And all the winds go sighing
August 3, 2011 7:34 AM   Subscribe

David Munrow was a pioneering performer of renaissance and medieval music. He amassed an impressive discography in all too brief career, formed the Early Music Consort of London and gained a popular audience through his music for the hit BBC TV series The Six Wives of Henry VIII and Elizabeth R. In 1976, after the death of his father, he hanged himself at the age of 33. A year later, Voyager carried his recording of "The Fairie Round" to the outer planets and beyond.
posted by joannemullen (10 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
I'd never heard of Munrow despite my admittedly dilettante interest in early music. There's a lot to dig through here. Thanks for posting.
posted by immlass at 8:35 AM on August 3, 2011

50 albums in 10 years? Without the in-depth study of music history, that would be impressive. Tack on the fact that he studied and promoted a forgotten era of music, it's bloody impressive.

YouTube user Earlier Music has some videos of Munrow. Here's another clip of Munrow, sadly jumping in mid-topic, but it's a fantastic glimpse of a very energetic Munrow playing and talking about early music.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:36 AM on August 3, 2011 [2 favorites]

And here's Fairie Round from the Voyager Gold Disc.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:38 AM on August 3, 2011

I only recently discovered the Early Music Consort of London, but I immediately purchased The Art of The Netherlands and Music of the Crusades.

Interestingly, the Early Music Consort performed all of the (mostly Flemish) music for the 1974 Eddy Merckx documentary La Course En Tête. Since viewing this scene, I have decided that when I become wealthy, I shall hire a man on a scooter to follow me around during my bike rides, all the while playing a shawm.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:18 AM on August 3, 2011 [2 favorites]

This is lovely, and I have blatantly stolen filthy_light_thief's Youtube link for Google+ because it's too good not to share. Thank you!

(filthy, if you are on Google+, I apologize. I didn't see you there, though.)
posted by misha at 9:28 AM on August 3, 2011


I liked his recordings very much when I was a kid and heard him in concert In Berkeley a month before he killed himself. Such a loss.
posted by Numenius at 10:28 AM on August 3, 2011

Watch the first minute or so of filthy light thief's video and tell me that early music is not rock music. Go on, do it. (Or jazz, as Munrow says.)
posted by Polyhymnia at 10:30 AM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

Danmnit! Now there is a whole other genre of music, and it's rock star, for me to obsess about. Thanks a lot, joannemullen. I liked the clips of him demonstrating those medieval instruments. So cool!
posted by Foam Pants at 10:47 AM on August 3, 2011

My initial exposure to so-called "early music" was by way of the BBC series "The Six Wives of Henry VIII" and "Elizabeth R", which ran here in the US on Masterpiece Theater ~1970-71 when I was about 10. This was before the web (!) and during a time when access to more sophisticated and / or varied musical fare was generally limited. So it took a bit of detective work and diligence over time to acquire a greater exposure to and familiarity with it; it remains my favorite musical genre. (Who says TV doesn't have at least some redeeming qualities?)

But I did not know David Munrow was a suicide. Damn. May he rest in peace.

Thanks for a great post!
posted by cool breeze at 1:22 PM on August 3, 2011

I watched Elizabeth R again a few years ago, and it has aged very well. Even more fun to watch this time around. The music was perfectly suitable. That is higher praise than it sounds - I grew up with a mother who was an early music fanatic.

I'd never heard of David Munrow, however. Thank you.
posted by QIbHom at 12:57 PM on August 4, 2011

« Older There's no Cure for Student Loans   |   Greyfriars Bobby A Hoax Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments