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Greensleeves (pour flute et guitare)

Greensleeves (pour flute et guitare)

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“Greensleeves” is a traditional English folk song and tune, over a ground either of the form called a romanesca. A broadside ballad by this name was registered at the London Stationer’s Company in September 1580.

There is a persistent belief that Greensleeves was composed by Henry VIII for his lover and future queen consort Anne Boleyn. Boleyn allegedly rejected King Henry’s attempts to seduce her, and this rejection may be referred to in the song when the writer’s love “cast me off discourteously”. However, the piece is based on an Italian style of composition that did not reach England until after Henry’s death, making it more likely Elizabethan in origin.

One possible interpretation of the lyrics is that Lady Green Sleeves was a promiscuous young woman and perhaps a prostitute. At the time, the word “green” had sexual connotations, most notably in the phrase “a green gown”, a reference to the grass stains on a woman’s dress from engaging in sexual intercourse outdoors.

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