Especially produced for the Queen's Golden Jubilee year, this superb history also brings to mind Queen Elizabeth's 400th death anniversary in 2003. Although the history written by Jenkins is occasionally rather over the top, the amount of information written and consumed is pretty much indispensable and very interesting indeed.
One learns of the intricacies and court proceedings going on in those bloody and violent years, the succession of Henry VIII takes up almost all of the first tape. It is also apparent that Jenkins is absolutely enamoured of the old queen and attributes a little too many virtues to her munificent and almost bloody reign, although she admittedly brought much needed stability to the wily, deprecating, vile court members who populated social circles like some odious sort of cancer.
The final years are somewhat sketchily observed and the burning questions regarding Ireland, the Spanish invasion and other military matters are conspicuously passed over in favour of all that ridiculous balderdash that went on in the inner private circles of the queen's office. This is obviously a mere supposition, and by no means correct, though historical evidence does seem to provide some proper evidence for her adulation.
The music chosen for the recording is perfectly atmospheric, the works of Farnaby, Byrd and Dowland, a magnificent artistic testament of that 40 year reign. One could argue that she was the greatest monarch Britain ever produced and if you listen to Karen Archer waxing lyrical about her you would be inclined to believe that!
Copyright © 2002 by Gerald Fenech.