"David Munrow did not just emerge into the field of medieval and renaissance music......he exploded into it. He established a standard that can now never be ignored, and the stimulating shock-waves from his explosion will carry far into the future..." Sir Anthony Lewis, 1976. This is a tribute blog to a renowned broadcaster and musician. It consists of relevant "articles" from the internet plus some original, and formerly unpublished material.
Inspired by a Machaut Programme
Machaut seems a poet and a musician in equal measure, one of only a handful of figures to show equal mastery of these arts. I first heard his works attending a concert given by David Munrow in the seventies. It was a bleak winter day; the cold was bitter. And somehow the virelai music and poetry of Machaut seemed perfect and timeless. It had a somber bittersweet feeling to it. The music was haunting. On the surface it seemed simple and song-like, but listening to it again (and especially to a purely instrumental performance), the amazing geometric complexities of the works unfolded. Machaut regularly used a novel mirror approach in which a strophe proceeds A-B-C-D, and is then followed by a reversal, D-C-B-A. The effect is striking and introspective. The poetry follows courtly themes of his time, and the image of Douce dame jolie is a wonderful, easily approachable example. For our age, this will seem a simple love song. But to Machaut’s contemporaries it would have been understood to have the carefully constructed double sense of courtly love, a reference simultaneously to an affair of the heart and the adoration of the Virgin Mary. Machaut took religious orders and served in a number of ecclesiastical positions, most significantly as canon of the Cathedral of Rheims in Champagne. Still, much of Machaut’s writing takes the profane aspect to an extreme, as for instance in Le remède de Fortune, an extended poem with musical components, which tells the story of a courtly romance that proceeds suspiciously close to consummation. “All the songs that I composed I did in praise of her,” Machaut writes. And in another remarkable work, Voir dit, the narrative proceeds as a dialogue in letters between an aging Machaut and a young woman. (“Les lettres pris et les ouvry/mais à tous pas ne descouvry/le secret qui estoit dedens,/ains les lisoie entre mes dens”—“I seized and opened the letters, but the secret that lay within was not revealed to all, because I read them between my teeth.”) But the lyrical tradition in French poetry seems to start with him, and one of the greatest French poets of the next generation, Eustache Deschamps, was in fact his student.
Student thesis : Doctoral Thesis › Doctor of Philosophy/Blogger Ref http://www.youtube.Searle8 Edward George Breen Music This thesis focuses on the musical contribution of David Munrow and his Early Music Consort of London (EMC) to the so-called early music revival of the 1960s and 1970s. By exploring the notion of shared cultural space in performances of medieval music by leading ensembles of the time, this thesis seeks to isolate aspects of performance practice unique to the EMC. An assessment of literary sources documenting the early music revival reveals clear nodes of discussion around Munrow’s methods of presenting early music in concert performance which are frequently classified as ‘showmanship’ with a focus on more scholarly performance practice decisions only evident in the post-Munrow period. Close readings of these sources are undertaken which are, in turn, weighed against Munrow’s early biography to map out the web of influences contributing t
Thursday, January 15, 2009 If you have never seen the magnificent 1974 sci-fi/fantasy classic "Zardoz", for God's sake drop whatever you're doing and get thee to the nearest video store (or computer, if your a Netflix-er) and rent this shit! John Boorman (who also directed the classics "Excalibur" and "Deliverance") really hit a home run here, bringing us not only a giant floating head, post-apocalyptic barbarians, and a telepathic secret society living on a creepy commune, but the image of Sean Connery in a diaper (see example above). I'm trying to think of a sci-fi movie from the 70's that I dig more than "Zardoz", but so far I've got nothing. David Munrow's psychedelic soundtrack is a perfect fit for this hippie-dippy tale of futuristic intrigue, and although there is no official release of this score, I found a sweet bootleg on the good ol' internet, recorded straight from the film with dialogue and soun