From the Library: The Light Programme

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 in con­junc­tion with the Alexan­dri­an Free Library Con­sor­tium, and is pre­sent­ed by Elrik Mer­lin. For more about the work of the Con­sor­tium, please click here. You can lis­ten to today’s pro­gramme on our Main Stream as fol­lows:

If you want to have the Radio Riel Main Stream play­ing on your par­cel, please set the media music URL to:

If you want to lis­ten off-world, sim­ply click here.

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