From the Library: The Light Programme

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by Elrik Merlin on Tuesday, 28 October, 2008

Join us today on Radio Riel for another journey into the world of Light Music from the first half of the 20th Century. In today’s programme we will be featuring the music of the Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra, from restored original recordings, along with other light music from the 1930s onwards.

The home of Henry Wood’s Promenade Concerts from 1893 until it was destroyed in the Blitz in 1941, the Queen’s Hall (pictured below) also resounded with the strains of the Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra and Sydney Torch. Just down the street from here in Langham Place, a great new enterprise was built: one that took Marconi’s wireless invention and used it to broadcast music and voices around the country, and around the world, educating, entertaining and informing under the watchful eyes of its first Director General, Sir John Reith. And indeed, the BBC used the kind of music you will hear today as theme tunes for drama series and other programmes that became required listening every evening in homes across Britain.

Light Music is characterised by a predominance of melody – generally memorable melody – which is one reason why it is a perfect companion to broadcasting, providing themes and even incidental music to drama, documentary, news and current affairs, and game shows. Often, people can recall the themes that punctuated their lives many, many decades ago.

The Light Programme is presented by Elrik Merlin as part of our series From the Library. For more information on the world of Light Music, please read this previous article.

• From the Library is produced by Radio Riel in conjunction with the Caledon Library in Second Life. For more information on the Caledon Library, current exhibits and the work of Second Life reference libraries in general, please visit the Caledon Library Web site, or one of their locations in-world.

You can listen now at — the ideal URL for you to use in your home parcel media address in-world — or simply visit any Caledon Library branch in-world and press Play on your embedded music player. (If you want to listen off-world, eg in Winamp or iTunes, and the above address doesn’t work for you, click here.)


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