Friday, 23 January 2015

Ritchie Blackmore, and the Munrow Connection


Legendary guitarist Ritchie Blackmore co-founded hard rock bands Deep Purple and Rainbow before making a dramatic switch in 1997 with the creation of Blackmore?s Night. Formed with his wife Candice Night, Blackmore?s Night is a Renaissance-influenced pop rock band. Fender News recently caught up with the esteemed guitarist ? Rolling Stone lists him as one of its ?100 greatest guitarists of all time? ? for the following Q&A?

FN: As a founding member of Deep Purple and Rainbow, it?s very interesting that you have also become so successful in a totally different genre. When did you first feel an inclination towards Renaissance-inspired music?
RB: I felt an inclination towards Renaissance inspired music ever since I heard the song ?Greensleeves? when I was 11 years old. And then again in 1972 when I heard David Munrow and the Early Music Consort of London. I would always listen to this music at home or in the hotels on the road. I was fascinated by the sound of woodwind music from that era...................

Ref Fender/2009.

The UMS Concert Program, 1974

UMS Concert Program, April 13, 1974: The Early Music Consort Of London -- David Munrow
Published In:
UMS Concert Programs, Season XCV (1973-1974)
Original Images:

Date: April 13, 1974
Get PDF: ums/programs_19740413e.pdf

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

The Young Tradition


Image Ref Amazon

The Young Tradition were a British folk group of the 1960s, formed by Peter Bellamy, Royston Wood and Heather Wood. They recorded three albums of mainly traditional British folk music, sung in arrangements for their three unaccompanied voices.


The Young Tradition was formed on 18 April 1965 by Peter Bellamy (8 September 1944 – 19 September 1991), Royston Wood (born 1935 died 8 April 1990) and Heather Wood (born Arielle Heather Wood, 31 March 1945, Attercliffe, Sheffield, Yorkshire) (who was unrelated to Royston Wood). Most of their repertoire was traditional British folk music, sung without instrumental accompaniment, and was drawn especially from the music of the Copper Family from Sussex, who had a strong oral musical tradition. They augmented the pure folk music with some composed songs which were strongly rooted in the English folk tradition, such as sea shanties written by Cyril Tawney, of which "Chicken on a Raft" was the most notable.
In the late 1960s, London became the centre of the English folk music revival and The Young Tradition moved there, sharing a house with John Renbourn, Bert Jansch and Anne Briggs.
They recorded three albums and an EP, on the Transatlantic Records label. They also collaborated with Shirley Collins on an album recorded in 1969 called The Holly Bears the Crown. A single of the Boar's Head Carol was released from these sessions in 1974 (by Argo Records), but owing in part to the band's 1969 break up, the full album was not released until 1995 (by Fledg'ling Records). Transatlantic also released a compilation record in 1969: The Young Tradition Sampler.
Their later work became more influenced by mediaeval music. "Galleries", their last album released during the life of the band, was musically augmented by Dolly Collins, Dave Swarbrick, David Munrow and The Early Music Consort. It included a version of Agincourt Carol.
In 1969, the group split up on account of their different musical preferences, with Bellamy wanting to pursue pure traditional music. Their final concert was at Cecil Sharp House, home of the English Folk Dance and Song Society, in October 1969.
Royston Wood & Heather Wood continued to work together after the split with Peter Bellamy in 1969, but they didn't record again until 1977 when they released No Relation, an album which included Peter Bellamy as guest singer on three tracks and also appearances by guitarists Pete Kirtley and Simon Nicol and bass guitarist Ashley Hutchings.
Royston Wood sang briefly with Swan Arcade and died after a car accident in 1990, and Peter Bellamy committed suicide in 1991. Heather Wood has lived in New York City since 1977.


  • The Young Tradition - 1965
  • So Cheerfully Round - 1966
  • Chicken on a Raft - 1968 (EP)
  • Galleries - 1969
  • The Young Tradition Sampler - 1969
  • Galleries Revisited - 1973 (Reissue of Galleries with additional sleevenotes by Heather Wood)
  • The Holly Bears the Crown - recorded 1969, released 1995
  • Royston Wood & Heather Wood - No Relation - 1977
  • Galleries/No Relation - 1997 (Reissue of Galleries and the EP with additional tracks by Royston & Heather Wood on a single CD)
  • The Young Tradition/So Cheerfully Round- 1999 (Reissue of first 2 albums on a single CD)
  • Oberlin 1968 - 2013 release of a live performance at Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio, USA on November 17, 1968. Fledg'ling FLED3094


  • Bob Copper, A Song for Every Season: 100 Years in the Life of a Sussex Farming Family, Heinemann, 1971. ISBN 0-434-14455-X

External links[edit]

The Genesis of the Early Music Shop

The Early Music Shop was run by Richard Wood, and the term "Early Music" in the title was originally suggested by David Munrow. It has played a vital, and pioneering role in the development of Early Music. Munrow himself was closely connected with it, especially in the recreation of "new" arcane instruments for his work.

The Old History and the Legacy
 Joe Wood 
Joe Wood, organist and choirmaster of St. Paul's in Huddersfield, started his business in 1850 with the name of 'J Wood Music' selling pianos, and later sheet music.  By 1861 he was manufacturing pianos and his business was later named ‘J Wood’s Pianoforte & Harmonium Depot’.
Around 1874, Joe took on his apprentice, and brother-in-law, Joshua Marshall as his partner and the shops were re-named ‘Wood & Marshall’.
In 1877 Wood extended his empire to Bradford, sending his son William to take over a music business already established there (d'Este's). In 1882 the shop in Huddersfield was moved to 39 New Street and re-named ‘Beethoven House’.
Joe died in 1884 and in 1885 Joshua Marshall was bought out of his partnership by Joe’s sons but they still used the ‘Wood & Marshall’ name together with ‘J Wood & Sons’. In 1886 another apprentice of Joe, John North, became a partner in the firm and the business became ‘J Wood & Sons & North’.
 Wood& Marshall piano 
North died aged 39 in 1891 and the name reverted back to ‘J Wood & Sons’ though quite often with ‘Late Wood & Marshall’ or ‘Joe Wood’s Sons & North’ printed underneath.
From 1886 Joshua Marshall opened his own shops in Huddersfield and surrounding districts (Joshua Marshall & Co) but in 1902 all the Marshall's shops reverted to the sole ownership of the Wood family and the business became a Limited Company in 1903, ‘J Wood & Sons Ltd’.
The business flourished all through the Victorian era and has sometimes expanded, sometimes contracted: at various times there have been shops in Halifax, Hull, Leeds and Skipton. It has also survived three fires, two in Bradford (1905 and 1977), and the other in Huddersfield (1964).
In recent years, the most significant developments have taken place in the firm's Bradford arm which, after receiving in 1962 a fairly large invitation to tender for the supply of musical instruments to the old West Riding Education Authority, and after visiting in the Frankfurt music fair the stand of Moeck and meeting Otto Steinkopf, one of the earliest pioneers in the reconstruction of early instruments, initiated its specialization to Early Music and started to operate in 1968 with the name 'The Early Music Shop' and a small selection of recorders and crumhorns.
In Germany, the Early Music revival movement had begun much earlier than in England and the small workshops of Moeck Verlag, Rainer Weber and Günther Körber produced most of the world's only available early instruments since the 50s. But the Early Music Shop created much interest from local amateur musicians in the Huddersfield area, for it was at this time that David Munrow and many of his pioneering contemporaries were generating so much enthusiasm for early music.
Supply still outstripped demand throughout the 1970s to the extend that 'J Wood & Sons Ltd.' began making their own instruments in a workshop in the firm's attic. Under the direction of Jonathan M. Askey, the attic became two floors of the shop, the catalogues became more comprehensive and the firm's clientele soon covered the entire globe, with agents in most countries of the world.
In 1995, the firm was demerged into two separate companies. The original J Wood & Sons Ltd operated in Bradford; the other in Huddersfield. In 1999, Richard Wood, the founder's great-great-grandson, sold separately the Bradford's showroom to G A Williams of Darlington and Newcastle that continued operating it as 'The Early Music Shop' and the workshops were sold to Jonathan M. Askey -who had managed the business since he joined the company back in 1972- and who continued to drive the workshop with a new name: 'The Renaissance Workshop Company Ltd'.
Located in the same building until 2004, having been in the past part of it, and sharing the same product catalogue, the Renaissance Workshop Company (RWC) grew under the shadow of the Early Music Shop (EMS) and not all the customers realised that the EMS, now owned by the Williams group, had become a mere dealer of RWC, the authentic soul of the J Wood & Sons Ltd. The confusion grew up because the Early Music Shop marketed the RWC products as if they were still made in their own workshop, that is, they continued offering the RWC production with the brand EMS. J Wood & Sons Ltd. finally ceased trading in 2008.
Now the RWC has recently re-established its workshops in a new premises in Spain and still maintains the company's headquarters and a commercial infrastructure located in West Yorkshire (UK).
At Renaissance Workshop Company we take our heritage very seriously and endeavour to provide the exceptional level of service that has become a standard in our long history.

Most of the information of this article has been obtained from the book 'Music Making in the west riding of Yorkshire', published by Richard H Wood and Adrian Smith in November 2000 and from the comments of Janette Hamilton (a great-great-grandchild of Joe Wood).

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Multiple Munrows play the Double Pipes.....




Source Ref

The Pentangle Connection

David Munrow, and his consort would appear to have done some work for the Pentangle group

PS. Internet reference to the following which needs to be explored further if I have the time, and energy.

Pentangle, The David Munrow Ensemble - Wondrous Love (LWT - Journey into Love 1971)

Gryphon: Blowing through the Ages

  ACKET... Rauschfeiffex... Shawn... Cornemuse . . . Hocket Hocket . . Crumhorn - what the hell are they? Some new kind of ice cream confection, or perhaps names or the conspirators against Hitler in the bomb plot?
        No, they are all early music wind instruments.
        Thanks to a number of musicians who have made them more and more popular in recent years, notably David Munrow and the medieval-style rock band, Gryphon, they have all been added to the repertoire of available sounds in pop in the past year or so.
        It was hearing early music played by John Renbourn on his "Sir Johnalotof" album, and two recorded broadcasts by David Munrow, that turned Gryphon multi-instrumentalist Richard Harvey back on to his first instrument the recorder, and then on to all the rest of them.
        "To get started on the recorder, you can use a tutor until you get the stage where you can think of a simple tune end then play it That's a sign that you need a really good teacher.
        "Unfortunately proper teachers aren't all that easy to find. There are only about 100 to 150 in the land but you can find them all in the Register of the Early Music, which also includes players and makers of any note".
        From the recorder, Richard graduated to the clarinet.
        "It was a natural progression, and as I say the fingerings are much the same. To anyone starting on it, I would advise them to make sure the instrument is to the Bohem fingering system."
        After the clarinet, Richard played percussion at school for a while, but he "got bored with not having any tunes to play." And then he heard John Renbourn.
        "I started playing with Graeme Taylor - who plays guitar with Gryphon now - and we worked out quite a lot of Renbourn things for guitar and recorder.
        "Frankly I never saw much of a future for that side of things. I felt that the recorder would be laughed off the stage if we tried to introduce it into a pop context, though I don't think that's true now.
        "We foremed a group called Willow basked, which did three or four gigs, and I remember at one gig someone shouted out that he'd come to hear some bloody music, not to be in the church.
        "But through David Munrow I was' beginning to get interested in the other early instruments, especially if it was low and farted like the rackets and bass crumhorns.
        "I bought my first crumhorn which was a soprano from Musica Rara in Great Marlborough Street. Basically, there are two shops specialising in this kind of instrument in Britain. Musica Rara and Richard Woods of Bradford.
        "The first thing to remember is that, largely because of bad workmanship, good crumhorns are very rare.
        "One way you can judge a good instrument is that it ought to be virtually impossible to play out of tune as long as you keep yow wind pressure constant. With the crumhorn, the note changes according to how hard you blow, but with some modern instruments you have to blow the top. This should not be.
        "The other thing about crumhorn is that you have to consider is as raw material which you'll have to work upon to get it right for playing. To tune it, you have a little washer by which you adjust the reed. You can also push the whole thing in, if it's still flat, or pull it out, if it's sharp.
        Finally, a cry from the heart of Richard's Gryphon mate, bassoon player Brian Gulland. Although the bassoon is a modern instrument, they are finding it virtually impossible to mike up.
        "The bassoon has got a lot of potential in pop if someone can devise a good way of miking it We'll solve it four next album which we'll be recording soon, but if anyone has any bright ideas we'd be glad to hear 'em," he says.

Karl Dallas
(Melody Maker ?, 197?)

A Gig of a Liftetime


David Munrow drew much of his inspiration from Michael Morrows Musica Reservata (for whom he worked for a time), and ofcourse Noah Greenberg. The following is a brief "review" note on the former....

Gig of a lifetime: Michael Nyman

Laura Barnett

Composer Michael Nyman on Musica Reservata, Festival Hall, early 1970s

I was besotted with this group, and went to review them for The Spectator. They were performing motets by the early 17th century German composer Michael Praetorius, who is usually known for a bunch of poppy dance arrangements called Terpsichore. These, by contrast, were massive choral, orchestral works.. just thrilling.

Musica Reservata were so different from other early musicians at the time. They were conducted by John Beckett, Samuel Beckett's cousin and run by a brilliant Irish self-trained musician called Michael Morrow. He was a rough bear of a man with a huge walrus moustache far from most clean-cut, Oxbridge, polite classical musicians.

I tried to put across my visceral excitement in my review. It was a sheer, bloody-minded shock to the system to find that early music could have the same kind of vitality and heavy-duty effect on your musical senses as Stravinsky, Stockhausen or Steve Reich. Laura Barnett

'Nyman Brass' is released on MN Records on Sept 18.

PS. I am great fan of Michael Nymans work, and the related films he worked for notably The Piano, and my favourite film of all time PROSPEROS BOOKS.....

The Question Why?

On other discussion sites dealing with music in general, or specialising in early music itself when the subject turns to Munrow people ask why he so tragically ended his life..This is understandable, and arguably we have the right to least the official story.

Admitedly, what follows is from memory, but originates from a long article in a local High Wycombe (Bucks) newspaper. In it Mrs. Gillian Munrow at the Coroners Court claimed amongst other things that her husband did not have any financial, or health problems. The cause of his demise was arguably the death of his father (from cancer), and his father-in-law (a road accident). This had a "devastating effect" on him as she put it.

I cannot recall whether Jasper Parrott. DMs agent was present, or not at the above coroners hearing. A statement was possibly read out.

However, many people have wondered if there was more to it. Evidence seems to suggest so...There is one specific reason(s) why he may have done what he did. Originally, I found the claim on the internet but it was deleted for whatever reason. Richard Wood supported what I discovered, and claimed I was nearer the truth than I could possibly imagine. For legal reasons, I am not prepared to say, but what has been presented here should be seen as "authorative" ...


Also, I wish to add the following (December 2015) which appears in an article on the History of Amersham. 

....Woodland Court had a gatehouse with stable and coach house, since demolished and replaced by two substantial new houses.  The gatehouse was at one time owned by David and Gill Munrow.  David Munrow was celebrated conductor and co-founder with Sir Christopher Hogwood of the Early Music Consort, which made over 50 recordings.  Sir Christopher Hogwood went on to found the Academy of Ancient Music, which specializes in performances of Baroque and early Classical music using period instruments.
David Munrow committed suicide in 1976 while suffering from depression. There are many rumours as to why. He used to overwork, and it appears from the original court records that he was deeply upset by the death of his father, and then, shortly after, his father-in-law. This appears to be key cause of his demise. Indeed, his only book is dedicated to both of them. On the day of his passing he, and his wife Gillian were intending to go to Venice. However, she found him hanging from the hayloft of their garage in Chesham Bois, Buckinghamshire. They had not lived in the area for long, and had previously had a home in St.Albans, Herts Furthermore, Munrow had attempted suicide via a drug overdose in 1975. James Bowman his singer for his Consort lost his singing voice because of the shock of his death, and had to be re-trained.
Many of the Woodland Court servants lived in the row of cottages called The Woodlands.  Their history is unknown but they appear to pre-date Woodland Court as the deeds mention sales in 1910....

I should add I once visited the above address long after Munrow had passed on. I do not recall much of it, but ofcourse I saw the notorious garage in which he took his life in the early morning of May15th 1976. Among other things, I saw the small wooden step ladder on which he suspended himself with a cotton rope into eternity....

Requiescat in pace

Carved in Ivory

......Munrow briefly interviewed Kenneth Clarke  on Pied Piper. The former also along with Early Music Consort of London did some work for a documentary entitled Carved in Ivory.  Kenneth Clarke wrote, and narrated it.

Ofcourse, recordings of the Early Music Consort have been used on a number of programmes (eg. if I recall correctly the Battaille at the end of the BBC  Its Royal Knock Out programme, and circa 1993 there was another BBC programme in which some  pieces from the Medieval Sound dealing the Grimms Faiytales were seemingly used)

Carved in Ivory
Date  1975
Director  Michael Gill
Production Company 
Synopsis  Examples of the work of British ivory carvers in the 7th to 12th centuries; filmed at the Victoria and Albert Museum, Huly 1974, and at Kilpeck Church, Herefordshire..
Minutes  24 min
Full synopsis  ACE051.2 10:00:00 10:12:10 Credits. Carved ivory comb, Viking dragon head, gorgon head; other items. Commentary says this tradition of craftsmanship began in monasteries. Mediaeval paintings illustrating commentary saying that early Christians travelled widely and Christian monks ?became the clerks and confidants of kings?. The ?Franks Casket?, the earliest known piece of English ivory carving, from around 700 C.E. Details of the carvings, illustrating various Biblical, Roman and other stories. Clark says it has no particular style and calls it ?a muddle?. A slightly later casket in which ?the mastery of style is complete?. Diptych from Northumbrian monastery, with designs in Eastern style. Wooden Viking carving. Coastal ruin. Commentary explains that the Vikings ?wiped out? ?the great monastic centres of Northumbria and Canterbury? together with their manuscripts and ivories. Ivory and gold crucifix. Commentary talks about the ?humanity? of English ivory carving of this period. Book with carved ivory panel on cover. Fragment from Winchester showing two angels. Details of an ivory Nativity, now in a museum in Liverpool. An oval Virgin and Child. Another Virgin and Child. One of the Magi. Small box beside walrus tusk. Details of the box. ACE051.3 10:12:10 10:24:17 Details of an early tau cross (possibly 11th century) showing a ?classic quality? with ?vigorous cursive rhythms? the dominant style of the time?. Details of ?Lady Gunhild?s Cross?, made for the niece of King Canute. Clark describes it as ?rather official?, wonders if it is really of English origin, and says ?it lacks the Romanesque rhythm and ? humanity?. A crosier. Details show St John of Beverley curing a dumb youth, and St Peter curing a lame man. The largest and most intricate English (whalebone) ivory, ?The Adoration of the Magi?, ?a great piece of ornamental abstract art?. Clark calls it ?a masterpiece? but sees ?a coldness about the head of the Virgin? which he considers ?un-English?. A panel representing Christ?s deposition. Clark comments on the ?expressive de-formation ? almost caricatural? of some of the figures. Kilpeck Church, Herefordshire. Some of the carvings round the door show a similar style to that of the deposition. Details of the top of a 12th century tau cross, part of which Clark likens to a Donatello, and points to Romanesque features of other figures. Details of a crucifix, ?the most recently discovered? of English ivories. Clark explains that the figure of Christ was missing but has been replaced by one from a museum in Oslo. He points out that the texts on the crucifix have all been chosen ?as a warning to the Jews?. A crosier from Canterbury showing Nativity scenes, miracles by St Nicholas, and other figures. Clark describes this as the last work in an English tradition which was replaced by a French style.
Full credits  Written and Narrated by Kenneth Clark; Music Arranged and Directed by David Munrow; Performed by The Early Music Consort of London; Film Editor Roger Crittenden; Photographed by Walter Lassally; Directed by Michael Gill. Filmed for the Arts Council of Great Britain at the exhibition ?Ivory Carvings in Early Medieval England? held at the Victoria & Albert Museum London. 

Created by the School of Informatics, University of Westminster

John Joubert Connection

Joubert John

John Joubert was born in Cape Town, South Africa, in 1927. After studying composition with W. H. Bell in Cape Town, he came to England in 1946 on a Performing Right Society Scholarship, and studied under Howard Ferguson at the Royal Academy of Music. He entered academic life as a university lecturer, and taught at both Hull and Birmingham Universities, becoming Reader in Music at Birmingham in 1969. Since his retirement from teaching in 1986 he has devoted his time exclusively to composition. His most recent large scale work is a Requiem, to be performed at the 2010 Three Choirs Festival.

 The composer writes: This song-cycle was commissioned by the Royal Musical Association as part of its centenary celebrations in 1974. It was designed and written for David Munrow’s Early Music Consort of London, and first performed at Stationers’ Hall in the City of London in the November of that year. The artists taking part were James Bowman (countertenor), David Munrow (recorder), Oliver Brookes (bass viol) and Christopher Hogwood (harpsichord). I later revised the work, both shortening it and allowing for the recorder, bass viol and harpsichord parts to be played on flute, cello, and piano respectively. In this recording the bass viol part is played on cello, but the scoring otherwise remains the same as in the original version. The first performance of the revision was given at Dunham Massey, Cheshire in 1988.

 The theme of the cycle is, as the name implies, a comparison between the relative advantages of Youth and Age, usually to the disparagement of the latter. It consists of five settings of sixteenth century verse with the Shakespeare sonnet, which provides the cycle with its title, appearing as its centrepiece. The first song, a lament for the passing of time, is set for the whole ensemble and makes much use of the sighing motif suggested by the words “Ay me” which begin each alternate line of verse, starting with the first. The text of the second song is an admonition to those of riper years not to frown upon those youthful indiscretions which they themselves may have indulged in. The accompaniment is scored for sopranino recorder and takes a more light-hearted view of the cycle’s central theme. The Shakespeare sonnet which follows draws up a comprehensive balance-sheet of the advantages and disadvantages of Youth and Age. This is the only through-composed setting in contrast to the other songs in the cycle, each of which consists of two stanzas only and which are strophically set. Scored for voice and harpsichord the music juxtaposes augmented fourths in double-dotted rhythm to suggest Age, alternating with more lyrical material to convey its opposite. The fourth song is more reflective, its text putting forward the view that Youth cannot have things all its own way, that “embers live when flames do die”, that “buds are soonest nipped with frost”, and that in any case Death awaits all of us, young and old. The cello provides the sole accompaniment here. The fifth and final song again takes up the theme of Time, how it can consume all things save Love which alone has the capacity to endure. The use of the full ensemble to accompany the voice provides another link with the opening song of the cycle, though the mood is decidedly more upbeat. Whatever the relative merits of Youth and Age and despite the ravages of Time, Love is common to all three and will outlast them all. As with the other strophic settings, there are two stanzas, the music of the second being a variant of the first. The material is largely based on the medieval “double leading-note” cadence in which the fourth degree of the scale is sharpened as well as the leading note in the chord immediately preceding the final chord. Scalic melodic passages are combined with this to bring the song - and the cycle - to a positive end.


The Elis Pekhonen Connection

Song of the Turtle Dove

Elis PehkonenVocal Chamber
Alto Recorder, Counter-Tenor, Cello (9 mins)


Written to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the death of David Munrow, founder of Early Music Performances.


John Turner (Alto Recorder), Nicholas Clapton (Counter-Tenor), and Jonathan Price (Violoncello).
Kendal Festival, Ambleside, Cumbria, August 19, 2006.
John Turner (Alto Recorder), Nicholas Clapton (Counter-Tenor), and Jonathan Price (Violoncello).
Cambridge Festival, West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge, October 27, 2006.
John Turner (Alto Recorder), Nicholas Clapton (Counter-Tenor), and Jonathan Price (Violoncello).
Greenwich Early Music Festival Opening Concert, St. Alfege Church, Greenwich, November 10, 2006.

13th Century Dances

Elis PehkonenOrchestra (25 mins)


Settings of all the melodies made popular by David Munrow in the late 1960s, including Lamento di Tristano, and various Ductias and Estampies. With Brass Fanfares and Woodwind Plainsongs.


February 12, 2005, Snape Maltings. Conductor Patrick Bailey. English Sinfonia. Woodbridge Orchestral Society, Suffolk Coastal Arts Project.


First Broadcast by the BBC Northern Ireland Orchestra, conducted by Eric Wetherell.

Music in the Round/ A Consort of Crumhorns 1971


The following is from Wikipedia. It is concerned with the ITV series of Music in the Round in which Munrow in April 1971 and his Early Music Consort were televised in a programme entitled A Consort of Crumhorns.

David Coulter a television producer informed me that David Munrow appeared in the Aquarius programme. He described him very simply as being "very nice."

 Music In The Round

Between April 1971 and November 1972, London Weekend Television recorded "Music In The Round" at the Cockpit. Presented by Humphrey Burton, the show included performances and interviews with leading musicians across a broad range of genres. Amongst talent showcased in the 22 episodes were The National Youth Jazz Orchestra (having already made the Cockpit their home), who were featured on 7 May 1972 and Marc Bolan on 23 April 1972.

The Cockpit referred to here was in Marylebone Theatre, London.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

A Memory of David Munrow (1977)

Peter Dickinson

Publisher: Novello & Co

A Memory of David Munrow (1977)
Work Notes
Wordless vocal lines
Novello & Co Ltd
Solo Voice(s) and up to 6 players
Year Composed
5 Minutes
2 Countertenors

Programme Note
Peter Dickinson A Memory of David Munrow (1977)
Peter Dickinson wrote two works specially for David Munrow to perform and worked closely with him. Translations, for recorder, viola da gamba and harpsichord, dates from 1971, and Recorder Music, a virtuoso solo piece, from 1973. Munrow gave many performances of both pieces, and Recorder Music was included in The Art of the Recorder (EMI Records). A Memory of David Munrow was written for a BBC concert in Manchester at which Munrow was due to play, but he died tragically several months earlier. Thus the music is not a celebration of what he stood for, which might be appropriate now, but an elegy under the impact of shock.

The separate parts of A Memory are completely notated but they interact flexibly, cueing each other in and out. The two counter-tenors have a wordless lament, staggering their breathing. The separate independent layers of the work are examples on a small scale of the approach found in Dickinson's Piano Concerto (Proms 1986), written for Howard Shelley, and other pieces since the early 1970s.

Hinckley Music Club


    The Hinckley Music Club was established in 1963 by a leading private piano teacher in the town, Miss Marjorie King. For the first four years the Club?s activities comprised weekly meetings in an upstairs room at the Plough Inn in Leicester Road for illustrated talks on a musical theme, occasionally interspersed with live performances by local musicians. It was in this context that two young musicians, David Munrow and Christopher Hogwood, approached Marjorie King in 1965 to ask if they might be engaged for a performance of their repertoire of ?old? music. A fee of ten guineas was agreed, and an ?Elizabethan Evening? of Tudor music was presented in the Old Cottages, Lower Bond Street (now the Hinckley Museum). This was the start of the memorable association between these artists and the Club. The occasion led to several return visits by David Munrow with his Early Music Consort, and in 1969 David became the Club?s first President.

    In 1967 Arts Council funding became available for music societies operating a subscription scheme, and so began the annual seasons of subscription concerts that continue to this day. Iona and Ian Brown, playing violin and piano, contributed the first such concert in September of that year in the Borough Congregational Church (now the United Reformed Church). An illustrated talk by Gerald Moore closed that first season.

    By 1970 the need for the Club to own its own piano was felt, and the Piano Fund was established. The Club?s reconditioned Steinway piano was delivered in March 1971. It cost ?950. The National Federation loaned half of this. Artists such as Margaret Price (who had been introduced to the Club in a joint concert with the BBC in 1968) and David Munrow, amongst others, gave their services free to raise funds, and contributions from individual supporters provided the remainder.

    The piano was first used by the Club for a recital by Margaret Price and James Lockhart at the Grammar School (now John Cleveland College). It then went for a short while to the Borough Congregational Church, before going to its present home at Holy Trinity Church in June 1971.

    After the death of David Munrow in 1976, his widow Gillian succeeded him as President. Another member of David?s Early Music Consort, the countertenor James Bowman, in turn followed Gillian. He relinquished the post in 1997 at the end of a memorial recital for Marjorie King, who had died the previous year.

    Marjorie had a talent for picking promising young musicians for the Club?s programme many of whom went on to develop national and international careers. One such notable example has been the pianist Howard Shelley. On hearing of Marjorie?s death, he accepted the Club?s invitation to succeed James Bowman as President as a token of gratitude for the opportunities to perform that the Club had given him in his early career. Since becoming President in 1998, he has honoured the Club with further performances, most recently playing Mozart piano concertos with a string quartet drawn from the London Mozart Players

    Today the Club continues to flourish, providing six occasions a year for the people of Hinckley to enjoy live performances of classical music, and looks forward to doing so into the future.

Peter Dickinson : Translations


commissioned by David Munrow, Oliver Brookes & Christopher Hogwood
Publisher Novello & Co Ltd
Category Works for 2-6 Players
Year Composed 1971
Duration 15 Minutes
Orchestration rec.vadg.hpd
Availability Hire  Explain this...


Programme Note
This work, in a single movement, was commissioned by David Munrow, Oliver Brookes and Christopher Hogwood for first performance at a concert at the Purcell Room on 20th February 1971. Its starting point was a series of chords playable on the treble recorder with an extra one played on a stopped descant. The expressive range of the instrument is thus extended and modern techniques of sul pont, col legno and others are applied to the gamba. I collaborated with the players in investigating these possibilities and found this most rewarding.

Like Transformations, an orchestral work heard at last year's Cheltenham Festival, Translations is in five main sections. The first and last sections are slow and employ the least familiar aspects of recorder and gamba, a kind of frame for the whole work. The second section is an Aria for recorder and gamba, (a simple tune like a Satie Gymnop?die) which is in conflict with a gamba cadenza and gradually gives way to cadenzas all round. An isorhythmic dirge forms the centre of the work but it breaks off for a kind of jazz fugue which gradually turns into the Aria in simple form, although interrupted by the harpsichord. Recorder and gamba play in a quiet coda which recalls the distorted sounds of the opening.

? Peter Dickinson 

The Clavicytherium....

« on: February 11, 2009, 12:02:00 PM »
I used to know someone called Alan Whear in Windsor. He used to have an instrument workshop behind the  barracks.  People, as they passed his place of business could see him working away on either creating a new instrument, or repairing old ones. He was brilliant craftsman But it was clear to me he was not really business minded, or else he could have gone far.

I remember once visiting him, and like myself had a weakness for early music. He even suggested to me that perhaps in the future I would have a consort just like David Munrow. However, my interests were more towards philosophy, mathematics, metaphysics, psychical research, mysticism, et cetera....These have since absorbed me since those early days but I still love early music and it still has impact on my life.

Anyway, I noticed in the local paper an article on Alan Whear whose pic was published holding his new creation a Clavicytherium. Unfortunately, I cannot recall how long ago this was but it was claimed that he was the first person to have produced this instrument which is essentially a portable "primitive" upright "harpsichord". In a way it reminded me of the portable Medieval organ except that strings could be seen vertically, and the keys would strike them when played.

Another revelation was the seeming fact that Alan had actually constructed the piano for the Piano film. Though he had sold it to the film company, he still felt that it was somehow a part of him. Thus, when filming he tried to find out how"his" piano was being used, or indeed  misused on location.

To return to the clavicytherium  I went over to Alans workshop, and he gave me a musical demonstration of it, and he notably played the Volta for me. If I recall correctly Munrow gives reference to this instrument in his book.................

Robert Searle

Turner, and Munrow.



Just about every child has a go at it since, after all, it?s only a toy?isn?t it? Such common perceptions of the recorder are hardly surprising: walk into any primary classroom and you are bound to find, somewhere, a collection of sticky, gummed up plastic recorders that would have the Health and Safety Executive down on the school like a ton of bricks. Yet, although in years gone by it was a popular, virtuoso instrument, its decline has largely gone unnoticed by the musical public, that is until one meets John Turner who, during his professional career as a top performer, has been at the forefront of its revival.

John Woodford reports

 I interviewed recorderist John Turner in his music room, an octagonal extension to his Manchester house that is topped by a wonderful weather vane folly, a fantasy that includes a viola da gamba, flying pegs, a recorder, and all sorts of other musical paraphernalia? ?I got it when I retired from the solicitors? practice?, he gleefully exclaimed. ?Don?t you think it sums me up?? It might, but I have to admit that the contents of the room below were a greater testament to a life that has been almost solely devoted to English music: rare books and manuscripts adorned the shelves and a matching display of art, much of which is connected with his passion, covers what little space remains. Before the interview, exploration was the name of the game??and have a look at this, an early copy of Orpheus Britannicus?and by the way,? he bubbles, ?have you seen this early Handel imprint??

Turner is Manchester born-and-raised and, apart from his student days, which were spent at Cambridge, he has lived his life there. ?My interest in music was enthused by my music master at school, Douglas Steele, who had been Beecham?s assistant at Covent Garden. He was a wonderful man and would get those who were interested to stay behind after classes to listen to music; it could have been Jan?cek, a pop song or whatever?as long as it was interesting.?

Although he studied the flute at the Northern School of Music?s junior department, on going up to Cambridge he read law, feeling that music would be little other than a hobby. He admits, however, that its pull was enormous: ?there were so many good musicians there at the time, Christopher Hogwood, John Eliot Gardiner, Andrew Davis, to name but a few. It was lectures in the morning, a couple of hours of work in the afternoon and the rest of the time was spent playing concerts!? But, above all, it was David Munrow who was to provide him with an opportunity that was to change the course of his life. Munrow was in his year and was looking around for a recorder player to partner: ?he was quite specific in his requirements and felt that someone who only played the recorder might not be a good enough musician and wanted someone who was versatile on another instrument.? Turner fitted the bill and started what was to become, for him, a lifetime?s devotion. He didn?t think that way at the time: ?Once I had qualified as a solicitor I thought, that?s it?there?ll be no more music for me. But one day Munrow rang me up and asked if I would be willing to play in Britten?s Alpine Suite at the Aldeburgh Festival. I did, and things didn?t stop after that. The second and third performances I did were at the Proms and the rest is history!?

He managed to juggle such musical commitments alongside his duties as a solicitor in the Manchester firm in which he was ultimately to become a senior partner. ?The firm did quite a lot of musical work, most of which tended to gravitate towards me ? we acted for the Hall?, the Royal Northern College of Music and many composers ? and through it I managed to get to know many musicians, most of whom I am still in contact with, despite no longer working for the firm.? Although more recently he rarely toured ? ?it?s a bit of a bore having to take a week off work to play a three minute obbligato on the recorder? ? he continued to do one-off performances and recordings.

Ref. Bridgewater Media/ Music Teachers Co. On-Line Journal /March 2001.

Pied Piper

Pied Piper - A Celebration of Life & Work of David Munrow, CD

  • Pied Piper - A Celebration of Life & Work of David Munrow
  • Diana Quick
  • CD i **;


Werke von Casken, Wells, De Lantins, Pehkonen, Dustable, Joubert, Crosse u. a.
  • Künstler: Narrater: Diana Quick
  • Label: Cameo, DDD
  • Bestellnummer: 5116386
  • Erscheinungstermin: 26.10.2009
  • Tracklisting
  • Mitwirkende
  1. 1 Track 1 Start
  2. 2 Sequence (für Blockflöte und Glockenspiel) Start
  3. 3 Track 3 Start
  4. 4 Time song (für Countertenor, Blockflöte und Violoncello) Start
  5. 5 Track 5 Start
  6. 6 Tota pulchra es (für Sopran, Countertenor, Blockflöte, Violoncello und Orgel) Start
  7. 7 Track 7 Start
  8. 8 The song of the turtle dove (für Countertenor, Blockflöte und Violoncello) Start
  9. 9 Quam pulchra es (für Sopran, Blockflöte, Violoncello und Orgel) Start
  10. 10 Track 10 Start
  11. 11 Alleluia (für Sopran, Blockflöte, Cembalo und Schlagzeug) Start
  12. 12 Track 12 Start
  13. 13 Music for a pied piper (für Countertenor, Blockflöte, Violoncello, Orgel und Cembalo) Start
  14. 14 Track 14 Start
  15. 15 Verses in Memoriam David Munrow (für Countertenor, Blockflöte, Violoncello, Cembalo und Glockenspiel) Start
  16. 16 Track 16 Start
  17. 17 En Attendant (für Countertenor, Blockflöte, Violoncello, Orgel und Glockenspiel) Start
  18. 18 Track 18 Start
  19. 19 Kyrie tropes (für Sopran, Countertenor, Blockflöte, Violoncello, Orgel und Schlagzeug) Start
  20. 20 Track 20 Start
  21. 21 Munrow's muse (für Sopran, Countertenor, Blockflöte, Violoncello, Klavier, Cembalo und Glockenspiel)

The Stravinksy Connection....?

One member on this forum claimed that just before Ivor Stravinsky died in 1971 he had intended to write a piece for the Early Music Consort. How true this is I do not know. Perhaps, someone will know apart from my original contact....


Re: The Stravinksy Connection..........?
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2010, 07:34:47 PM »
I can remember reading something about this at the time.  Whether the fact that Munrow met Stravinsky and was sitting beside him at a concert of one of his works would need to be confirmed but I can remember something along those lines.  What I can recall was that Munrow was astonished to see Stravinsky following the work reading the score and, instead of following the melody he was following in an inner part, which to Stravinsky was more logical.

From Early Music America...Blog..

From Early Music America...Blog..

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

10 Most Influential Early Music Ensembles

Recently, Early Music Today (the London-based equivalent of Early Music America magazine) published an article entitled "10 Most Influential Early Music Ensembles." I rolled my eyes before I even read their list, which not surprisingly was very Anglo-centric (7 of their top 10 are English ensembles). The only "foreigners" allowed in the top 10 were Concentus Musicus Wien (founded by Nikolaus Hanoncourt in 1953), Les Arts Florissants (founded by William Christie in 1979), and Hesperion XXI (found by Jordi Savall in 1974). Those three probably belong in anybody's top 10, along with The Early Music Consort of London (founded by David Munrow in 1967) and The Tallis Scholars (founded by Peter Phillips in 1973). But where were the North Americans? Or even the Netherlands' all-stars, for that matter?

How can anyone leave out the New York Pro Musica (founded in 1952 by Noah Greenberg) when discussing the 10 most influential early music ensembles? David Munrow would never have been able to do what he did if the New York Pro Musica hadn't done it first. Then there's the Boston Camerata (founded in 1954 and still going strong)--that's amazing longevity. And Anonymous 4, with their millions of CDs sold and history of topping the Billboard classical chart. I don't know which American orchestras to mention: the earliest (Boston Baroque, founded 1973) or the biggest (Philharmonia Baroque) or the biggest in Canada (Tafelmusik). Not to mention the Boston Handel and Haydn Society, a choral/orchestral group that is 194 years old and counting.

Burning Bloomers!

The following is from an article entitled Most Influential Early Music Ensembles, and the Early Music Consort of London appears at the bottom. Apparently, one of the players dressed in arcane guise accidently burnt their "bloomers" in the Purcell Rooms.


R.Searle/ piedpiper.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2010, 11:34:11 AM by piedpiper »

One Sunday Afternoon...

The following is from a blog by Richard Sparks...

Sunday, June 15

Today a trip to Wye for the Stour Festival to hear David Munrow's Early Music Consort at 3 PM. Munrow was an early music pioneer who we just managed to hear live--as he committed suicide in 1976.

This was a fascinating program:

a piece with recorder and drone by Munrow absolutely incredibly played--the runs were so fast they were hard to follow in the church acoustic--that's probably the effect intended, however, Rick recorded it--I'd really like a copy [I don't have one]--then renaissance dances for broken consort, all very well played (and danceable--if I do any of this kind of music, I'll have to enroll in a renaissance dance class)--a baroque guitar suite--beautifully played--James Tyler's virtuosity is stunning (on lute, guitar, and banjo)--he looks all the time like your typical banjo player: a smile on his face the whole time--he was fun to watch as well as listen to--the violinist played a Biber passacaglia--the piece itself went on a bit long--Biber seemed to want to show every possible thing that one could do over those 4 notes--he played very well, but I couldn't help but compare every baroque fiddle player I hear to Eduard Melkus--his performance of the Biber Mystery Sonatas in Eugene [in 1972 at the Oregon Bach Festival] was eye-opening . . . the second half of the concert followed with a selection of rags arranged by Tyler for guitar, two banjos, violin, bass viol, and bassoon (David Munrow played a French bassoon!)--they were well done and a lot of fun--especially enjoyable was a rendition of one of Brahms Hungarian Dances on the banjo by Tyler--all-in-all an incredibly enjoyable concert.

Key Consort Members sans Munrow

Two Open University Programmes

I sent an email in connection with the Open University...and received the following communication!

Dear Robert

Thank you for your email. David Munrow is featured in 2 Open University video programmes and 1 audio programme:

A101/12 Music and images (video) 1978
A201/10 Secular music of the Renaissance (video) 1972
A201/18 English consort music (audio) 1972

You are welcome to view/listen to these programmes here in the Library. You will need to make an appointment to do this.

Kind regards

A Consort Pic..

Click to continue browsing the site.(Nigel North site)
Nigel North

The above is from Nigel Norths website. He can be seen playing as part of the Early Music Consort of London on the second from right of the pic. Munrow can be seen virtually opposite to him.

Munrow and Consort in Tudor Costume Depiction

The following image comes from an edition of the Danserye recording, and depicts DM, and Consort in Tudor garb..I, originally, saw this cover some years back at the second hand record shop in Notting Hill, London.

The above comes from a German blog, and I have just found an enlarged version of it if you press the pic on one of the posts. This does not work with the above image...unless there is a fault with ones computer.

...However, for whatever reason the correct link has now been found for the enlargement of the cover image of the Danserye recording...
« Last Edit: December 12, 2011, 01:14:16 PM by piedpiper »


An Editorial Review

The Art of the RecorderThe Art of the RecorderThe Art of the Recorder

All Music Guide - James Manheim
To listen to the 1970s recordings of David Munrow and his Early Music Consort of London is to realize how pivotal they were in transforming early music from an academic specialty into a living performance tradition. The performances are based on thorough academic research, but they are varied, vital, and enthusiastic, meant for concert audiences rather than academic meetings. And the Early Music Consort of London roster is packed with future stars. This two-CD set offers the complete contents of what was originally a double Munrow LP, The Art of the Recorder, plus the first half the Middle Ages half of another double LP, Instruments of the Middle Ages and Renaissance. The Renaissance half is available as part of a different CD reissue, Music from the Court of Ferdinand and Isabella. Splitting up the Instruments album is a strange choice. Intended to accompany a book about the history of musical instruments, it contained dozens of tiny little pieces, each illustrating a different instrument bagpipes, bladder pipes, and cow horns are all included, and the variety of instruments could point even well-informed modern players in new directions. It wasn't particularly well recorded, and its value would seem to be most apparent to someone who wanted the whole thing. The decision was made probably because the two LPs of The Art of the Recorder spill slightly over the confines of a single CD. Something was needed to fill out the second disc, but other choices were available. This objection aside, The Art of the Recorder remains a delight. As a survey of the literature for the instrument it is still valid, even with all the new repertories that have emerged since the album was recorded in 1975. Munrow includes two medieval dances, a nice selection of Renaissance music including arrangements of vocal pieces, purely instrumental conceptions, and a set of "Five Dances" of Antony Holborne. The Baroque section includes a Schmelzer sonata, concertos by Vivaldi and John Baston, two lovely and little-known musettes by François Couperin, and a group of vocal pieces by Bach and others containing famous recorder parts. As was common in the early years of the historical-performance movement, Munrow also includes several pieces from the twentieth century. A Paul Hindemith trio from the "Plöner Musiktag" is a fascinating and instrumentally idiomatic document from the dawn of the German rediscovery of the recorder. All the performances are enjoyable, and in such works as the medieval "Saltarello," Track 2, Munrow gives the lie to the idea that early music players of the era did not value instrumental virtuosity. In any event, it's a sign of health that the field of authentic-performance recordings now has its authentic reissuable classics, and here's hoping that Testament succeeds with this release and follows it up with many more. The remastering of the original Abbey Road studios sound is clean and unobtrusive.
Referenc Barnes and Noble.

    The Art of the RecorderThe Art of the RecorderThe Art of the Recorder