From The Library… A Victorian Vision

in Daily Programme

by Elrik Merlin on Tuesday, 20 November, 2007

Today’s programme in the series From The Library… features a selection of music from the Victorian and Edwardian periods, and a little beyond.

The programme consists primarily of modern performances, but also included are the original recordings of a number of popular ‘hits’ of the period 1901–1920. Indeed, the Edison Phonograph, which used recordings made on cylinders, was first demonstrated 130 years ago this month, in November 1877. Ten years later, Emile Berliner patented the Gramophone, which used the flat disc records familiar until relatively recently. While the Phonograph remained popular in the United States, in Britain the efforts of the Gramophone Company in promoting discs made them a great deal more successful, and while the term “phonograph” became a generic term in the US for either kind of player, in the UK the terms remained distinct.

Today you will also hear a selection of Strauss waltzes and other pieces characteristic of a Viennese evening or a formal ball; ballads and melodies of the period; and even a few recordings of mechanical instruments popular at the turn of the century.

In addition to attending formal balls and dances, and especially before the advent of the phonograph, the gramophone, and later the wireless, it was customary to entertain friends and family at home with musical soirées, in which the participants would sing and accompany each other, typically on the piano. Some of the songs they sang are included here in settings appropriate to home entertainments of the period.

• This programme is produced by Radio Riel in conjunction with the Caledon Library in Second Life, and presented 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 to the programme now at, or simply visit any Caledon Library branch in-world and press Play on your embedded music player.


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