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Title: Facsimile of the Anne Boleyn Music Book
Contributor(s): Stoessel, Jason  (author)orcid 
Publication Date: 2019-06
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Abstract: Facsimile with introduction by Thomas Schmidt, David Skinner, with Katja Airaksinen-Monier. (DIAMM facsimiles, 6.) Oxford: DIAMM Publications, 2017. [Pref., p. ii; introd., p. 1–32; bibliog., p. 33–36; appendices, p. 37–54; 269 color plates. ISBN 978-1-907647-06-2 (hardback). £70.]
Manuscript 1070 of the Royal College of Music (hereinafter MS 1070) has had a colorful reception in modern musicology. Half a century ago, Edward Lowinsky ("MS 1070 of the Royal College of Music in London," Proceedings of the Royal Musical Association 96 [1969]: 1–28) proposed an elaborate narrative of court musician Mark Smeaton (ca. 1512–1536) copying MS 1070 for Anne Boleyn (ca. 1501–1536) in the last years of her life as the illfated second queen of King Henry VIII. Though Lowinsky's lively argument consisted of several threads, one particular sticking point was soon highlighted. Key to Lowinsky's hypothesis was an inscription hidden away on folio 79r that reads "M[ist]res[s] A. Bolleyne / Nowe thus" (followed by three minims and a held long). Granted that family names were often spelled variously in earlier times, the inscription seems to refer to an untitled but respectable Boleyn woman still using her family motto. Crucially, if the woman in question were indeed Anne Boleyn, the title of "mistress" would have been inappropriate after her father Thomas was raised to an earldom in late 1529, certainly after Anne herself became Marchioness of Pembroke in 1532 and finally Queen of England in 1533. Yet what first name does the initial "A" stand for? Most scholars, including Skinner in the present volume (p. 5), have been quick to rule out other Boleyn women such as Alice Clere (1487–1538, married 1506), Anne Shelton (ca. 1475–1556, married 1503) and Amata (Amy) Calthorpe (ca. 1485–1543, married 1518)–to use their husbands' surnames–as candidates. Skinner does not mention Amy Calthorpe, sometimes called Jane, first cousin of Anne Boleyn, and governess of the musically gifted Mary Tudor from 1521. Certainly to refer to these women by the title of "Lady" would have been a customary courtesy after their marriage to knights of the realm. The dates of 1503, 1506, or even 1518 are not outside the range of possibility given that the motets that accompany the inscription can be dated back to the last two decades of the fifteenth century. Instead, most scholars have resolutely assumed that the inscription refers to Anne Boleyn even when challenging Lowinsky's thesis. This includes the more recent dissertation of Lisa Urkevich ("Anne Boleyn, A Music Book, and the Northern Renaissance Courts: Music Manuscript 1070 of the Royal College of Music, London" [PhD diss., University of Maryland, 1997]). Urkevich proposes that the manuscript was commenced at the court of France earlier in the century and was gifted, possibly by Marguerite of Navarre, to the young Anne Boleyn before she returned to England in 1522. Still, none of this explains why the inscription is tucked away in the oldest part of the manuscript. Until the incontrovertible evidence emerges that the inscription in MS 1070 must indeed refer to "Anne Boleyn" and no other Boleyn woman, students of this manuscript would be wise to refrain from referring to it as "The Anne Boleyn Music Book."
Publication Type: Review
Source of Publication: Notes, 75(4), p. 697-701
Publisher: Music Library Association
Place of Publication: United States of America
ISSN: 0027-4380
Field of Research (FOR): 190409 Musicology and Ethnomusicology
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO): 950101 Music
HERDC Category Description: D3 Review of Single Work
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Appears in Collections:Review
School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences

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