From the Library: Georgian Splendour

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by Elrik Merlin on Monday, 5 April, 2010

Today we explore another era in musical history: that of the Baroque, bringing to mind fine Georgian architecture, stately homes and elegance. We begin, as far as a timeline is concerned, with Antonio Vivaldi, and feature his most famous work The Four Seasons (how could we not) along with less well-known compositions. You will also hear contributions from some of England’s leading composers of the Georgian era, such as Georg Friderick Händel (German by birth, but English by residence for much of his life) – whose music was popular from its first performances until the present day. Indeed, Beethoven said of Handel, “He is the greatest composer that ever lived. I would uncover my head and kneel before his tomb.” Handel’s music was popular throughout the Victorian era and regular “Handel Festivals” were held at the Crystal Palace in Sydenham. We will hear his Musick for the Royal Fireworks, and both his Water Music Suites, and some excerpts from The Messiah which is of course particularly popular at this time of year.

We will also hear from Thomas Arne, best known for Rule Britannia but also for many other works in his time. We will play some of his Overtures and harpsichord works and an enigmatic piece that we know as Finale to ‘A Dance Suite’, which shares a theme with one of his harpsichord works. Also included in the programme is a selection of the works of Purcell, JS Bach and a great deal more.

From the Library is produced by Radio Riel in conjunction with the Alexandrian Free Library Consortium of Second Life. You can listen to the programme now at — or click here to link straight to your player if your browser is set up to do so. Today’s programme is presented by Elrik Merlin.

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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