Author Topic: David Munrow recordings - a quality statement  (Read 5477 times)

twogoodears

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David Munrow recordings - a quality statement
« on: August 13, 2008, 07:59:57 AM »
Hi all.

As an avid music lover and disc collector, and, last but not least, an audio lover, I always guessed "why" almost all Early Music Consort and DM's discs reached this stellar quality: great dynamics, great soundstage, superbly detailed sound, cohesion among musicians, and an overall quality feeling.

Maybe the friendship among fellow musicians and relaxed working method played a key role, improving their playing, as they blindly trusted on DM's direction and leadership.

During the decades, my simple, naive passion for sound became a profession, recording, choosing recording venues and mikes and patterns, and musicians and mikes positions... again the fantastic B/W pixes in DM's (and others) discs booklets helped a lot... in one of my most beloved David's recordings, "The Amorous Flute" on Argo, you can see a large, wooden paved hall, musicians were almost in the middle of it, miked quite closely with top-notch Neumann small condensers (KM-84), but still the recording may be considered a stereo, live in studio recording - i.e. not an overproduced, made with tape-editing "THING"... this way, only, the emotion in recording pass... and it passed, indeed!

In a nice large picture in the booklet contained in Music from Gothic Era on Archiv, his last effort on vinyl, a semi-circle shows musicians all having their own mike: Neumann U-87 and U67 tube-mike large diaphragm for vocal, Neumann KM-84 for instruments... honest, no-frills, serious pro-approach, but still recorded in a lively large hall, with real acoustics and decay.

On Two Renaissance Bands on EMI, the technique was different: recorded in a church in London suburbs, Christopher Bishop and, if I'm correctly remembering, Stuart Eltham, recorded with minimal miking - i.e. Blumblein miking technique/pattern to capture musicians full bloom as a group, not pin-pointing the single musicians and correcting his or her dynamics.

The result was awesome... in a high resolution audio system, you'll be able to hear noises from musicians, and a motorbike and a car passing, like panpotting from left to right speakers, outside the church, as captured during recording sessions!

This apparently unwanted noises simply add trueness and "humanity" to the music... and a nice transparency and details retrival test for our audio systems, why not.

... but, beside the two quoting, every DM's recording is well worth a listen and exploration, sonically and musically...       
« Last Edit: August 13, 2008, 12:07:47 PM by twogoodears »

piedpiper

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Re: David Munrow recordings - a quality statement
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2008, 10:34:09 AM »

Stefano,

         The recording quality of DM and the Early Music Consort is good for its time....though I am no expert on the subject I have to confess! I hope though to know more about this subject of recording per se at some later data. The reason being my need to record some of my own "stuff" fairly soon..

If you do not mind me asking I assume you are Italian??

R.Searle....

twogoodears

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Re: David Munrow recordings - a quality statement
« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2008, 06:30:02 PM »
Hello Pied ;)

... definitely, yes... I'm italian, living in Italy, as well... re. recording: it's a REALLY intriguing field... just ask for more infos or, better yet, hire me ::)... what kind of music - silly question ;D - do you play/perform? Group or soloist? What's you instrument? Are you well rehearsed or needing lotta studio work (editing, etc.)

... and, most important, wishing to issue commercially limited editions vinyl or CD?

... BTW: I'm really, I mean REALLY happy I found this DM devoted Forum...

Cheers,

Stefano

P.S. - in my "aka" nickname, ears are "good", but - you're 120 percent correct - in real life, my ears are also quite "big" - being a 192 cm tall gentleman... are you a clairvoyant? ;)     

piedpiper

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Re: David Munrow recordings - a quality statement
« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2008, 08:16:07 PM »

Stefano,

          I would suggest you read the post entitled "Vocalised Dance Music is Suprisingly Widespread....." I assume you have some kind of internet prescence, and can give a link(s). I would also suggest you visit my blog which is:-

http://revelation.gaia.com/

There is a blog called Advanced Voice Instrumental Music which is easily traceable.

Also, my YouTube site may well be of interest.

http://www.youtube.com/user/Searle8


RS

twogoodears

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Re: David Munrow recordings - a quality statement
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2008, 07:09:22 AM »
Hello Robert and thanks for sharing some details about you, your interest and the like... I'm impressed, but not so much: let me better explain... your widespread interest, Greenaway, TFE, PHP, Munrow, various contacts with several Yogi Masters and personalities shows your very true human being... you, humbly said, like myself, also in finance as a main job, I learned to hate the western-style "saving" economy, banking system and funds-raising non-ethics... voil?.

Music, meditation, Web "right" sites and a good life... that's it.

... again: thanks for sharing some personal facts...

Please have a look to some links of mine: http://www.theanalogdept.com/stefano_bertoncello.htm and http://twogoodears.blogspot.com/  i.e. http://twogoodears.blogspot.com/2008/03/m-u-s-i-c-amendment-and-addendum.html
&
 http://twogoodears.blogspot.com/2007/12/m-u-s-i-c.html
Music reproduction, recording and guitar restoring and collecting are some of my deepest interests... BUT audio reproduction at home has a role in my life more akin to Zen than simply ugin electronic gears: ears training to micro details helps music played and viceversa... I love this "care" about sound in every form...

Re. Slough... am I correct or one of your "neighbors" is Robert Wyatt? Do you know him?

Have a nice weekend, Robert.

Cheers,

Stefano

P.S. - I recently began harmonic singing and practicing in double, harmonic chanting, w/Tibetan bells drones and loops... I'm really intrigued... another world opened at my ears. Like when years ago I began studying and playing oud, the arabic fretless lute... to better understand what I'm talking about: Anouar Brahem, the great oud player and Tunisian musician and my inspiration are well worth a try on any of his ECM disks... 
« Last Edit: August 15, 2008, 08:20:19 AM by twogoodears »

piedpiper

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Re: David Munrow recordings - a quality statement...and the Oud!
« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2008, 11:45:43 AM »

Stefano,

          Thank you for your links which proved to be interesting. Music is such a vast subject it is difficult to know where to start. Like myself you seem to be a bit eccentric, and ofcourse being Italian you are also very creative . That is what I like about your race....

I also saw your blog article on Munrow which was good to see even though it was in Italian! And this brings me to something which would be of interest.

Shortly after DM died there was a memorial radio programme about him put out by the BBC. It was very informative, and interesting. I have a private copy of it.

Anyway, in one of the items in it DM talked about his experiences with the Consort in the Middle East. In one country possibly Iraq he showed to his Arabic audience a renaissance lute....and then all of a sudden they shouted the  oud! the oud! And ofcourse this to a large extent seemed to ryme with lute!!

The reason why I bring this up is because you mention the oud in the above posting, and one of DMs achievements was to be one of the first people to make the music world aware of the seeming fact that a number of early musical instruments (eg. the shawm notably) originated from the Arabs.

R.Searle

twogoodears

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Re: David Munrow recordings - a quality statement
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2008, 06:40:12 PM »
Hello Robert... WOW... a radio airplay by DM... I'm jealous.

Re. oud: the Robert Spencer's instrument was made in Damascus, Syria and converted to a lute, with added frets, a method historically accepted as the one which brought the instrument to Europe, centuries ago...

Arabic reed instruments are so various and fascinating: consider duduk, a flute in apricot wood from Afghanistan and Armenia or nay from Egypt or suling from Bali... people always used cane, wood, bones and the like to blow inside and World is a small village... but, broadening the topic, shakuhachi from Japan, or santoor from India, which became a cimbalom in Hungary and zither in Germany or an hammered dulcimer in Ireland...

People moving in the centuries, the Crusades, Marco Polo and other merchants... all this and more made places like Utrecht, Venice, London, Madrid, Damascus places where ideas and novelties swapping was common... DM (like Rene Clemencic) discovered this: indian and arabic musical traditions, Courtly Love, Crusades, Perotin, Pope's Avignon adventure, S.L. Weiss, Bach... all is closely linked... our music is a powerful mix of every note played since 2.000 years ago.

Our musical memory is very deep and complex, it's a DNA affaire.     

piedpiper

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Re: David Munrow recordings - a quality statement
« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2008, 08:09:11 PM »
Stefano,

          I see you mention Robert Spencer who was a great lutenist, and scholar. He also had some dealings with Nigel North who happened to be a member of a sect I belonged to known as the Radha Soamis. He did some work for David Munrow, and said that "he was full of enthusiasm." Apparently, if I am not mistaken the word "enthusiasm" comes from a Greek word meaning the "God Within".

Anyway, Nigel North even made the point that there was an appreciation society for DM in New York! However, I can find no trace of it, and assume he was misinformed, or misinterpreted  some information given to him possibly. I think the notion of an "appreciation society" may be going too far even though he contributed much to early music, and he more than anyone else popularised the whole subject as never before.

I assume you know, or possibly have bought the DVD video for sale on site here entitled Early Musical Instruments introduced by DM?

R.Searle.

twogoodears

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Re: David Munrow recordings - a quality statement
« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2008, 08:32:36 PM »
Hello Robert... from the bottom of your thread... DVD: definitely yes and happily, indeed... that's how I came into this very Forum... I've been searching for the video tapes of these Granada's screenplays for years...

Re. appreciation society... as we're aware of, maybe a DM Appreciation Society exists in Kuala Lampur or Tokyo or Venice... it's, as you say, Web presence which is possibly lacking.

I'll sure made an invitation only musical soir? the next year DM's death anniversary, watching at David's Granada DVD, with some appreciation word about him for lesser known friends...

One is alone, but three is a crowd ;) and something is far, far better than nothing at all: I consider this the best appreciation ever... "Society" is, IMO, simply an unwanted, too organized shape for music and related stuffs... ::)

Radha Soamis... I'll do my homeworks investigating about this... thanks for hinting.

What do you know about John Renbourn and David Munrow collaboration, back in mid-sixties?

Cheers,

S.     
« Last Edit: August 16, 2008, 06:57:41 AM by twogoodears »

piedpiper

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Re: David Munrow recordings - a quality statement
« Reply #9 on: August 16, 2008, 10:40:33 AM »

Stefano,

          It is quite possible that an appreciation society exists, or existed in such places as Kuala Lumpur. Tokyo, and Venice. I am especially intrigued by the reference of Tokyo as the Japanese are  very keen on western early music (God knows why!). Moreover, DM was on tour with the Consort in Japan if I recall correctly.

Venice is also another possibility where an appreciation society may exist, or may have existed. It also has a  tragic connection because it was the place he was going to with his wife the day before he died if I recall correctly.

Unfortunately, I cannot throw light on the connection of DM with John Redbourne though I may well have contacted the latter on the subject. But I do not think I got a reply unless I do a search of my emails.

I may be revealing some new material onsite about DM from his various contemporaries. This was originally intended for an unauthorized biography which I may, or may not revive. At the moment, I am very busy.

Thanking you for intelligent imput.


Robert Searle.

         

         

SchubertMachiavelli

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Re: David Munrow recordings - a quality statement
« Reply #10 on: June 15, 2009, 03:53:07 PM »
I don't believe John Renbourn ever actually collaborated with DM although he was in deep awe of him and once confessed to a journalist that after a listen to a DM album "you'd never listen to me again!"

Renbourn was as much a revivalist of Early Music as he was a fan of jazz/blues/folk and used his considerable credentials as a member of Pentangle to make albums of Early Music that would have commercial appeal and critical appraisal in equal measure. I direct you specifically to the splendidly-titled "Sir John Alot of Merrie Englandes Musyk Thyng & ye Grene Knyghte" as your first port of call for Renbourn as Early Music proponent. From there, listen to any of his albums you'd care to find: he's most rewarding.

DM's most famous contribution to the folk music revival of the late 60s/early 70s (of which Renbourn was a major, major player indeed) was his arrangement and performances on Shirley & Dolly Collins' "Anthems In Eden" album. I recommend this to anyone interested in DM's 'pop' music forays: it's beautiful, autumnal, melancholy music!

As for the quality of Munrow's recordings - it's always been my belief that Decca in the 1960s had superior recording knowhow (if not equipment) to EMI when it came to Classical recording (by which I mean as opposed to 'pop') - they implemented stereo as the standard operating procedure much earlier on, and their placing of instruments in relation to mics yielded a far more convincing sound than equivalent contemporary stereophonic production on Pop Music of the same time. Compare the balanced 'sound picture' of, say, any one of John Culshaw's stereo recordings of Benjamin Britten's music with the considerably muddier, uneven sound of fellow Decca recording artists The Rolling Stones from the same era!

(great music from both though!)