From the Library: A Classical Christmas

in Daily Programme

by Elrik Merlin on Saturday, 19 December, 2009

In today’s programme, Elrik Merlin presents samples of a thousand years of Western seasonal music, from the Middle Ages to the 19th Century. Most of the items are thus in a broadly classical or Early Music vein.

There are some significant exceptions, however, mainly from the Victorian era, notably the Christmas Revels’ recreations of Victorian seasonal music, and acapella renderings by Coope, Boyes and Simpson of traditional carols as they would have been performed by bands of carollers in the 19th Century and earlier. In many cases these carollers were based in public houses and while the words were common (and familiar today), each group had its own tunes, none of which are particularly well known over a hundred years later. The Church took a dim view of these groups being based in pubs — a tradition going back centuries: indeed, carols originated in pagan times — and made a concerted effort to bring carols and Christmas music into the church, an effort in which it was largely successful. The groups of carollers, and their unique, lively tunes, largely disappeared.

You will also find some somewhat indiosyncratic items in today’s show, from Jingle Bells played on steel drums to varied and often slightly jazzy pieces from the California Composers’ Consortium.

Today’s programme is presented by Elrik Merlin and produced by Radio Riel in conjunction with the Alexandrian Free Library Consortium of Second Life. You can listen to the programme now at in-world, or simply click here:

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.

Photo © Copyright Richard Pullan and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence


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