Katherine Butler examines music making at the court of Elizabeth I. Courtly music was generally viewed as a thing for the young and in the case of the queen was a useful political tool integral to her marriage negotiations, foreign diplomacy and to the continued operation of her court. Nobles would vie for position through the production of such performances forging a ‘politics of intimacy’, as David Starkey has noted. Elizabeth too would perform. Indeed, unusually (and to some extent scandalously) Elizabeth continued to make music well into her 60s.
Butler argues here that musical performances in the form of lute or virginal productions carried out in private chambers or in the form of more public displays shaped courtly identity and influence and acted as a carefully staged enactment to express grievances, intent, and personality at court. Butler gives various examples ranging from Lord Darley, Walter Raleigh, and Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex.
Tomorrow I will look a little more at Elizabeth I’s enactment of music with Sir Walter Ralaigh.