From the Library: Music from the Golden Era

Today on Radio Riel we’ll be play­ing music from the inter­bel­lum peri­od, rough­ly between 1920 and 1940 (with a tiny over­lap at either end), and it’s quite amaz­ing how musi­cal styles devel­oped and changed dur­ing this peri­od. Jazz is a huge influ­ence of course, but the actu­al con­tent of the songs varies dra­mat­i­cal­ly. There are deep, mean­ing­ful and inge­nious­ly writ­ten bal­lads from the likes of Howard Arlen; and the often humor­ous – and also beau­ti­ful­ly-writ­ten – songs by Noël Cow­ard, to big-band swing and dance num­bers, on to extra­or­di­nary col­le­giate songs and clas­sic fluffy oeu­vres like The Sun Has Got His Hat On and Leslie Sarony’s Down On Jol­li­ty Farm. We’re play­ing an orig­i­nal record­ing by Bert Ambrose and His Orches­tra of the lat­ter, which, inter­est­ing­ly, is almost entire­ly instru­men­tal and includes just one out of the three or so vers­es. The Bon­zo Dog Band ver­sion is much more com­plete – but still miss­es out the verse about the fox… oh well, we had bet­ter play Sarony’s orig­i­nal too, then!

The pro­gramme today includes main­ly, but not exclu­sive­ly, orig­i­nal record­ings. In addi­tion there are mod­ern inter­pre­ta­tions of songs of the peri­od – and once again, these cov­er sev­er­al dif­fer­ent styles. At one end there are mod­ern jazz musi­cians and singers, often devel­op­ing and impro­vis­ing around the songs in ways that would not have been com­mon at the time – lis­ten out for some of the Howard Arlen songs in today’s reper­toire, for exam­ple – while at the oth­er we have record­ings like the extra­or­di­nary Max Raabe and the Palast Orch­ester play­ing on a live record­ing in New York’s Carnegie Hall, where the per­for­mances are sure­ly almost iden­ti­cal to what would have been heard at the time these num­bers were first per­formed.

If you tend towards the view that “they don’t write songs like they used to”, you’ll love the music we have for you today. And if you like what you hear, don’t for­get that we have an entire stream devot­ed to music of the 20s-40s (plus some addi­tion­al mate­r­i­al) – and that’s the Radio Riel Dieselpunk chan­nel on There is per­haps even more con­tro­ver­sy about what con­sti­tutes Dieselpunk music as there is about Steam­punk – but we do hope you enjoy it any­way.

Today’s pro­gramme is pre­sent­ed by Elrik Mer­lin and pro­duced by Radio Riel in con­junc­tion with our friends at the Alexan­dri­an Free Library Con­sor­tium of Sec­ond Life. You can lis­ten to the pro­gramme in-world now at, or sim­ply click here to start your play­er, if your brows­er is con­fig­ured to do so. Lis­ten­ers in the Unit­ed States are encour­aged to tune in using this link:

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.

Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed.

Powered by WordPress