Thames Valley Early Music Forum
TVEMF workshop-William Mundy
Some 50 enthusiasts gathered at The Church of the Holy Innocents, Paddenswick Road on 15th February to extend their acquaintance with the work of William Mundy, who is distinguished (quite apart from the quality of his musical output) by the fact that the article about him in Grove gives five other spellings of his name. It is perhaps not fanciful to speculate that the Latin epigram "Ut lucem solis sequitur lux proxima luna, sic tu post Birdum Munde secunde venit" printed at the end of "Sive Vigilem" owes its origin to the variant spelling "Moondaye".
I suspect that very few of us had ever sung anything by William Mundy except "O Lord, the Maker", which is in the Tudor Anthem book. With hindsight, it might have been more satisfactory to begin with that relatively well-known piece, because the Arctic conditions in the church (due to a broken window), combined with some uncertainty in singing the plainchant sections of the Kyrie "Orbis Factor" combined to create rather heavy going in our attempts to master that item, with which we began the programme.
Grove, in a rather sniffy article, gives "O Lord the Maker" and "O Lord I bow the knee", which we also studied, the muted accolade of being "of some interest", but describes Sive vigilem and Beatus et sanctus as "two striking pieces"; and certainly we seemed to approach Sive vigilem with more confidence and a greater sense of enjoyment. Refreshed by lunch (at any rate in the case of those who repaired to The Thatched House), we returned to the warmer ambience of the church hall to tackle Adolescentulus sum ego. Fortunately, the percussion obbligato provided by the energetic activities of the children in the room above did not prove too distracting, though a short oxygen break was found to be necessary.
Tea was followed by a return to the church for a sing through which, apart from some uncertainties in the Kyrie, made a very satisfactory end to an interesting and rewarding occasion, for which we are all grateful to Alistair Dixon and the organisers. There is no doubt that many of us would enjoy a further exploration of Mundy, perhaps in combination with another of his contemporaries whose music we rarely get the chance to sing.
© Sidney Ross 2017