Mr Merlin Presents: A Contemporary Classical Extravaganza

in Daily Programme

by Elrik Merlin on Wednesday, 15 January, 2014

We have a very eclectic collection of music for you today, featuring what I think we can by and large justifiably call “contemporary classical music”. The vast majority of it was written since 1945, and most of it was written as “serious” rather than “popular” music (we will ignore, for the time being, Mike Batt’s comment that there’s no such thing as “popular ” and “serious” music, there’s just “popular” and “unpopular”).

Today’s programme ranges all over the place, from the tuneful to the angular (though it’s unashamedly biased towards the former), from familiar composers like Walton to the Penguin Café Orchestra; from John Rutter’s atmospheric choral pieces to Tim Souster’s atmospheric electronic/concrete works.

There are going to be some very odd juxtapositions today and it will be interesting to hear how they work. You might hear the North Sea Radio Orchestra, for example, followed by the Balanescu Quartet playing Kraftwerk (there’s also the Muffin Men playing Zappa, for that matter). Donna McKevitt’s haunting string quartet‐based settings of Derek Jarman’s poetry followed by Sir Arthur Bliss’s suite based on the music he wrote for the film version of H G Wells’ Things to Come. And talking of film music composers (though there is deliberately little actual film music in today’s programme), listen out for John Barry’s deep harmonies from his album The Beyondness Of Things and some of Christopher Gunning’s outstanding contemporary classical works. But above all, enjoy some seldom‐ and not‐so‐seldom aired tracks from Mr Merlin’s Music Machine.

Today’s programme is presented by Elrik Merlin. You can listen to the programme 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:

You may also like to tune in to our experimental High Quality HE‐AAC stream at


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