and songs, some of which were written by the monarch himself.
The music follows the story of the rise of two people: Thomas Cromwell, who rose from the lowly position of a Blacksmith’s son to become the King’s chief minister; and the woman Henry made Queen, then only to condemn her to death: Anne Boleyn. It is a story of dancing and of love, of ceremony, and finally, of tragedy.
Henry VIII, a man of deeply religious conviction, was also renowned for his physical prowess in hunting, jousting, and dancing. He probably sang well, and was musically highly educated, leaving a legacy of his own songs and compositions. His invitation to the musicians of France, Venice and the low Countries to bring their talents to the English courts resulted in the flowering of the English Golden Age of music, under his—and Anne Boleyn’s—daughter, Queen Elizabeth 1st. This created a tremendous diversity of material—a taste of which we were able to represent on Wolf Hall.