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Robert Munns


sjf1967
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Sad to report to forum members that Robert Munns died recently. A great champion of British repertoire - he premiered the Kenneth Leighton Concerto, for example -  and one of that breed of versatile and musically broadly-read organists who did so much for the instrument in their generation. Also a fine and wise teacher; I was lucky to come into his orbit at a formative stage, and I owe him much. RIP.

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He is mentioned in the book “Wednesdays at 5.55, Organ Recitals at the RFH” as an innovative player.  His recital in 1972 included the ‘Dorian’ Toccata and Fugue in D minor and Johann Krebs’ Trio in C minor (then more usually attributed to Bach).  Not ‘contemporary’ music, but could probably be considered missionary repertoire at that date. Pierre Cochereau, no less, withdrew from giving a recital two weeks later on the strength of Robert Munns’ getting in first with his performance of the ‘Dorian’ which Cochereau had also planned in his programme.

I only heard Robert Munns play ‘live’ once at the 1963 reopening of the Walker organ, rebuilt by Kingsgate Davidson, in St Giles’ Church, Ashtead, Surrey - the first organ I had ever played while at school in the 1950s.  I have a feeling he may have had some personal family connection with Ashtead, but can’t find details of his earliest years.  He held a number of important church appointments, including Holy Trinity, Brompton, alongside his extensive teaching and recital performances.  He held diplomas of the RCM, RAM, RCO and TCL.

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