From the Library: The Early Music Show

Today, we’re fea­tur­ing the music of Gryphon , the British “Mediæ­val Rock Band” who man­aged to get Crumhorns into the Top 30.

The band was formed in the ear­ly 1970s by Richard Har­vey, Bri­an Gul­land, Graeme Tay­lor and David Ober­lé, all with excep­tion­al musi­cal abil­i­ty and often clas­si­cal train­ing. Their first, epony­mous album was com­plet­ed in an attic four-track stu­dio in South Lon­don and was an imme­di­ate hit: the record label, Transat­lantic, sold out rapid­ly and it became quite hard to find.

The sec­ond, Mid­night Mushrumps, fea­tured music writ­ten for Peter Hal­l’s Old Vic pro­duc­tion of The Tem­pest. The third, Red Queen to Gryphon Three, was a four-part orig­i­nal work and the band toured the US and UK with it, sup­port­ing Yes in 1974–75. The fourth, Rain­dance, was record­ed around Mid­sum­mer 1975. The band fell out with Transat­lantic a lit­tle after this time and moved to EMI’s Har­vest label: their final album, and only one on that label, was Trea­son. They were essen­tial­ly killed off a lit­tle over 30 years ago by the rise of punk music, where musi­cal abil­i­ty count­ed for lit­tle, and each mem­ber went on to pur­sue his own dis­tinct musi­cal career — with notable suc­cess­es.

Last Sat­ur­day, at the Queen Eliz­a­beth Hall in Lon­don, the band re-formed for a one-time-only acoustic set, where they will played mate­r­i­al from the first two albums plus a few oth­er num­bers. It was an excel­lent per­for­mance. Line-up for the gig was Richard Har­vey (recorders, crumhorns, key­boards, man­dolin et al), Bri­an Gul­land (bas­soon, recorders, crumhorn, organ, vocals), Graeme Tay­lor (gui­tars), Dave Ober­le (per­cus­sion and vocals) , Jon Davie (bass), and the band was joined by Gra­ham Pres­kett (key­boards, vio­lin, et al) who may be known to some in the indus­try as a not­ed pro­duc­tion and film music com­pos­er and mul­ti-instru­men­tal­ist.

Today, just in case you could­n’t make it to the con­cert, we’ll hear all Gryphon’s albums plus some live ses­sion record­ings and tracks that did­n’t make it on to the orig­i­nal discs.

In addi­tion we’ll be play­ing music from oth­er artists who have revived Ear­ly Music both Renais­sance and Mediæ­val, includ­ing Wol­ge­mut, Corvus Corax, Qntal, Mince Pye and many more. We hope you enjoy the pro­gramme.

The Ear­ly Music Show is pre­sent­ed approx­i­mate­ly once a month by Elrik Mer­lin. We changed our sched­ules on June 1 and as a result you’ll be hear­ing Elrik’s pro­grammes on Mon­days and Sat­ur­days from now on, and we hope to pub­lish a reg­u­lar sched­ule short­ly, although we will still pre-empt nor­mal pro­gram­ming from time to time for spe­cial events, anniver­saries and oth­er excus­es for a good musi­cal time.

From the Library is pro­duced in con­junc­tion with the Alexan­dri­an Free Library Con­sor­tium, and is pre­sent­ed by Elrik Mer­lin. For more about the work of the Con­sor­tium, please click here. You can lis­ten to today’s pro­gramme on our Main Stream as fol­lows:

If you want to have the Radio Riel Main Stream play­ing on your par­cel, please set the media music URL to:

If you want to lis­ten off-world, click here. If that does­n’t work, try the link above.

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