Mr Merlin’s Music Machine

Eclec­tic Music with a Classic(al) Thread

When I start­ed plan­ning today’s show (writes Elrik Mer­lin), I knew (more or less) what I want­ed to include in it, but I had­n’t the faintest idea what to call it — and as reg­u­lar lis­ten­ers will know, I like to call my shows some­thing.

Today’s is an extreme­ly var­ied pro­gramme, includ­ing quite a bit of music that we don’t nor­mal­ly play on Radio Riel’s Main Stream, and, had one of my favourite pub­lic radio sta­tions, KCRW in San­ta Mon­i­ca, not already used every pos­si­ble pro­gramme title with the word “Eclec­tic” in it at some time in the last quar­ter-cen­tu­ry, I might have called it Sat­ur­day Becomes Eclec­tic — but no, they did that too. I toyed with the pro­sa­ic — Mod­ern Clas­sics; the descrip­tive — Hang On To Your Hats or Fas­ten Your Seat­belts; and many more.

Even­tu­al­ly I went for a title that was essen­tial­ly inspired by the sub­ti­tle of an FM sta­tion I was involved with in the ear­ly 70s, which came from an old PAMS jin­gle: “The Mar­vel­lous Music Machine”. And thus, dear lis­ten­ers, I give you: Mr Mer­lin’s Music Machine (“Mr Mer­lin’s Mar­vel­lous Music Machine” was just too Good Old Days - though I sup­pose I could have been real­ly arcane and short­ened that to “M5″).

As it hap­pens, there is some music in today’s show that might well have been played on (some­thing) Becomes Eclec­tic. You’ll hear aston­ish­ing­ly poet­ic harpist Joan­na New­som’s remark­able tracks orches­trat­ed by Van Dyke Parks; and Inara George (daugh­ter of Low­ell George of Lit­tle Feat) — also orches­trat­ed by Van Dyke Parks. You’ll hear some atmos­pher­ic songs from Jesca Hoop, whom I think actu­al­ly pre­miered radio-wise on Morn­ing Becomes Eclec­tic. And then… well, then, there’s more. A lot more.

You’ll hear some of the more orches­tral works by one of our favourite artists, Mannheim Steam­roller. There are some beau­ti­ful film scores by John Bar­ry, Steve Jablon­s­ki and Klaus Badelt. There’s Karl Jenk­ins. There’s Mike Old­field with some Music of the Spheres. And the David Rees-Williams Trio play­ing beau­ti­ful jazz ren­di­tions of clas­si­cal works.

And there is also some­one I’d par­tic­u­lar­ly like you to lis­ten out for: British com­pos­er Stu­art Mitchell. We’ll be play­ing some of his pieces today includ­ing the haunt­ing Sev­en Won­ders Suite, and if you live in the UK and like what you hear, please do vote for it in Clas­sic FM’s Hall of Fame. Click the link, put “Mitchell” in the Com­pos­er box, and select “Sev­en Won­ders”.

Some­thing else to lis­ten out today for is Ray Davies’ new choral arrange­ments of some of his clas­sic Kinks songs. The album’s received mixed reviews, but I think it’s excel­lent and I rec­om­mend it high­ly. See what you think.

Despite all this eclec­ti­cism, there are some com­mon threads run­ning through many of the pieces in the show today. They often have clas­si­cal instru­men­ta­tion, inspi­ra­tion or feel­ing, for exam­ple (which is why I con­sid­ered call­ing the show Mod­ern Clas­sics). See what oth­er links you can find.

And don’t for­get that today we bring you the first of ten hour-long instal­ments of our excit­ing new adven­ture ser­i­al, Moon Over Moroc­co, from ZBS. Don’t miss the ZBS Radio Hour — 11am and 7pm SLT! (See sep­a­rate entry.)

Mr Mer­lin’s Music Machine is pro­duced by Elrik Mer­lin and broad­cast on Radio Riel’s Main Stream. To lis­ten, click here or put http://main.radioriel.org into a music play­er or set as your in-world par­cel music URL.

The illus­tra­tion, inci­den­tal­ly, is a car­i­ca­ture of avant-garde com­pos­er George Antheil. To learn more about him, vis­it antheil.org — but we aren’t play­ing any of his music today.

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