From the Library: Salon to Swing

in Daily Programme

by Elrik Merlin on Monday, 27 September, 2010

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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