Alamire: composer, scribe, musician, spy?

Bavarian composer Petrus Alamire was a man of many talents including, possibly, a spy. Last year, his choral work, composed for Henry VIII, came in at number 2 on the classical music charts with an album by the choral group Alamire. (photos)

"The musicians would have heard much more information than a lot of other courtiers," said Dr Nicolas Bell, curator of music collections at the British Library about Petrus Alamire's unique position. "There weren't many statesmen who would be regularly in the king's court, at his entertainments after dinner, so they enjoyed a particular sort of intimacy that even senior civil servants wouldn't have had."

In addition to his skills at composing and spying, Alamire created "gorgeous," illustrated choir books in his scriptorium, an example of which is included in the article.