"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 It consists of relevant articles from the internet plus some original, and formerly unpublished material.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 rem?de 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 ? 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.
By Phil Hebblethwaite Monday 28th November 2016/BBC Radio 3 As Radio 3 re-run episodes of their landmark 1970s music series for children, Pied Piper, we remember its presenter - early music specialist David Munrow
What's the best way to inspire children to take an interest in music, and is there any value in doing so? If there is, what kind of music is best?
Those kinds of questions have dogged parents and scientists for decades, each new study providing different answers. Does listening to Mozart really boost your brainpower? asked BBC Future in 2013 in response to a widely misunderstood report from 1993, which didn't actually declare that there was a "Mozart effect" - the idea that infants will become cleverer if they're exposed to classical music. In fact, just about any kind of music is good for children of all ages to listen to, and a much broader 2006 study suggested pop (Blur!) was just as effecti…
I have been having a look on the Genome site on the BBC which lists past programmes of all kinds. As my search words I have used Noah Greenberg, and Michael Morrow. Both these chaps were great pioneers in the propogation of Early Music to the public. However, David Munrow seems to have won hands down.....as the amount of public recordings completely outstrips them...
It should be stressed though that in the case of Noah Greenberg who mainly worked in the US that there may be more substantial listings of his public recording productions at specific American media outlets of the 1950s, and early 1960s.
PS Also, Thomas Binkley has only two pages on the BBC Genome. This is revealed in the following link
The following is taken from an article on the internet. It is largely an interview with Ken Barnes, and the Roundtable. Clear references are made to Munrow...
There is also reference to Arthur Johnson who was the producer of Pied Piper
The Roundtable - Ken Barnes Interview
For our latest Licorice Soul release in conjunction with www.blaxploitation.com , we are proud to present something a little off the beaten track; LSD004 features a re-working of Laura Nyro's 'Eli's Comin' and the Ken Moule original 'Saturday Gigue', a sprightly pair of tracks extracted from the extremely curious and increasingly difficult to locate 'Spinning Wheel' album by a mysterious group of musicians named The Roundtable. It's a faultlessly charming blend of funky brass, Hammond and rhythm twinned with the unlikely bedfellow of medieval instrumentation supplied by David Munrow and Christopher Hogwood. These two fellows earned much …