Baroque — The Oxford Collection

in Daily Programme

by Elrik Merlin on Wednesday, 26 October, 2011

On a visit to Oxford at the weekend, I was pleased to visit the wonderful Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, which is always a pleasure to spend some time in.

While there, visiting the museum shop as one is wont to do, I came across a recording of harpsichord pieces by Handel and Scarlatti, played by Martin Souter on the 1772 Kirckman instrument in the Museum’s collection.

Souter is evidently an extremely versatile performer: in addition to numerous antique keyboard performances, you may have heard him recently on my programme of songs by American songwriter Stephen Foster. So of course I couldn’t resist purchasing said album, and that gave me an idea for a programme of Baroque music featuring his performances, some of which have a definite connection to this ancient University city.

So today, in addition to Souter’s Handel and Scarlatti performances, you’ll hear some Purcell pieces played by him on an instrument from the Bate Collection in Oxford along with some of his other Baroque interpretations. We also present a rather special version of Handel’s Water Music suite No 1 in F Major, HWV 348, known as the “Oxford” version. This is for a smaller orchestra than in the more familiar arrangement, and features primarily stringed instruments which would not have carried well in the open air for which the Suite was written — it was written instead for indoor performances. It is played by the Oxford Baroque ensemble.

The picture shows detail from a harpsichord in the Ashmolean collection, taken by Schaible.

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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