From the Library: A Classical Christmas

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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