March/April 2022 sees the release of ‘K of A’ by Geoff Proudley. A musical portrait of the life of Katharine of Aragon, Henry VIII’s Spanish Queen. K of A is an instrumental album, drawing on orchestral, classical, filmic and rock elements to paint some of the key moments and emotions in Katharine’s life.
As Geoff describes ‘It’s been a three-year labour of love. Starting with an original mysterious Spanish theme that came to me when I was reading about Katharine, I gradually started to write more, fleshing out episodes and moments of her life. I suppose it was a bit like writing for plays and getting inside the characters, what she was feeling and then painting musical pictures of events in her life’. It’s something I find I can do. It usually comes through in what I write, through my subconscious. For this album I think I wrote about 70% of the themes and main frameworks of the pieces in one weekend of piano improvisation. Again, thinking about the events in her life and capturing everything I played into Logic. Then going back and listening to what I had. I often write that way and I find it really productive.’
Geoff plans to release the album on CD at the end of March/early April with a 60 page booklet in a nice presentation package.
It will be available through his website: geoffproudley.co.uk and digital streaming platforms later on.
Why the Tudors and why Katharine?
“Well, I know they’ve been done to death (literally!). But it’s still fascinating five hundred years later. I mean you couldn’t write it could you? It’s easy to be appalled by the brutality of people and their thinking. But these people thought completely differently to us. Everyone was intensely religious. Kings and Queens had real power and the survival of their dynasties was a matter of life and death lest they be usurped by someone with an equally tenuous claim to the throne!
But I know what you might be thinking. Didn’t Rick Wakeman do Henry’s six wives back in the seventies? Well yes, but that was an album about all his wives. A whistle-stop tour of the matrimonial set. This is purely about Katharine and follows her life from leaving Spain as a teenager to marry Prince Arthur, through her subsequent widowhood and betrothal to Prince Henry. Then her coronation when Henry ascended to the throne and life as queen consort and then queen regent (when Henry was at war with France). It moves on through her fall from grace, her cruel banishment and divorce after failing to provide a male heir, the split with the Catholic church of Rome and her eventual death while under effective house arrest in 1536. It’s been a really interesting project. I learned a lot about her. I empathised with her plight too having been through a divorce myself. That might sound pretentious, but those sorts of emotions resonate through history. They are as real today as five centuries ago”.