A Touch of Velvet, A Sting of Brass

in Daily Programme

by Elrik Merlin on Saturday, 12 July, 2008

From the Library today features music with brass as a central link as much as a central theme, joining two related musical worlds, and pieces that will be both familiar and unfamiliar.

On the one hand we have out-and out brass music, in both classical and jazz-influenced veins, ranging from Dixieland, the music of Mardi Gras and the roots of jazz (including some original recordings over a century old), to classical pieces written or arranged for brass. On the other, we have a collection of instrumental light music, often (but not always) also featuring brass – from the likes of Bert Kaempfert to big band pieces that are seldom heard today, written as they were for music libraries that were not available to the public at the time but were used in obscure applications such as to accompany early television test cards.

The link between these worlds is a piece called A Touch of Velvet, A Sting of Brass, by composer/producer Mark Wirtz, a German who came to the UK in the 60s and penned a string of pop hits that were part of a never-completed project called A Teenage Opera. At the same time he wrote several instrumentals that were widely played at the time, and the track mentioned above became the theme music for a DJ on one of Britain’s off-shore radio stations that changed the face of popular music forever.

There are some other tracks in today’s collection that may trigger a memory – or perhaps raise an eyebrow: like Peter Skellern’s marvellous You’re a Lady, arranged for full brass band and over-the-top choir (thanks Soliel), Kate Rusby’s Underneath the Stars, and other songs in which you might encounter brass in an unusual or unexpected setting. In any event, we hope you will enjoy the journey.

• From the Library is produced by Radio Riel in conjunction with the Caledon Library in Second Life. Today’s programme was produced by Elrik Merlin.

For more information on the Caledon Library, current exhibits and the work of Second Life reference libraries in general, please visit the Caledon Library Web site, or one of their locations in-world.

You can listen now at http://music.radioriel.org — the ideal URL for you to use in your home parcel media address in-world — or simply visit any Caledon Library branch in-world and press Play on your embedded music player. (If you want to listen off-world, eg in Winamp or iTunes, and the above address doesn’t work for you, click here.)

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