From the Library: Classic Musicals

in Daily Programme

by Elrik Merlin on Thursday, 12 March, 2009

Elrik Merlin writes:

Today’s programme is very straightforward: it’s a collection of songs from classic musicals, from the days of Gilbert and Sullivan to more or less the present. It’s not an exhaustive collection — in fact it isn’t even all the musicals in my library (I’ve omitted Shoggoth on the Roof — I played that the other day — and I thought Evil Dead was a bit strong for our Main Stream, though I was sorely tempted hehehe) but I hope you’ll find it an enjoyable one.

I would draw your attention to one show in particular, which I was reminded of by fellow Caledonian Mr Whybrow and formed the inspiration for this set. That is The Arcadians — music by Lionel Monckton and Howard Talbot; lyrics by Arthur Wimperis — the most popular of Edwardian musicals, receiving its première in London in 1909, the year that Bleriot flew across the Channel. This production essentially represents a bridge between the Victorian operettas of G&S and the musical as we know it today. Some of the songs — Pipes of Pan in particular — may be familiar even today (they were to me). The picture above shows a postcard promoting the original production. It tells of an airman who flies his plane to a far off land untouched by time and returns to London with some of the inhabitants.

We’ll be hearing highlights from this today along with the odd song from other musicals of the period that I recall my parents listening to when I was growing up, such as Chu Chin Chow (we had a World Record Club LP). And there’s Oklahoma! and My Fair Lady, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and a bit of Andrew Lloyd Webber (I only own a couple of complete works of his and my favourite is Cats: that’s what you’ll hear today). There’s a selection of Busby Berkeley hits too, from the movies that helped people to smile last time we had a recession on the current scale. And there’s a lot more, of course.

I hope you enjoy the selections. I’ll be back on Wednesday and Thursday next week, when I hope to play you a couple of sets of British folk music that I’ve not played before.

From the Library is produced in conjunction with the Caledon Library; today’s programme was produced by Elrik Merlin. You can listen to it on our Main Stream as follows:

If you want to have the Radio Riel Main Stream playing on your parcel, please set the media music URL to:

If you want to listen off-world, simply click here.


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