Music of the Gilded Age

Gild­ed Age, La Belle Époque… both terms, one from the Unit­ed States, the oth­er from Europe, refer to essen­tial­ly the same peri­od, cor­re­spond­ing to the late Vic­to­ri­an and the Edwar­dian peri­ods in the UK.

The peri­od is bound­ed by the First World War at the end, and some­where around the mid-1870s for the start.

The term “Gild­ed Age” (alleged­ly coined by Mark Twain) is actu­al­ly slight­ly pejo­ra­tive. Gild­ing is a light cov­er­ing of gold and it’s also osten­ta­tious – but a “gild­ed age” is not a “gold­en age”. And the term La Belle Époque was coined after the peri­od – look­ing back at the peace­ful, pros­per­ous past from the dark days of the Great War.

Today we’ll hear music of the Gild­ed Age from both sides of the Atlantic, includ­ing bal­lads (I have includ­ed some of Stephen Fos­ter’s won­der­ful songs, which were well known dur­ing the peri­od – and indeed still are today), dance music and some light clas­si­cal pieces includ­ing items from Gottschalk in the US and Satie in France; and you’ll hear the first-ever film score, com­posed by Saint-Saëns.

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Today’s pro­gramme is pre­sent­ed by Elrik Mer­lin. Please click here to start your play­er if your brows­er is set up to pass streams to an exter­nal play­er. 

You can also lis­ten via TuneIn, either with their web site or via the TuneIn App.

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