From the Library — An English Experience

Today we present a var­ied selec­tion of music, both Light and Clas­si­cal, from Eng­lish com­posers of the 20th Cen­tu­ry, includ­ing Elgar and Vaugh­an Williams (pri­mar­i­ly), along with Wal­ton, Delius, Coates, Charles Williams and oth­ers. In addi­tion to a num­ber of well-known pieces, we’ll be fea­tur­ing some com­plete clas­si­cal works – and among them the unique expe­ri­ence of hear­ing Sir Edward Elgar con­duct some of his own work.

There will also be a few oth­er items of a quin­tes­sen­tial­ly Eng­lish nature. One which might not come to mind exact­ly as “quin­tes­sen­tial­ly Eng­lish” is Richard Addin­sel­l’s War­saw Con­cer­to, writ­ten by this lead­ing film music com­pos­er for the film Dan­ger­ous Moon­light (1941: released in the US as Sui­cide Squadron). The screen­play – which fea­tures a Pol­ish musi­cal vir­tu­oso who escapes to Britain dur­ing WWII and joins the RAF – called for a Rach­mani­nov-style piano con­cer­to. Sergei Rach­mani­nov was appar­ent­ly approached to com­pose the item but declined, so Addin­sell wrote the famous piece, that is still per­formed today, him­self. The piece was an imme­di­ate and enor­mous hit, and inspired a num­ber of imi­ta­tors which have become known as the ‘Den­ham Con­cer­tos’ after the Buck­ing­hamshire film stu­dios, but few are remem­bered today.

One that is deserv­ing of a men­tion, how­ev­er, is Clive Richard­son’s Lon­don Fan­ta­sia. This piece was orig­i­nal­ly writ­ten about the com­poser’s home town of Coven­try, but as it came togeth­er, it became evi­dent that it would apply bet­ter to Lon­don (or per­haps that’s what his music pub­lish­er thought). The piece was extreme­ly suc­cess­ful at the time, with no less than three ver­sions at the top of the sales lists simul­ta­ne­ous­ly, although it is nev­er heard today. It por­trays, in music, a day in the life of a great city: we hear the bus­tle and life in the streets and hints of famil­iar street-ven­dors’ cries… and then in a par­tic­u­lar­ly eerie string arrange­ment (which caused some con­ster­na­tion at the time), we hear the air-raid sirens sound and the city under­goes an aer­i­al bom­bard­ment. After the ‘All Clear’, life resumes. The ver­sion we will be play­ing has the com­pos­er at the piano and is the one in which this chill­ing musi­cal effect is best heard.

From the Library is pro­duced by Radio Riel in con­junc­tion with the Cale­don Library in Sec­ond Life, and today’s pro­gramme is pre­sent­ed by Elrik Mer­lin.

You can lis­ten to the pro­gramme now at http://music.radioriel.org — the ide­al URL to plug into your home par­cel media address in-world — or sim­ply vis­it any Cale­don Library branch in-world and press Play on your embed­ded music play­er. (If you want to lis­ten off-world, eg in Winamp or iTunes, and the above address does­n’t work for you, click here.)

Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed.

Powered by WordPress