From the Library: Salon to Swing

Today’s pro­gramme fea­tures music of the first quar­ter of the 20th cen­tu­ry, rep­re­sent­ed both by orig­i­nal record­ings and by mod­ern artists per­form­ing in the styles of the peri­od.

The music ranges from John Philip Sousa’s band, through rag­time and ear­ly jazz, plus the Charleston and the begin­nings of swing. In addi­tion, you’ll hear a selec­tion of music-hall and pop­u­lar songs of the peri­od — again, both from orig­i­nal and mod­ern record­ings — and a few his­toric record­ings in a more clas­si­cal vein. There will be music from the decks of the Titan­ic, and there will be dance music from the Palm Court. You’ll also hear the birth of the mod­ern musi­cal through the works of com­posers like Lionel Mon­ck­ton. Thus we hope we suc­cess­ful­ly evoke the atmos­phere of the ear­ly part of the last cen­tu­ry.

In some sens­es you can think of today’s pro­gramme as an intro­duc­tion to two of Radio Riel’s oth­er streams. Radio Riel New Toulouse plays ear­ly jazz and rag­time, two gen­res you’ll hear today, along with New Orleans style and Zyde­co. Mean­while, Radio Riel Dieselpunk plays music from the 1920s to the 1940s, the ear­ly part of this peri­od also being includ­ed in today’s show. Of course, exact­ly what Dieselpunk music is, is open to inter­pre­ta­tion, but I think we can safe­ly include music from between the wars in that cat­e­go­ry.

For addi­tion­al vari­ety, we’ve includ­ed some mod­ern record­ings of set­tings of poet­ry of the peri­od writ­ten by Guil­laume Apol­li­naire, the poet who coined the word “sur­re­al­ism” and died in Paris in 1918.

The pic­ture shows par­tic­i­pants in a dance marathon in Wash­ing­ton DC, USA, in 1923 (Library of Con­gress)

Today’s pro­gramme is pre­sent­ed by Elrik Mer­lin and pro­duced by Radio Riel in con­junc­tion with the Alexan­dri­an Free Library Con­sor­tium of Sec­ond Life. You can lis­ten to the pro­gramme now at; out­side the US, tune to in-world, or sim­ply click here if your brows­er is con­fig­ured to launch a play­er auto­mat­i­cal­ly.

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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