Tuesday, 22 December 2015



The following is from a website hosted by David Griffith. See link


David John Munrow (Aug. 12 1942 – May 15 1976) was born in Birmingham and attended King Edward VI School, Birmingham (amongst his contemporaries was tv ‘birder ‘and comedian Bill Oddie). He played bassoon, recorder and piano with some distinction, and sang as a chorister in Birmingham Cathedral, and in the University Orchestra which rehearsed just across the road from the school – although a musical career was not uppermost in his mind. His father, Albert Munrow, was a Birmingham University lecturer on physical education and there exists a sports centre in his name. Munrow had a strong association with Birmingham and the surrounding area.
In August 1960 Munrow went to Lima, Peru, as a student teacher under the British Council’s Voluntary Service Overseas scheme. He helped the pupils at Markham College – a private boys school – prepare for the Common Entrance exam. Whilst there, he avidly collected all manner of South American folk instruments. The influence of this vibrant indigenous music had a lasting effect on Munrow, who would later make much of the missing link between early music and folk music.
The following year Munrow went to Pembroke College, Cambridge, to study English. Stories abound of Munrow’s enthusiasm for performing, and he began organising concerts. His organising zeal and gift for performance and presentation were immediately apparent. A crumhorn hanging on a fellow student’s wall, as well as encouragement from music scholar Thurston Dart apparently led to another voyage of discovery as Munrow became more and more immersed in music of the distant past. Another key influence was said to be Anthony Baines’ book on Woodwind Instruments and their History.
After graduation Munrow combined his love of music and literature by carrying out further research for an MA at Birmingham University on Thomas d’Urfey’s collection of rather bawdy English ballads entitled ‘Pills to Purge Melancholy’.
He was still not sure of a career in music but a key catalyst occurred when he joined The Royal Shakespeare Theatre Wind Band, playing for productions at Stratford and London. He played bassoon at first, but the musical director at the time, Guy Woolfenden, encouraged Munrow to perform on the instruments of Shakespeare’s time as well. Woolfenden recalls how Munrow scribbled down notes on the tonal qualities and compasses of instruments such as the crumhorn, shawm and rauschpfeife – with comments such as “let me get my breath back after playing this one…”
There was little doubt now as to Munrow pursuing a musical career, and with his wife Gillian Reid, he began giving workshops and recitals on ‘early music’ to schools and music societies. Soon afterwards, in 1967, he left the RSC’s band and became a part-time lecturer in early music history at Leicester University.
The Early Music Consort of London
The original line up for The Early Music Consort of London
That same year he formed the Early Music Consort of London, with several friends and acquaintances from his university days, including singer James Bowman, strings specialist Oliver Brookes and keyboardist Christopher Hogwood. Later, the lutenist and strings player James Tyler became a key member. It was essentially a very versatile core of musicians for touring logistics, but able to be supplemented by much bigger forces for recording purposes.
Munrow’s recording career took off and there was a steady stream of landmark recordings of medieval and renaissance music – all with his characteristic hallmarks of consummate musicianship combined with an innate flair for presentation. Who can forget the ‘big band’ sound of his recordings of Susato’s ‘Danserye’? Or, his exquisite arrangements of music by Machaut and the era of Courtly Love. His landmark boxed-set ‘The Art of the Recorder’ was as fine a testament to an often neglected instrument as one could wish to make – a fitting tribute indeed to the ‘English flute’. Although known as an instrumentalist, Munrow in his later years revealed the influence of his days as a chorister with superb recordings of choral music by Monteverdi and Purcell. As an aside, what’s sometimes forgotten is how many ‘crossover’ recordings Munrow made with musicians from the folk spectrum – a glance at Medieval.org’s Munrow discography makes for a dizzy read, such was the number and breadth of recording projects he is known to have appeared on.
Munrow’s research into instruments and music of the past led to specially commissioned reconstructions of instruments from the cornett and rackett families, from makers such as Otto Steinkopf and Christopher Monk. His rapidly expanding instrument collection was always heavily supplemented whilst touring, by ransacking foreign bazaars for indigenous instruments.
munrowcartoonPrimetime recognition came when, in 1970, the BBC asked him to provide the music to a television series ‘The Six Wives of Henry VIII’, and later, ‘Elizabeth R’. Further film soundtrack commissions followed, including Ken Russell’s ‘The Devils’, John Boorman’s ‘Zardoz’ and the soundtrack to ‘La Course en Tete’, a film about Belgian cyclist Eddie Merckx. Munrow’s extraordinary talent for presenting and communicating with an audience was also evident when he was asked to present ‘Pied Piper’ – a long-running series on BBC Radio 3 which covered all eras and genres of music and which was targeted at younger listeners but had many older fans. It was on several afternoons a week and ran for over 5 years, notching up 655 episodes!
Munrow presented a number of television programmes on music including a series of six half-hour programmes for Granada Television in 1976, entitled ‘Early Musical Instruments’, and he presented a series for BBC2 called ‘Ancestral Voices’, lucidly expanding on his conviction that the music of the past must have had the energy, virtuosity and relevance that the folk music of today clearly has for many peoples around the world. Other television shows included introductions to early instruments introduced by Clement Freud and an Open University programme from Montacute House, Somerset.
There was even time to write a book, ‘Instruments of the Middle Ages & Renaissance’, complete with a 2-disc set of recordings of many of the instruments described. As ever, it was very readable, reaching out to a wide audience. Sadly, it was to be one of his last accomplishments before he took his own life on May 15, 1976.
estampieIn a career that spanned less than ten years, Munrow had helped change the general perception of music of the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Firstly, he was a master of presentation and rose to the challenges of performing short pieces from widely different eras on varying instrumental line-ups. He meticulously sequenced pieces and chose instrumentation to minimise on-stage disruptions and the necessities of tuning. Secondly, he expected nothing but the best from himself and music colleagues, and his performances are always characterised by outstanding musicianship – he raised standards and expectations, and was particularly influential as a recorder player and teacher – he became Professor of Recorder at the Royal Academy of Music, and his understated ‘English’ style of playing was in contrast to the more expressive approach favoured in Continental Europe. Munrow’s prodigous recorded output has been his most tangible legacy, but his live performances with the Consort also had a profound effect on all who experienced them – the word ‘legendary’ does not seem too excessive a superlative in this context. He was often described as a ‘showman’ and there would always be a carefully thought out shape to a programme, each concert half ending in an obligatory showpiece. Finally, Munrow’s recording of Holborne’s ‘The Faerie Round’ for recorder consort was one of the iconic recordings chosen for inclusion on the Golden Voyager Record – taken into space on the two US Voyager space craft in 1977 (despite the version used featuring a wrong note because of an error in the sheet music transcription).
With the benefit of hindsight we can see that although he was indeed a pioneer, there were others ploughing a similar path at the time. Musica Reservata, directed by Michael Morrow, brought an uncommon earthy presentation to early music, and Munrow certainly featured on many of their recordings. And there were many pioneers in Europe who combined practical musicianship and scholarly attention to detail in their revival of early music. None, however, had quite the energy and showmanship of Munrow – indeed, he is often described as having ‘burst’ onto the music scene – a small, dapper character fizzing with effervescence, sparkling wit and vitality.
Munrow’s star burnt brightly and all-too briefly – but let us be thankful we still have his lasting legacy to educate, inspire and bring joy to our lives.
David Griffith – last updated 27/9/14
P.S. If you wish to amend or enhance this initial biography draft please do contact me. I am currently collating material from various sources and will be posting a more accurate and detailed account soon.

PS from the Blogger.

As yet there has been no known book on the life of David Munrow. It may never transpire unfortunately. If I recall correctly Bernard Levine mentioned writing one on the BBC Memorial programme about Munrow. Humphrey Carpenter, a noted writer among other things was intending to do the same until he died.. John Turner who worked for Munrow has, or so it is claimed been collecting material from people who knew him. But so far nothing has come of it. As far as it is understood this would not be a biography proper. Richard Wood who had owned the famous Early Music Shop  knew him.  He too was wanting to undertake a biography. Indeed, he wrote an article on him sometime ago in the Recorder Magazine in 2006. Ed Breen, a music academic has also been interested in doing a popular type book on Munrow. It is somehow strange, and frankly ridiculous why no biography has come into print so far as he was a great musician, and was well-loved, and very popular with the public.

However, it should be added that Breen has done a Phd dissertation entitled The Performance Practice of David Munrow and the Early Music Consort of London, 2014

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Instruments of the Middles Ages and Renaissance

Blogger Ref  http://www.youtube.Searle8

David Munrow only wrote one book, and it was essentially an accompaniment to two records which acted as musical "illustrations" of specific Early Instruments such as the crumhorn, hurdy-gurdy, sackbut,
lute, et cetera.

He produced something similar  called the Mediaeval Sound (a single record) which involved a vocal introduction on each instrument on side one. Munrow believed that discussing such a subject not only required written material, but also musical examples...otherwise it was all rather pointless.

Musica Reservata also did something similar.(see links below)


Monday, 19 October 2015

The Art of the Recorder

The Art of the Recorder is regarded as something of a classic RS

Source Ref http://www.discogs.com/David-Munrow-The-Art-Of-The-Recorder/master/779052

The Middle Ages
Anon., 13th C.: English Dance
Anon., 14th C.: Saltarello
The Renaissance
Een Vrolic Vesen
Voyant Souffrir
Troys Jeunes Bourgeoises
Allez Souspirs
Amour Me Voyant
Fantasy: The Leaves Be Green
Five Dances: Sic Semper Soleo - Pavan - Galliard - The Choise - Muylinda
The Early Baroque
Sonata à 7 Flauti
Fantasia: Three Parts Upon A Ground
The Late Baroque
Concerto In A Minor
Concerto In D Major
Acis And Galatea: O Rudier Than The Cherry
Cantata 208: Was Mir Behagt Aria - Schafe Können Sicher Weiden
Cantata 106: Gottes Zeit Ist Die Allerbiste Zeit - Sonatina
Magnificat In E Flat (BWV 243) Esurientes
As You Like It: Under The Greenwood Tree
Muséte de Choisi
Muséte de Taverni
The Present Day
Plöner Musiktag Trio
The White Throated Warbler
Recorder Music

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Radio 3 boss to recreate Pied Piper series


Alan Davey
Image caption Alan Davey took over as controller of BBC Radio 3 in January

The new boss of BBC Radio 3 says he plans to revive the classic 1970s series Pied Piper, which introduced young listeners to the world of music.
Presented by David Munrow, the fondly-remembered show covered everything from medieval music to prog rock.
Speaking to the Sunday Times, Radio 3 controller Alan Davey said he was keen to commission a modern version.
"Young people are ­growing up with an open mind about various kinds of quite ­complex music," he said.
"It's not classical music, but it's not pop music, either. The step into classical music would be quite easy for them if they were to encounter it in the right way."
Davey took over from Roger Wright in January, and has been listening to archive tapes of Pied Piper, which ran for 655 episodes between 1971 and 1976.
Although the programme was predominantly aimed at children - and was used in school music lessons - Munrow's enthusiasm for music infected people of all ages.
But the series ended suddenly when he died at the age of 33.
David Munrow
Image caption David Munrow's daily radio show introduced a generation to the possibilities of music
A modern version would not be able to run a week-long series on the Brazilian composer Villa-Lobos, as Pied Piper did, Davey admitted, with radio increasingly having to compete with TV, mobile phones and social media for young people's attention.
Alluding to this he told the Sunday Times: "Keynes [the economist] wanted to set up the Arts Council in 1946 as a bulwark against American movie culture. But American movie culture is pretty good, and it's become an art form in itself.
"What Keynes didn't anticipate was the proliferation of the possibilities for people, and the real implication of leisure time and the possibilities there."
In a wide-ranging interview, Davey also noted that changes had been made to Radio 3's breakfast programme - notably by dropping calls from listeners, which have proved contentious with some members of the audience.
Presenters will no longer read the news headlines during the show, although the half-hourly bulletins and summaries from the BBC newsroom remain.
"It is to give the presenters more chances to present the music," Davey explained.
"We will still have hour and half-hour bulletins - people are saying they still need some kind of pointer in the mornings."
Petroc Trelawney and Clemency Burton-Hill
Image caption Breakfast show presenters are being given more time to talk about the music, Davey says
The changes, although subtle, will please critics who felt the station was being "dumbed down" as it sought to engage audience interaction, with some branding it "Radio 2.5".
They also coincide with a recent BBC Trust report, which said Radio 3 must make sure it is "distinct" from rival stations like Classic FM.
"While Radio 3 overall is a distinctive station, in terms of its approach to classical music and mix of other programming, there are some parts of the schedule where similarities exist," the BBC's watchdog said.
"Radio 3 should seek to increase choice for radio listeners by minimising any programmes and features that are similar to Classic FM's. It should focus on its strengths, by maximising its distinctiveness across its whole output, without sacrificing the combination of expertise and accessibility that has been achieved in recent years."
Mr Davey said that, under his stewardship, the station would not be "chasing ratings".
"If you concentrate on doing the best you can do and offering quality day in and day out, people do find you and they do appreciate it."

Friday, 11 September 2015

Munrow, and Musica Reservata...A Getty Image

Musica Reservata on their early instruments - from left to right, David Munrow on alto shawm, Ruth David on treble rebec, Michael Morrow on Krummhorn and Adam Skeaping on tenor rebec, 3rd October 1968.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

The Microsoft Bio

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 17th 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, lutenist James Tyler, and harpsichordist Christopher Hogwood. They gave their first performance at Louvain the same year, making a London debut in 1968. Also in 1967, he became a lecturer in early music at Leicester University. Munrow's consort shook up the regular concert world and the growing early music establishment with its performing style. Their approach was entertaining, attractive, and exuberant, even brash, without traducing the boundaries of what was known to be authentic. Suddenly, "authentic" performances were no longer scholarly affairs of main interest to academics, but popular concert events eagerly attended by the general classical music audience.
The Consort appeared on television and in an intriguing development, the group also kept an interest in contemporary music. Therefore, several living composers wrote new music -- often in the most advanced musical style -- for these old-style instruments. These included Peter Dickinson (Translations, 1971), Elisabeth Lutyens (The Tears of Night, 1972), and Peter Maxwell Davies, who used the group as the on-stage band during his opera Taverner (1972), which is about a medieval English composer.
In 1969, Munrow became a teacher of the recorder at London's Royal Academy of Music. In 1971, he started making lecture appearances on BBC radio. His show, "Pied Piper," was aimed at young listeners and had a listenership among all ages. For reasons that remain obscure, he took his own life in 1976. Had he not, he surely would have been recognized as one of the most influential musicians of the last half of the 20th century.

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Collection of strikers and beaters belonging to David Munrow


Object type  Data Source Royal Academy of Music
Presented by Christopher Hogwood CBE HonRAM.
The Christopher Hogwood and David Munrow Collection
Percussion instrument: Collection of strikers and beaters belonging to David Munrow.

Comprising a matching pair of beechwood strikers, the remains of two drumsticks, a striker for a gong with a large fabric-covered head, a small turned striker of hardwood and a spatula-like striker (?).
Object type
TypeLengthWidthHeightDiameterUnit (length)
length of pair of strikers250millimetres
gong striker270millimetres
small hardwood striker140millimetres
spatula-like striker220millimetres
Accession No


Friday, 22 May 2015

Jerome Roche, and the Book Dedication........

Jerome Roche was I believe an academic who wrote a Dictionary on Early Music. He also dedicated it to DJM as he put it (ie.David John Munrow). He gives a short latin quote coming from some obscure (mystical?) text. Does anyone know the translation of it.RS

I believe it's from the Bible's Old Testament, and a book often referred to as the Book of Solomon, or Wisdom of Solomon, Chapter 5. In the context of Munrow's untimely death it makes for very poignant reading:

Wisdom Chapter 5
The fruitless repentance of the wicked in another world: the reward of the just.

5:1. Then shall the just stand with great constancy against those that have afflicted them, and taken away their labours.
Tunc stabunt iusti in magna constantia adversus eos qui se angustaverunt et qui abstulerunt labores illorum

5:2. These seeing it, shall be troubled with terrible fear, and shall be amazed at the suddenness of their unexpected salvation,
Videntes turbabuntur timore horribili et mirabuntur in subitatione insperatae salutis

5:3. Saying within themselves, repenting, and groaning for anguish of spirit: These are they, whom we had sometime in derision, and for a parable of reproach.
Dicent inter se paenitentiam agentes et per angustiam spiritus gementes hi sunt quos habuimus aliquando in risu et in similitudine inproperii

5:4. We fools esteemed their life madness, and their end without honour.
Nos insensati vitam illorum aestimabamus insaniam et finem illorum sine honore

5:5. Behold, how they are numbered among the children of God, and their lot is among the saints.
Quomodo conputati sunt inter filios Dei et inter sanctos sors illorum est

« Last Edit: May 18, 2008, 07:33:41 AM by DavidGriffith »

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

David Munrow (of the Early Music Consort) and Folk Music


The following is from the excellent blog Semibrevity. However, the link here takes one to another musician other than David Munrow... http://www.semibrevity.com/2014/09/account-of-the-funeral-of-magician-frans-bruggen-in-the-old-church-in-amsterdam/

Guest blogger: Edward Breen (London-based musicologist, writer and lecturer whose 2014 PhD dissertation was entitled The Performance Practice of David Munrow and the Early Music Consort of London. See here for more of his work.)
David Munrow (1942-1976) was one of the most widely-known early music ‘personalities’ of the 1960s and 70s. He was a woodwind specialist and director of the Early Music Consort of London and also a prolific broadcaster. As a regular BBC presenter many knew him through his long-running radio series Pied Piper which was aimed at a younger audience but enjoyed by listeners of all ages. Over the course of five years and 655 programmes he discussed a huge range of music themed in four weekly installments that ranged from folk dances to the works of Berlioz.
Having studied Munrow’s recordings, broadcasts and writings over the past few years I have become interested in what first sparked his interest in folk music and folk instruments, and how, in turn, this influenced his performances of medieval music. The following blog-post is offered as an overview of his activities and connections in this area.
Munrow was a chorister at Birmingham Cathedral and attended King Edward VI School. As a schoolboy he was both a talented bassoonist and recorder player winning his school music competition in 1957 for which he was presented with a copy of Anthony Baines’ book Woodwind Instruments and their History. Whether or not this was chosen in recognition of his developing interest in organology or if it was a catalyst in itself remains unknown, but certainly Munrow had begun collecting woodwind instruments before going to university.
In 1960, having secured a place to read English Literature at Cambridge, Munrow took a gap-year post at Markham College in Peru as part of the British Council’s voluntary overseas programme. He arrived in Peru via the slow-train from São Paulo, which allowed him to experience a great swath of Brazil, Bolivia and Peru in the process. This journey clearly fed his appetite for adventure because during his Christmas vacation a few months later he made another, long overland journey by train, this time heading south through Chile almost as far as the Tierra del Fuego, and along the way he immersed himself in traditional music by collecting folk instruments.

Munrow playing the recorder in the very florid anonymous Istampitta Ghaetta

At Cambridge University the following year he forged his reputation by playing many of these instruments at an autumn term concert organised by Christopher Hogwood, and was subsequently encouraged by Thurston Dart to explore links between the folk instruments he had acquired and early European instruments. Dart was therefore a key influence and many years later in an interview for Gramophone magazine, Munrow recalled the moment he first saw a crumhorn hanging on the wall of Dart’s study in Cambridge and was invited to borrow it.
Reading Dart’s The Interpretation of Music (1954) one will find clearly articulated ideas about folk music and early music that must have influenced many performers at the time:
Other evidence may be found in the music of the remoter regions of Europe and the Near East. The music and musical instruments heard in the mountains of Sardinia and Sicily, and the bands still used for Catalan dance music are medieval in flavour. The Arabian lute, rebec and shawm are still much the same as they were when they were first introduced into Europe by the Moors. The singing of Spanish cante jondo and flamenco singers will give us some idea of how the long vocal roulades found in so much medieval music were probably sung originally … (Chapter VIII ‘The Middle Ages’).
The connection between Dart’s line of argument and Munrow’s own reasoning twenty years later in his book Instruments of the Middle Ages and Renaissance (1976) is striking. By the time Munrow graduated from Cambridge his appetite was fully engaged in early instruments and their repertoire, and his collection—which now also included copies of early western instruments—expanded rapidly throughout the 60s.


Unexpectedly, perhaps, Munrow then spent a postgraduate year in Birmingham working on 17th century songs: Thomas D’Urfey’s Pills to Purge Melancholy and these fueled his enthusiasm further, so much so that by the mid sixties he had been appointed to the wind band of the Royal Shakespeare Company where the visionary director, Guy Woolfenden, wrote special parts for his early instruments. Around this time Munrow also toured with Christopher Hogwood and Gillian Ried (whom he married in 1966) giving lectures and recitals for music clubs and societies across the country and established himself as a musician and public speaker of great popularity.
It comes as no surprise that during the late 60s and early 70s Munrow appears as an instrumentalist on several albums by Michael Morrow’s Musica Reservata, an ensemble famous for strident, minimal vibrato performances of medieval and renaissance music and spearheaded by the mezzo-soprano Jantina Noorman whose striking use of chest-voice frequently divided critics. Like Thurston Dart, and perhaps because of him, Morrow also looked to folk cultures across Europe for echoes of older performance practices and thanks to the growing selection of folk records available at that time, developed a particular interest in Bulgarian voices as models for medieval singing.
Morrow felt that since drones often accompanied medieval monody it would need to be performed with both exact intonation and a clear, precise vocal technique. The same was true for instrumental music. This he found in the folk traditions of the Balkan countries and he discussed his hypothesis at length with the folklorist and historian A. L. Lloyd before encouraging Noorman to base her singing on techniques gleaned from Lloyd’s field recordings and before engaging Munrow’s impressively clear and defined instrumental technique to bear on medieval dances.
Delving further back through historical musicology, we find that such ideas were neither new to Dart nor to Morrow. Daniel Leech-Wilkinson in his book The Modern Invention of Medieval Music (2002) has traced ‘The Oriental Hypothesis’ back as far as the German musicologist, Arnold Schering. Schering’s Aufführungspraxis alter Musik (1931) suggests that medieval singing might have contained ‘Oriental elements’ such as nasal and guttural sounds.
Only fifteen years after its publication Dart studied in Belgium with the musicologist Charles van den Borren who may have pointed him in the direction of this text. Certainly, Dart, Morrow and Munrow were not the only people to explore this theory in performance: Thomas Binkley’s Studio der Frühen Musik also made many superb recordings of medieval music influenced by Arabian and Andalusian folk practices (amongst other elements) in the 1960s.
During 1968 Munrow founded his own group, the Early Music Consort (later called The Early Music Consort of London) with James Bowman (countertenor), Oliver Brookes (viol), Christopher Hogwood (keyboard and percussion) and James Tyler (lute). Their repertoire was to span from Leonin to Handel with Munrow himself playing a great number of different instruments. One of the consort’s great achievements was to bring to early music a professionalism and flair that suited the concert platform. Gone were long pauses for tuning, jargon-laden introductions and applause between each short piece. Munrow planned his concerts to include both a pleasing contrast of music and a trajectory for the evening as a whole. As Howard Mayer Brown put it so well in an obituary:
The special quality that set David Munrow apart, or so it seems to me, was […] an uncanny ability, given only to a few great teachers, to convince large numbers of people that what was important and attractive to him should also be attractive and important to them. (Early Music 4, no. 3, 1976).
One of Munrow’s (many) important achievements with the Early Music Consort of London was to build on and further develop ideas of folk-influenced performance with panache and showmanship, particularly in medieval dance repertoire. In fact, Munrow often played medieval dances as concert encores and audiences loved his quick-fire shawm technique and his audacious recorder trills as he skilfully decorated the melodic lines whilst other members of the consort provided percussion and drone accompaniment.
Video of Munrow showing off his impressive shawm technique, in a 14th-century Italian Saltarello
Often such performances were so elaborate that James Bowman has remembered they were fondly referred to amongst the consort as ‘Turkish night-club music’ (BBC Radio 3, Mr Munrow, His Study, 2006). Even this little joke might contain important information because one of the many performers Munrow admired was Mustafa Kandirali, the Turkish folk clarinettist whose records he collected.
Early music, and medieval music in particular, has a long association with using folk music-models as templates for performance. The results are often fascinating, beautiful and striking, and despite current theories promoting predominantly vocal performance in medieval motets and chansons, the bright array of medieval instruments, with all their folk-resonances, remain a source of fascination and preoccupation for many musicians and audiences in the medieval dance repertoire.
Certainly David Munrow was a performer in which dazzling technical ability met with both an active historical imagination and a keen musicianship enabling him to explore this area of medieval music in both performance and theory. Added to his abilities as a public speaker and broadcaster he brought such orientalisms and medievalisms into the mainstream during the 1970s and, even though the shifting sands of musicology have outdated some of his ideas, his performances are still treasured today for their vitality and conviction.
© Edward Breen 2015 – All rights reserved
Thanks are due to David Griffith for the photo of the EMC, which came from his excellent David Munrow website.

Also of interest

The forgotten harpsichord teacher of Christopher Hogwood & Colin Tilney (in whose living room the Early Music Consort rehearsed).
Contemporaries of David Munrow Remember

Jeremy Barlow
Very interesting. I was with David Munrow in the RSC Wind Band at Stratford for the 1965 season. David played bassoon in the band and I think Guy Woolfenden also wrote for him on recorder. But I don’t remember him writing for any of the other early wind instruments that David played, though I could be wrong. One reason that Guy may not have written for any other instrument than bassoon or recorder was that, even in 1965, David had many other commitments and often put in a deputy. So busy was he that on one night two bassoonists turned up, while for another performance no-one appeared. If Guy had written for crumhorn or shawm it would have been hard at that time for David to find a deputy on the instrument.
By the way, Guy Woolfenden was a fine musical director, but I wouldn’t describe him as ‘visionary’.


Tuesday, 12 May 2015

The Play of Daniel

David Munrow had planned to do the classic Play of Daniel..but it was not be.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
The Play of Daniel, or Ludus Danielis, is either of two medieval Latin liturgical dramas based on the biblical Book of Daniel, one of which is accompanied by monophonic music.
Two medieval plays of Daniel survive. The first is one of the plays in the Fleury Playbook, a 13th-century manuscript containing ten liturgical dramas; the text is by Hilarius, and no music accompanies it. The play itself dates from c. 1140. The second is a 13th-century drama with monophonic music, written by students at the school of Beauvais Cathedral, located in northern France. Both plays were completed about 1227 to 1234.[1] A large portion of the text is poetic rather than strictly liturgical in origin; it closely follows the narrative of the biblical story of Daniel at the court of Belshazzar.[2]
The latter play was revived in the 1950s by Noah Greenberg, director of the New York Pro Musica; a commentary in English, written and performed by W. H. Auden, was used in some of their performances. A recorded 1958 performance by the group at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and featuring boy choristers of the Church of the Transfiguration as satraps and soldiers, was released by Decca, with sleeve notes by Paul Henry Lang and Dom Rembert Weakland, O.S.B., who had discovered the text at the British Library.[3] Since the New York Pro Musica production it has enjoyed many performances among early music troupes.[4] Also important in the history of modern revivals of the Beauvais Cathedral version, Daniel was the 1985 production of the Boston Camerata, staged by Andrea von Ramm, with musical direction by Joel Cohen. In 2008, The Dufay Collective and William Lyons released their CD, "The Play of Daniel" on the Harmonia Mundi usa label. A new production of The Play of Daniel by The Boston Camerata, this time under the direction of French-born medievalist Anne Azéma, was presented in Boston in November, 2014. Daniel was played by tenor, Jordan Weatherston Pitts.
In 2008, a new production, staged by Drew Minter with musical direction by Mary Anne Ballard in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the noted Cloisters production of 1958, was created, also at the Cloisters. The show has been reprised in subsequent seasons, in 2012 at the Cloisters and in 2013 and 2014 as part of the Twelfth Night Festival at Trinity Church Wall Street.



  1. Jump up ^ http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O76-PlayofDanielThe.html
  2. Jump up ^ Eugene, Enrico. "The Play of Daniel: European Music Series". Oklahoma: The University of Oklahoma. Retrieved 2009-11-18. 
  3. Jump up ^ Joseph Kerman, Contemplating Music. Harvard, 1985, p. 195.
  4. Jump up ^ "Play of Daniel: Songs of Peace". Songs of Peace Online. Retrieved 2009-11-18. 


  • The Dufay Collective: The Play of Daniel. harmonia mundi usa, 2008

Further reading[edit]

  • Richard H. Hoppin, Medieval Music. New York, W.W. Norton & Co., 1978.
  • Stevens, John. "Medieval Drama, II", in Grove Music Online (Accessed October 11, 2006), (subscription access)

The Play of Daniel / The Play of Herod Ref Amazon

The David Munrow Collection

Back in 1986 I attended the Open Exhibition on "Musical Instruments" featuring the David Munrow Collection. Ofcourse, he had a very large collection of instruments, and those displayed were catalogued in a special brochure for the occasion. Unfortunately, I do not have a copy of it. Among other things including two, or more rare photos of Munrow there was a bar area where Ancestral Voices was being played on a television. Ancestral Voices was his last recorded public appearance as a tv presenter discussing old musical instruments. Not long after its completion Munrow took his own life. RS

Crafts Council The 2nd Crafts Council Open Exhibition "Musical Instruments" featuring the collection of David Munrow 1942-1976.

London Crafts Council 1986 Soft cover Very Good Brochure 4to - over 9¾ - 12" tall
4th June - 31st August 1986. Brochure for the exhibition containing essays on "A Decade of Historical Instrument Making 1976-1986" by Ian Harwood, "20th Century Instruments" by Hugh Davies, and "David Munrow (1942-1976)" by Margaret Birley. Includes a checklist of "The Collection of David Munrow 1942-1976). Few pencil markings.

Photo source Wikipedia

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]