From The Library: Baroque e Nuovo — Van Dyke Parks

Today in From The Library, Elrik Mer­lin presents a pro­gramme of music that is Baroque in more ways than one. One the one hand we have a selec­tion of music from the Baroque peri­od, includ­ing, appro­pri­ate­ly enough for British lis­ten­ers, Hän­del’s Music for the Roy­al Fire­works (and the Water Music Suites while we’re at it), along with music from Bach, Rameau, Arne and oth­er com­posers of the peri­od. On the oth­er, we have some of the music of extra­or­di­nary Amer­i­can con­tem­po­rary com­pos­er, arranger and eth­no­mu­si­col­o­gist (among oth­er things) Van Dyke Parks.

So, what excuse allows us to mix the work of Bach with albums by Inara George and Joan­na New­som (two of our artists fea­tured today)? The answer: twid­dly bits.

Elrik Mer­lin writes: “I have loved Van Dyke Park­s’s work since I saw his piano cred­it on Harper’s Bizarre’s arrange­ment of Cole Porter’s Any­thing Goes back in the 60s. Then a fel­low record­ing engi­neer intro­duced me to his calyp­so roots album Dis­cov­er Amer­i­ca in the ear­ly 70s. I have not liked every­thing he has done, but what has impressed me great­ly are his orches­tral arrange­ments over the last cou­ple of years for harpist Joan­na New­som on her aston­ish­ing sec­ond album, Ys, and most recent­ly on Invi­ta­tion, the new album by Inara George, daugh­ter of Lit­tle Feat’s founder, the late Low­ell George, and fel­low res­i­dent of my for­mer haunt, Topan­ga Canyon in Cal­i­for­nia. Both albums are full of amaz­ing­ly intri­cate orches­tral arrange­ments – and songs – that twist and turn in unex­pect­ed ways. Lots of twid­dly bits.”

We do hope you will enjoy today’s explo­ration into the world of twid­dly bits. While we’re at it, we’ve includ­ed tracks from Clare and the Rea­sons’ album, The Movie – anoth­er album of roc­co­co curlicues includ­ing close har­monies and inno­v­a­tive orches­tral arrange­ments. Van Dyke Parks appears on this album too – play­ing piano on one of the tracks.

From the Library is broad­cast in con­junc­tion with the Cale­don Library: today’s pro­gramme is pre­sent­ed by Elrik Mer­lin. Lis­ten now at — the ide­al URL for you to use in 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.)

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