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The Mediaeval Free Company

Here is another video from the Legendary Ten Seconds, this time in honour of a group of Roses re-enactors

Below is an army featuring a zombie, which is how “David” must include Sir Hugh Swynford in the 1470-1 battles.

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The Legendary Ten Seconds again

They will be performing at Coleridge Church on 5th March and for the Devon and Cornwall Branch of the Richard III Society on 26th May. Read more here

Making music – in Latin?

Jukka Ammondt is a Finnish professor of literature who has translated some Elvis Presley songs into Latin. This BBC post from 2006 gives some examples, including “Cor Ligneum”. Is “Es Solus Canis Venaticus” is part of his repertoire? Do the Latin translations scan as well as the original lyrics?

In this context, many readers will remember Mike Oldfield’s version of “In Dulce Jubilo” or the chorus from “Oh, What a Circus” (the UK number three single from Evita).

It isn’t only modern music, either originally or in translation, that seems to feature Latin, but also cashpoint instructions in the Vatican City.

A “The Legendary Ten Seconds” Christmas

Murrey-and-Blue by The Legendary Ten Seconds to be released on 1st November 2017 which is the anniversary of when Richard, later Richard III, was created the Duke of Gloucester in 1461.

 

A concept album of songs by The Legendary Ten Seconds about the Wars of the Roses and England in the late fifteenth century.

 

Featuring the following songs:-

 

  • The Boars Head, a song inspired by the chapter in a book by Toni Mount about a medieval Christmas.
  • John Judde, who died at a battle at St Albans, another song inspired from Toni Mount’s book about life in medieval London.
  • The Medieval Free Company, inspired by a display of archery and medieval life of a Wars of the Roses reenactment group at Buckland Abbey.
  • Plantagenet Pavane, a stately dance usually in slow duple time but in true Legendary Ten Seconds style this instrumental is played in triple time.
  • Francis Cranley, a song about the main character in a Ricardian novel called The Woodville Connection written by Kathy Martin.
  • The Woodville Household, a song for the fifteenth century reenactment group who portray the retinue of Sir Anthony Woodville.
  • The Month of May, a fictional exchange of letters written during 1483.
  • John Nesfield’s Retinue, this instrumental is for the retinue of John Nesfield.
  • The Seventh of August, Henry Tudor lands at Mill Bay in August 1485 with his French mercenaries. A song inspired by a book written by Chris Skidmore.
  • The Dublin King, a song about Lambert Simnel and the battle of Stoke in 1487,

inspired after reading a book of the same name by John Ashdown-Hill.

  • Lambeth MS 474, an instrumental for the book of hours of Richard III
  • Shining Knight, written by Riikka Katajisto and Ian Churchward for all the Ricardian ladies who have fallen in love with Richard III of which there are very many.
  • Court of King Richard III, a new 2017 recording of the song which was originally featured on the Tant le desiree album. The version of this song features new bass guitar and singing.
  • White Surrey August 1485, another new 2017 recording of the song which was

originally featured on the Tant le desiree album which features a mix of new recordings and also old recordings of the original version of this popular song.

 

Album artwork painted by G Harman of Red fox illustrations.

 

Ian Churchward vocals, guitars and mandola.

 

Lord Zarquon keyboards, bass and drums.

 

David Clifford bass guitar on John Judde, The Medieval Free Company, Court of King Richard III and White Surrey August 1485.

 

Rob Bright guitar on John Judde, John Nesfield’s Retinue and The Seventh of August.

 

Pippa West vocals on The Boars Head, The Medieval Free Company, Francis Cranley and The Month of May.

 

Elaine Churchward vocals on The Seventh of August.

 

Camilla Joyce vocals on the 2017 versions of Court of King Richard III and White Surrey.

 

John Bessant lap steel guitar on The Dublin King and Lambeth MS 474.

 

All songs written by Ian Churchward except Shining Knight written by Riikka Katajisto and Ian Churchward.

 

All songs arranged by Lord Zarquon.

 

Recorded in Torbay at Rock Lee and Rainbow Starshine studios for Richard The Third Records.

 

THE MONTH OF MAY (1483)

Dearly beloved I greet you this day

So much has happened in the month of May

The stench from the street assaults my nose

How I do long for the scent of a rose

 

The news of the queen is very disturbing

Remaining in sanctuary so we are learning

The date of the coronation is set

One Sunday in June it’s not happened yet

 

Dearly beloved I greet you good day

So much has happened since the month of May

Of true honesty there’s nought to be had

And the stench from the Thames it is terribly bad

 

The news of Lord Hastings is very disturbing

Of his execution this we are learning

The date of the coronation draws near

Of its cancellation I really do fear

Lannister and York: Kasabian’s III Ray (The King)

A very unusual video came down my timeline the other day; at first I thought it was a joke (ok, ok, I’m older than God and am no longer in touch with the current music scene!) but it seems I was very wrong.  Successful Leicester band Kasabian have released a music trailer for their new song III Ray–The King (which contains the lyrics ‘King for a Day) which uses the finding of Richard’s remains as a basis. It is funny but silly, and certainly won’t be to everyone’s taste, but even if it’s taking the mickey, it seems to be poking fun in  a non-vicious way.

In the video, a female history freak holds seances and lights candles in a carpark and then, magically,  Richard appears! Stunned and dazed, the King is dragged through the streets of Leicester like a celebrity lumbered by his ‘biggest fan’. He ends up in a pub, where he immediately notices the low necklines on the female population, and finds out that beer is much stronger in the 21st c than in the 15th! At the end though, magic doesn’t last and he can only be ‘king for a day.’

Richard is played by Michael Socha , star of THIS IS ENGLAND, and at least is in the right age group and wearing clothes that are actually based on those in Richard’s portraits (better than what we’ve recently  seen on certain documentaries fronted by ‘historians’, ahem.)

Perhaps the most interesting part of the Kasabian video is that ‘the fan’ is played by Lena Headey, star of the wildly successful series  GAMES OF THRONES, in which she plays the scheming and incestuous Cersei Lannister. GOT  is, in part, based on Wars of the Roses, and many characters are amalgamations of historical figures mixed with the author’s own ideas. Some believe Cersei is  partly based on Elizabeth Woodville and partly on Margaret of Anjou. The character also did  the infamous ‘Walk of Shame’ which was clearly based on Jane Shore’s penance…only it was much, much worse.

VIDEO

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-4836734/Game-Thrones-star-Lena-Headey-Kasabian-video.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jf3CPnDMVz0

A pastoral tale

This article investigates why, as the Mediaeval Warm Period drew to a close, Britain (and particularly England) developed differently to many nations of Southern Europe.

Sandbrook mentions two major cultural factors: the tradition of salting bacon because ham could not be dry-cured and the evolution of the wool trade through the systematic elimination of the flock’s only natural predator – the wolf – through a hunting campaign led by Peter Corbet, from a Shropshire family, under Edward I. Corbet, who fought at Falkirk, may even have given his name to this.

Sheep could now safely be domesticated and their numbers greatly expanded. In Florence, the Medici saw the banking system develop as a result. In England, the best evidence is all around us. Whilst the Woolsack (left) has been a dominant feature of the House of Lords for centuries, the wealth generated

by the wool and cloth trade is reflected in properties throughout the country, but particularly in East Anglia, the region generally closest to the European mainland and the other territories of the Hanseatic League. In particular, Lavenham (below), Hadleigh and Woodbridge still have many such distinctive timber-framed houses, the former having been regarded as a town in the late mediaeval and Early Modern eras.

As Sandbrook goes on to explain, in his review of Robert Winder’s “The last Wolf”, writers from Chaucer (who married into the de la Pole family of wool barons) to Eliot and Orwell wrote of the traditions of the wool trade. It continued long after Corbet’s 1281-90 campaign and was to benefit from the technological developments of later centuries.

Richard III – the musical

There has been attempt to write this already and some of the songs are available. The songwriter in question, who died during the process, was Anthony Newley, who would have been 86 today.

So how do they compare to other music on the subject?

Now available:

On Richard The Third Records

Release date 22nd August 2017.

A new version of the song originally featured on their album Tant le Desiree by The Legendary Ten Seconds.

Featuring

Ian Churchward singing, playing guitar and mandolin

Lord Zarquon with the sound of the mellotron and drums

David Clifford playing his Rickenbacker bass guitar

Camilla Joyce performing backing vocals

Artwork by Frances Quinn

Available in digital format only on CD Baby, itunes, and Amazon.

Recorded in Torbay at Rock Lee and Rainbow Starshine studios

 

See here for further details.WhiteSurrey

“HIS STANDARD PROUDLY ON DISPLAY

THE BURNISHED ARMOUR SHINES

RICHARD UPON WHITE SURREY

HIS KNIGHTS FALL IN BEHIND

 

THE MEDIEVAL CANNONS BLAST

AT HENRY TUDOR’S MEN

RICHARD UPON WHITE SURREY

FACING DEATH AGAIN

 

THE HORSES REACHING GALLOP

THE LANCES COMING DOWN

RICHARD UPON WHITE SURREY

THUNDER ON THE GROUND

 

MY HORSE, MY HORSE MY WHITE SURREY

FOR YORK AND ENGLAND MY WHITE SURREY”

An interesting exhibition of medieval effigies and costume….

Courtesy of the Mortimer History Society:

Pembridge costume exhibition

My versions of mediaeval Kings

Why is it that one particular image will capture the perceived essence of a medieval king in one’s mind?

When one hears music for the first time, it will be that first rendition/interpretation that stays, and by which one will judge all others. At least, that is how it is with me. No matter how many recordings of Max Bruch’s incomparable Violin Concerto No. 1 in G Minor I hear, the only one that will always be ultimate perfection is by Jascha Heifetz, who passed away in 1987. The recording I have is on vinyl, from the very early 1960s. It is matchless, and reduces me to tears every time I hear it.

I am not saying that images of medieval kings do the same, just that there will always be one that stands out and cries, “Here I am! This is how I really was!” Except The above likenesses are not from the kings’ actual periods, because most medieval illustrations are standardised and give nothing away of the real men within. So my impressions are gained from paintings or performances that arrest my attention.

Above you will see some of them. You may not agree with my choice, but that is the point. They are my choice. Edward I will always be Patrick McGoohan to me. A face like handsome granite, and a voice like gravel. The ultimate in strong kings.

Blake Ritson in ‘Pillars of the Earth’ epitomised my idea of the young Edward III, dashing and flirtatious, yet incredibly brave and a brilliant warrior. This performance brought Edward to the fore for me. Loved it. It was because of this Edward that I bought Ian Mortimer’s ‘Perfect King’, which is a great biography.

Alan Howard’s Richard II was visually perfect – as the real Richard II, not from anyone’s play. Richard II is perhaps one of the most complex kings to ever rule England. He fascinates, but never gives his inner self away. A monarch who really believed he was on the throne by divine right.

Tom Hiddleston created Henry V for me. This king has never inspired me, even though he did amazing things on the battle field. He just doesn’t do it, if you know what I mean. But if I think of him, I think Tom Hiddleston. One thing that is not in Henry’s favour, of course, if that he selfishly and thoughtlessly died young! If he hadn’t done that, his widow would never have become embroiled with someone called Tudor! So, it’s Henry V’s fault.

The painting of Edward IV and his family with Caxton was riveting from the first moment. There he is, larger than life and absolutely gorgeous in red with white fur. He is the Sun in Splendour. No wonder the fair sex fell at his feet. What an attractive, commanding figure he must have been. Such a pity that he deteriorated into a blob. I’m reminded of Elvis Presley, so fit and lithe as a young man, but an overweight parody toward the end. Edward IV, in  his prime,  is this image for me. Let’s not think of what he was to become.

Then we have Richard III, of course. Graham Turner’s painting says it all for me. This Richard should have won, and skewered Henry Tudor in the process. He was cheated of victory, but in these captured moments before the battle commenced, he is magnificent. Handsome, tragic, noble, trapped by circumstances that were created by others and forced upon him like millstones. No getting old and perhaps ugly for him, he will be young forever, and matchless forever. No wonder he still inspires such loyalty.

Finally there is the Whitehall mural of Henry VII, which was painted in the 17th century, after Holbein. Henry is tall, almost willowy, and definitely serpentine. Now that I have seen a picture of his funeral effigy here, I believe he really did look like this. Almost as if his limbs were on the point of disconnection. A real clothes horse. He wasn’t dressed, he was draped with kingly finery, and I am sure he didn’t walk, he glided. A flicking forked tongue as well? Probably not, but the last thing the unwary would ever hear would be a hiss…

Yes, I’ve missed some: Edward II, Henry IV, Henry VI…perhaps because I have yet to pinpoint them. I don’t think Henry VI will ever take shape for me, but I’d like to have a mental picture of Edward II and Henry IV. We know so much about them, but their physical appearance remains mysterious. To me, at least. They still swirl around in the ether of my mind, and will maybe drop down into place soon.

So, there you have some of my kings. What would your choice be?

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