Eclectic Music with a Classic(al) Thread When I started planning today's show (writes Elrik Merlin), I knew (more or less) what I wanted to include in it, but I hadn't the faintest idea what to call it - and as
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Mr Merlin’s Music Machine

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by Elrik Merlin on Saturday, 16 January, 2010

Eclectic Music with a Classic(al) Thread

When I started planning today's show (writes Elrik Merlin), I knew (more or less) what I wanted to include in it, but I hadn't the faintest idea what to call it - and as regular listeners will know, I like to call my shows something.

Today's is an extremely varied programme, including quite a bit of music that we don't normally play on Radio Riel's Main Stream, and, had one of my favourite public radio stations, KCRW in Santa Monica, not already used every possible programme title with the word "Eclectic" in it at some time in the last quarter-century, I might have called it Saturday Becomes Eclectic - but no, they did that too. I toyed with the prosaic - Modern Classics; the descriptive - Hang On To Your Hats or Fasten Your Seatbelts; and many more.

Eventually I went for a title that was essentially inspired by the subtitle of an FM station I was involved with in the early 70s, which came from an old PAMS jingle: "The Marvellous Music Machine". And thus, dear listeners, I give you: Mr Merlin's Music Machine ("Mr Merlin's Marvellous Music Machine" was just too Good Old Days - though I suppose I could have been really arcane and shortened that to "M5").

As it happens, there is some music in today's show that might well have been played on (something) Becomes Eclectic. You'll hear astonishingly poetic harpist Joanna Newsom's remarkable tracks orchestrated by Van Dyke Parks; and Inara George (daughter of Lowell George of Little Feat) - also orchestrated by Van Dyke Parks. You'll hear some atmospheric songs from Jesca Hoop, whom I think actually premiered radio-wise on Morning Becomes Eclectic. And then... well, then, there's more. A lot more.

You'll hear some of the more orchestral works by one of our favourite artists, Mannheim Steamroller. There are some beautiful film scores by John Barry, Steve Jablonski and Klaus Badelt. There's Karl Jenkins. There's Mike Oldfield with some Music of the Spheres. And the David Rees-Williams Trio playing beautiful jazz renditions of classical works.

And there is also someone I'd particularly like you to listen out for: British composer Stuart Mitchell. We'll be playing some of his pieces today including the haunting Seven Wonders Suite, and if you live in the UK and like what you hear, please do vote for it in Classic FM's Hall of Fame. Click the link, put "Mitchell" in the Composer box, and select "Seven Wonders".

Something else to listen out today for is Ray Davies' new choral arrangements of some of his classic Kinks songs. The album's received mixed reviews, but I think it's excellent and I recommend it highly. See what you think.

Despite all this eclecticism, there are some common threads running through many of the pieces in the show today. They often have classical instrumentation, inspiration or feeling, for example (which is why I considered calling the show Modern Classics). See what other links you can find.

And don't forget that today we bring you the first of ten hour-long instalments of our exciting new adventure serial, Moon Over Morocco, from ZBS. Don't miss the ZBS Radio Hour - 11am and 7pm SLT! (See separate entry.)

Mr Merlin's Music Machine is produced by Elrik Merlin and broadcast on Radio Riel's Main Stream. To listen, click here or put http://main.radioriel.org into a music player or set as your in-world parcel music URL.

The illustration, incidentally, is a caricature of avant-garde composer George Antheil. To learn more about him, visit antheil.org - but we aren't playing any of his music today.

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