The Light Programme: A Classical Touch

in Daily Programme

by Elrik Merlin on Saturday, 26 November, 2011

Today’s programme of Light Music focuses on the “light orchestral” or “light classical” end of the spectrum.

We can think of light music as filling a gap between out‐and‐out classical music, and the exceptional quality music production library and film music of the 1940s‐50s — the latter featuring from time to time on The Light Programme. It’s a continuum with perhaps Sullivan at one end (and we’ll hear some of his Overtures today) and maybe Coates at the other – though it’s difficult to define boundaries. In between are composers like Addinsell, Alwyn, Ketelbey, Tomlinson, Binge and others, and it’s their music that we’ll be featuring today. What these pieces and composers have in common, is a “classical” approach to melodic music. Their work is full of great tunes, and it utilises orchestral forces with as much aplomb as any classical composer. But in general (though not always), the music is a little lighter in tone and feel.

I should note, incidentally, that the title “The Light Programme”, in addition to referencing the BBC radio service of the same name (which was renamed in 1967), also pays homage to Brian Kay’s programme with the same title that ran on BBC Radio 3 until 2007. Brian Kay is one of the key people (along with Gavin Sutherland, Ernest Tomlinson and friends) who has been responsible for the immense resurgence of interest in Light Music in the 21st century and the rediscovery of these marvellous pieces of music. And if you are a lover of Light Music, please do find out more about the Light Music Society.

Then at 19:00 and 03:00 GMT, that’s 11am and 7pm Pacific Time, please join us for a marvellous new adventure on the ZBS Radio Hour — Jim Gurney’s fabulous Dinotopia (see separate entry). It’s on immediately after Traveling Jack at the bottom of the hour.

The picture shows the BBC Midland Light Orchestra.

Today’s programme is presented by Elrik Merlin and produced by Radio Riel in conjunction with our friends at the Alexandrian Free Library Consortium of Second Life. You can listen to the programme in‐world now 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: more information on the Alexandrian Free Library, current exhibits and the work of Consortium members in general, please visit the Alexandrian Free Library website, or one of their branches in‐world.


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