Showing posts from July, 2014

David Munrow Blows

David Munrow  is one of our favourite people: clever, passionate, generous, multi-talented, his sudden death in 1976 was a tremendous loss, not only to Early Music, which he worked so hard to popularise, but to the world in general. People like David are in short supply: we can’t afford to lose them. Not long before he died, David made a great television show called ‘Early Musical Instruments’ . Each week, he would talk about a group of instruments and he and his friends would demonstrate them. Despite the paucity of that description it is absolutely riveting viewing.  The best bits are when David cuts loose on one of the many instruments that he was expert in playing – this may be music from antiquity, but David ensures it doesn’t sound like it should be in a museum. His enthusiasm and animation and immersion in the moment bring it all to life in the most vivid terms. When David Munrow plays it, Early Music  swings . No wonder he gets so puffed out.  

Tudor Top of the Pops

Speaking of  Early Music  and the much missed  David Munrow , here's a couple of nicely garish sleeves for the soundtracks of some heavyweight early 70's BBC dramas, as played by David and the  Early Music Consort of London . Keith Michell  (top, middle) came to be closely associated with the role of Henry VIII until he made that record about Captain Beaky, after which he became associated with Captain Beaky - and unemployment. He's still alive, by the way. Keith Michell, I mean: Captain Beaky died in a Hong Kong hotel room many years ago. The circumstances, naturally, were mysterious.  The above is from Pseudoscientific World of Tomtit Blog

Peter Maxwell Davies, and Taverner

Some negative comment on Munrows Consort to Peter Maxwell Davies Taverner. Reference is also made to Ken Russell, and The Devils film. Peter Maxwell Davies The British composer has been celebrating his 75th birthday with a production of his ambitious opera, Taverner. It's a work that had a far from auspicious start, as he explains How did you come to write this large-scale opera? I was a postgraduate and started really serious work on it in 1962 when I was studying with the composer Roger Sessions at Princeton University. But I never thought it would be put on, and it was an unpractical work in that it had stage bands and a lot of people in the cast. Quite apart from being inexperienced, I made no compromise whatever about the difficulty with the instrumental music, or difficulty with the singing ? it was just exactly as I wanted it to be done and heard in my head. So how did it come to be staged by the Royal Opera at Covent Garden in 1972? Edward Downes, bless his heart, had the i

Two Interesting Entries..

                  « on: January 05, 2012, 10:41:42 AM » I found the following in the World Catalog. The first item refers to an OU recording, and the second to the Chaucer programme in which DM, and his Consort did the music. English consort music Author: David Munrow; Early Music Consort of London.; Open University.; British Broadcasting Corporation. Publisher: [Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire] : Open University ; Mt. Vernon, N.Y. : Gould Media [distributor] , [197-?] Series: Renaissance and Reformation.  Edition/Format:  Audiobook on Cassette : Cassette recording : English  Summary: Side 1: Illustrated talk with performances by the Early Music Consort of London. Side 2: Did the growth of central government encourage th Reformation? Rating: (not yet rated) 0 with reviews - Be the first. Chaucer's tale Author: Nevill Coghill; Ewan MacColl; Gary Watson; Ian McMillan; Ian Dalrymple; All authors Publisher: Santa Monica, Calif. : BFA Educational Media, [1970] E

Struck by lightning in Sweden

The Munrow Phenomena... I was 9 (I'm pretty sure this was July 1971) and on tour in Sweden with the Finchley Children's Music Group, an excellent children's choir. We performed in a church somewhere one afternoon (possibly in ?stersund), and our choirmaster, Richard Andrewe, offered to take anyone who wanted to come along to David Munrow's concert in the same church that evening. that was my first introduction to renaissance music, and my first introduction to David Munrow, a mad, charismatic pixie who captivated his audience (and me) and played amazing music. As soon as I got back to England I got his LP The Medieval Sound and I was hooked for life. I've since been a crumhorn player for a bit (though I've gravitated to percussion in the end), and have developed a lifelong love of all kinds of bagpipes through David's introductions. I was an avid listener to The Pied Piper - I hope that some/all of that recorded material has not been lost and will b

The Montagu Encounter...

I had some email contact with Jeremy Montagu who knew David Munrow  but was somewhat critical of him. He indicated that he would only "speak out" if other people revealed the latter's "faults". His last email comment was that David Munrow  was "..commercially, artistically, and intellectually dishonest..." without giving any specific examples. However, unlike most if not all the other pioneers (including Greenberg), Munrow was the man who really put early music on the map.. Since the above post was sent Montagu gave a "derogatory" reference to Munrow in his autobiography. At the same time he also made something out of the the term nakers whose relevance becomes clear in relation to an earlier "cheeky" post on this blog!! (  ) The item

James Bowman Interview

James Bowman gives some reference to David Munrow  In search of a voice: James Bowman interviewed We met in an unusually empty bar in the rather posh Athanaeum Club, in the wake of the July 2005 London bombings. ?Usually?, Bowman joked, ?it?s full of sleeping Vicars, over in the other corner?. The comment set the tone for the interview: he has a wonderful sense of humour, and humanity and humility. And loves talking. Determined to keep to musical matters, I vowed not to be sidetracked by his humorous anecdotes. But one, I have to say, is worth repeating. The time when in France, his billing as an ?alto? meant that a group of viola enthusiasts turned up. How would he play the Schumann pieces, the Brahms or the Hindemith? The venue for our interview, and the fact that I forgot to wear a tie?dress-code for the club?underlined one driving force of his career: his quintessential Englishness. In his teens his life?s ambition was to sing in the choir at King?s College Cambridge?an ambition to

The Cambridge Music Circle

Cut and paste version of the Cambridge Music Circle with reference to DM.    (original link) D In August 1946, a series of advertisements appeared in the local paper ? the Cambridge Daily News ? asking people interested in classical music to contact one Michael Smith, then serving in the RAF. There was sufficient response for a meeting to be arranged at Overstream House, Victoria Avenue (now Winter Comfort). About 20 people attended and a committee was formed. The name Cambridge Music Circle was chosen and an annual subscription of 15/- (75p) was suggested. This was soon reduced to 10/- (50p), although of course there have been increases since! The first recital was held at Overstream House using a wind-up gramophone playing 78rpm records, and the evening began with Rossini?s overture The Thieving Magpie. In its first 16 years the Circle moved a number of times, often to cheaper accommodation. Meetings were held at the YMCA in Hills Road, the T

The King Testimony

The following is a testimony from Robert King who played an important part in the promotion of early music before his tragic "downfall" which will not be discussed here. ............I did indeed (as a gawky teenager) appear on "Nationwide" with Sue Lawley (with whom I immediately fell passionately in love as I thought her to be utterly gorgeous!) in either 1977 or 78 (I forget exactly when, I'm afraid). I did a few other TV and radio appearances as well........... Yes, I was (and am still) a huge Munrow fan, and attended as many of his concerts as I could from about 1974 to 1976 (I even went to the Monteverdi and his Contemporaries concert at the QEH a few days before Munrow's death). I was only a schoolboy then, but I loved his radio shows, loved his recordings (I think I have all of them!), thought his book was a magnificent work (though I have a signed copy it was autographed, since I was at Boarding School, in my absence) - in short he was my total hero.

The Music of the Crusaders

The following two reviews appear to be reasonably informed reviews on DMs classic Music of the Crusades. They emanate from Amazon.  Marvelous recreations of music from the time of the Crusades, 6 July 2004 By  Lawrance M. Bernabo (The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota)  This review is from: Music of the Crusades (Audio CD) Of the "Music of the Crusades" collected on this very interesting album, several actually deal with the Crusades. I am always on the look out for interesting bits of music and film that can be used in history classes to bring the period alive for students and this certainly qualifies. This album contains examples of different types of songs, sung mostly in French and Latin. The lyrics alone are fascinating ("The French are degenerate if they refuse to support God, for I have warned them") and one song, "Ja nus hons pris," is attributed to Richard the Lion-Heart. Teachers covering the Middle Ages can certainly find a song or two to share wit

A Rare Recording, and Bruno Turner.

         David Munrow had some dealings with Bruno Turner, and collaborated with a rare recording known as Love, Lust, Piety, and Politics...What a title! Here, are some details on BT, and then some info on the recording... Bruno Turner From Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaJump to: navigation, search Bruno Turner is a British musicologist, choral conductor, broadcaster, publisher and businessman. Contents [hide] 1 Life 2 Mapa Mundi 3 Musicologist and Conductor 4 Selected discography 5 References 6 External links [edit] LifeThe son of a motor spares magnate, Turner went on holiday to Sweden shortly after the Second World War. Discovering that their wallcovering industry (in effect, wallpaper for commercial premises) was unaffected due to the country's neutral status, Turner realised the potential in post-war England which he rightfully expected would experience a boom in building after the damage it had experienced at the hands of the Luftwaffe. On the spot,

Factbite References on Munrow

    A list of references on DM from Factbite might be of interest! David Munrow: The Times Obituary - Sidebar - MSN Encarta   David Munrow: The Times Obituary - Sidebar - MSN Encarta    This obituary for David Munrow appeared in The Times on May 17, 1976.    A crumhorn is a wind instrument that dates from the Renaissance. /sidebar_1461500293/David_Munrow_The_Times_Obituary.html   (52 words)      Encyclopedia: David Munrow   David Munrow (August 12, 1942 - May 15, 1976) was a musician and early music historian.    In 1960 David Munrow went to Peru, teaching English under the British Council Overseas Voluntary Scheme.    Munrow committed suicide in 1976, while suffering from depression. /encyclopedia/David-Munrow   (1301 words)      FLUXEUROPA: DAVID MUNROW   David Munrow was the pioneer in England of the early music revival.    David Munrow was keen on spreading the revivalist gospel and his proselytising activity included projects like The Me

The Brass Trumpet Works...

The following is from the Gramophone Archive dated September 1971 Here, DM contributed to some Baroque Music from the looks of things.. BAROQUE TRUMPET WORKS. Don Smithers (trumpet), David Munrow (bassoon), Desmond Dupre. (chitarrone), Simon Preston (harpsichord and organ), Academy of St Martin- in-the-Fields conducted by Neville Marriner. items marked* with Michael Laird ( trum pet) . Philips 6500 110 (L2.30). lacchini: Trateriimento per camera in D major. Bononcini:Si,dookt No. 10 in D majors. Telemann: Concert a quattro in D major, "di Melante". Purcell: The Indian Queen Trumpet Overture in D major; The Yorkshire Feast Song?Sinfonia in D major'. Torelll: Sonata a cinque No. 7 in D major. Grossi: Sonata S (imply No. It in D major. Schmelzer: Sonata S chigoe in C major. Vejvanovsky: Intrada in C major*. Amazement at the ingenuity of Baroque composers in devising lively, grave and witty music for an instrument confined to around a dozen notes can sustain the listener for

The Tears of the Night

David Munrow, and the Early Music Consort did some work for The Tears of Night by Elizabeth Lutyens whose bio is below. Lutyens, (Agnes) Elizabeth (1906?1983) English composer. Her works, using the twelve-tone system, are expressive and tightly organized, and include chamber music, stage, and orchestral works. Her choral and vocal works include a setting of the Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein's Tractatus and a cantata The Tears of Night (1971). She also composed much film and incidental music. The youngest daughter of the architect Sir Edwin Lutyens, she married the BBC director of music Edward Clark. In a lecture at Dartington in the 1950s she coined the term ?cowpat music? to describe the work of those early 20th-century English composers who had turned to pictorial pastoralism in their music. Her works include the opera Infidelio (1956) and Fleur du silence for tenor and ensemble (1980). Her autobiography A Goldfish Bowl was published in 1973. She studied viola and com

David Munrow Cartoon


Some Important Munrow References on the Net

Book References The following references (like certain other ones here)gives us an idea of the enormity of the musical legacy that Munrow left behind....created in a span of under 10 years!! References to DM from Musical Times. Galpin Society References. Early Music Historhy References General References, and Sources...JSTOR

Another Bio...

Artist Biography by Joseph Stevenson David John Munrow , in his brief career, was one of the most exciting and influential leaders of the British early music movement. After he completed his school education, he taught for a year in South America. He returned to England to attend Pembroke College, Cambridge, where he read for a degree in English from 1961 to 1964. He was an avid and talented flute player and while at Cambridge founded an organization to play early music. After he graduated, he studied seventeenth century music at Birmingham University. It was his exposure to South American indigenous music, with its strong use of wooden instruments of the flute family, that stimulated his interest in such instruments, including the recorder. At that time, interest in England in early music was growing. Munrow found himself in great demand as a recorder player. In 1967, he founded the Early Music Consort of London , with counter tenor James Bowman , violist Oliver Brookes , luteni