Exclusive - David Munrow on the record

My Future Radio programme on Sunday December 30th takes an exclusive look at David Munrow on the record. In the early 1970s the scores for the BBC TV series The Six Wives of Henry VIII and Elisabeth R brought David Munrow’s music to millions. His Pied Piper radio programme was broadcast four times a week for five years, he presented a successful TV series, and wrote the scores for several major feature films including Ken Russell’s The Devils and the film version of HenryVIII (sleeve below).

David Munrow's interest in early music started when he taught in Peru before going up to Cambridge. He combined reading English at Pembroke College with independent studies of Renaissance and medieval music, and went on to form his famous Early Music Consort of London. Under his leadership the Early Music Consort became best-selling recording artists, and David Munrow’s records were considered so important that copies of them were sent to Saturn on board two NASA spacecraft in 1976.

Today David Munrow is remembered by the records he made for EMI that started in 1971 with the LP Two Renaissance Dance Bands. He was brought to EMI by their double Grammy winning recording producer Christopher Bishop (above left) who produced Munrow's first records for EMI, and who also worked with Carlo Maria Giulini, André Previn, Yehudi Menuhin, Sir Adrian Boult and many other great musicians. Christopher Bishop is my guest on Future Radio on Sunday December 30th, and he will be giving listeners an exclusive look at David Munrow on the record. The photo above shows Christopher with me in the Future Radio studios looking at the album Two Renaissance Dance Bands. As well as discussing David Munrow's work we will be playing his recordings. These will include an excerpt from a rare early tape of Christopher Bishop conducting his own London Madrigal Singers and the Munrow Recorder Consort in a Weelkes madrigal.

* David Munrow on the record was broadcast on Future Radio on December 30th, 2007 and is currently available on Soundcloud.

Playlist for David Munrow on the record, Dec 30, 2007:
* Thomas Weelkes: Hark all ye lovely Saints, 3.00", London Madrigal Singers and Munrow Recorder Consort conducted by Christopher Bishop - BBC Third Programme recording 1970
* Tylman Susato: 12 Dances from the Danserye
La Mourisque, 1.13"
Branle Quatre - Bransles, 1.38"
Rondo & Salterelle, 1.34"
from Two Renaissance Dance Bands LP EMI HQS 1249 (Reissued as Pleasures of the Court)
* David Munrow: Henry VIII and his Six Wives
Pastime with good company, 1.32"
Joust, 2.34"
from Henry VIII and his Six Wives LP HMV CSD 9001
* Johann Sebastian Bach: Brandenburg Concerto No. 4, 3rd movement, Sir Adrian Boult conducting London Philharmonic Orchestra, 5.08" from LP EMI SLS 866
* Giuseppe Sammartini: Concerto in F major, 3rd movement Neville Marriner conducting Academy of St Martin in the Fields, 4.05" from LP HMV ASD 3028

For a range of David Munrow resources follow this link.

With thanks to Future Radio for making the programme possible, and in particular to Dan Nyman editor extraordinaire. Also thanks, again, to James the joiner for the sleeve scans. Studio photograph (c) On An Overgrown Path 2007. Other copyrighted material on these pages is included as "fair use", for the purpose of study, review or critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s). Report broken links, missing images and errors to - overgrownpath at hotmail dot co dot uk


Pliable said…
Email received:

One of my favorite shows David Munrow did was one hosted by Clement Freud : So you thought it all started with Bach? It was billed as a trilogy in two parts.

He is a great loss to the music world.


David Cavlovic

rchrd said…
I used to hear David Munrow regularly on Radio 3 when I lived in London in 1973.

I only wish now that I had recorded them. One expects things like that to just go on forever. Now it's just a memory.
Rodney Lister said…
Just a little correction. The music for The Devil's was written by Peter Maxwell Davies (now Sir). Monroe presumably supplied the bits of real old music--I remember some Praetorius dances--that are in the movie from time to time.
Pliable said…
Rodney, you are correct. The film credit lists David Munrow as 'period music arranger and director'.


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