From the Library: English Music for St George’s Day

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by Elrik Merlin on Thursday, 23 April, 2009

Today in our series From the Library, we’re playing a wide selection of the music of England, broadly speaking from the Baroque era (with Thomas Arne, composer of Rule Britannia) to the end of the Second World War, featuring composers from Noël Coward to Delius, Vaughan Williams and Sir Arthur Bliss. In addition to the day’s programming we’ll be bringing you a show from Garnet Psaltery’s St George’s Day Tea Party which will be held from 11am–1pm SLT at Garnet Bow in Caledon Morgaine.

Now most people know, of course, that the historical St George has nothing much to do with England. He was born in Nicomedia, now part of Turkey, between about 275 and 285 AD and died on 23 April 303 AD. He is the patron saint of a good many places besides England, too, including Aragon, Catalonia, Ethiopia, Georgia, Greece, Lithuania, Palestine, Portugal and Russia. The traditional legend tells of his encounter with a dragon (as shown here in Gustave Moreau’s painting). You can read about many aspects of St George in this Wikipedia article.

St George’s association with England goes back to the ninth century and during the reign of King Edward III (1327–1377), he became patron saint of the English monarchy (supplanting St Edmund) and associated with the values of chivalry and knighthood. Shakespeare contributed to embedding St George in the English psyche with the rallying cry in Henry V: “God for Harry, England and St George!” – and we will hear that today, along with a great deal more.

From the Library is produced in conjunction with the Alexandrian Free Library Consortium of Second Life, and today’s programme is presented by Elrik Merlin. You can listen now at (To listen off-world, eg in Winamp or iTunes, and if the above address doesn’t work for you, 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.


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