Age of Decoration & Decadence — Music of the Regency

Today’s pro­gramme takes us back to the 18th and the begin­ning of the 19th cen­turies, with music from the peri­od gen­er­al­ly referred to as the Regency Era.

Strict­ly speak­ing, the British Regency was the peri­od between 1811 and 1820, when King George III of Eng­land was regard­ed as incom­pe­tent to rule, and his son, the Prince of Wales, was giv­en the posi­tion of Regent, ie king by proxy, until his father’s death.

How­ev­er today we are going to be a lit­tle more lib­er­al in our inter­pre­ta­tion and spread the net a lit­tle fur­ther afield in time. The peri­od between 1795 and 1837 (the lat­ter part of the reign of George III and the reigns of his sons George IV, as Prince Regent and King, and William IV) was char­ac­ter­ized by dis­tinc­tive trends in British archi­tec­ture, lit­er­a­ture, fash­ions, pol­i­tics, and cul­ture — and that is the peri­od we’ll be focus­ing on today.

How­ev­er (writes Elrik Mer­lin), I have tried to keep away from the obvi­ous choic­es from this peri­od: there’s lit­tle J S Bach in the pro­gramme today for exam­ple, although there are some pieces from Johann Chris­t­ian Bach, his youngest son; and I’ve omit­ted the more obvi­ous works of Han­del. There are works by Pur­cell, includ­ing the orig­i­nal piece that formed the inspi­ra­tion for Brit­ten’s Young Per­son­’s Guide to the Orches­tra, the Ron­deau from Abde­lazar (I’ve includ­ed Brit­ten’s work as well); songs and con­cer­ti by Boyce and Arne; and some com­posers you may not have heard of, such as the younger and elder Lin­leys, Dib­din, and the Earl of Abing­don.

And of course, as it’s Sat­ur­day, please join us for the ZBS Radio Hour at 11am and again at 7pm Pacif­ic Time, that’s 7pm and 3am in the UK. Today we start a new adven­ture with Jack Flan­ders, and we con­tin­ue our tales from the lit­tle town of Sarato­ga Springs. Don’t miss it!

Today’s pro­gramme is pre­sent­ed by Elrik Mer­lin and pro­duced by Radio Riel in con­junc­tion with our friends at the Alexan­dri­an Free Library Con­sor­tium of Sec­ond Life. You can lis­ten to the pro­gramme in-world now at, or sim­ply click here to start your play­er, if your brows­er is con­fig­ured to do so. Lis­ten­ers in the Unit­ed States are encour­aged to tune in using this link:

For more infor­ma­tion on the Alexan­dri­an Free Library, cur­rent exhibits and the work of Con­sor­tium mem­bers in gen­er­al, please vis­it the Alexan­dri­an Free Library web­site, or one of their branch­es in-world.

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