St George’s Canzona: An important musical influence

In terms of musical tastes, I very much followed in my father’s footsteps…

I first came across St George’s Canzona (a group of singers and instrumentalists who concentrated upon Mediaeval and Renaissance music) in 1972 when my father was given ‘England Be Glad!’ (their first LP, I think) by a friend.


As soon as I heard it, aged fourteen, I knew that I had found my Soul Music (along with Baroque and Traditional Folk). I listened to that album over and over again – and, when Daddy died in 2007, it was one of the records I kept (with my siblings’ blessing).

When I was at university, I introduced my boyfriend, N, to St George’s Canzona – and we began to collect their records. I still have a somewhat battered copy of the double album ‘Roundheads and Cavaliers’, a pretty intact one of ‘A Tapestry of Music for Robin Hood and his King’ – and, again following my father’s death, the copy of ‘A Tapestry of Music for The Black Prince and his knights’ N. and I gave Dad for a birthday many decades ago.


Unfortunately, I cannot get Audacity to play my large record collection through the laptop any longer. But I will share a track with you, from YouTube:

I taught myself to play many of their songs and tunes on the recorder – and still play them whenever I can. Forty-four years on, I can still recall most of the variations of ‘Green-sleeves’ (from ‘England Be Glad!’), although the sheer weight of childhood memories associated with this tune almost invariably reduces me to tears before I’ve got much further than Variation Number One.

Perhaps I was a strange child, a weird adolescent. While most of my friends were going to discos, meeting boys, getting drunk and experimenting with smoking, I was sitting in my father’s study listening to Mediaeval music and pretending I was a maiden from the Middle Ages.

But then, what is normal? And, if I missed out on one aspect of typical teenage life, I certainly think I gained a huge amount from my solitary love affair with music.

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