We Wish You a Radio Riel Christmas!

in Daily Programme

by Elrik Merlin on Saturday, 25 December, 2010

Today we will be bringing you a selection of seasonal music from many of the genres we cover on Radio Riel’s Main Stream, from Early Music to New Age, including classical, folk and other genres.

In addition we’ll be bringing you radio drama in two segments: The ZBS Radio Hour at its regular times — 11am and 7pm Pacific (19:00 and 03:00 GMT) where we will be bringing our two current adventures to a close*; and also the complete Radio Riel Players presentation of A Christmas Carol, in three parts, back to back.

Included in the music programming today will be a special treat: a compilation of excellent Christmas music, mainly in a classical and Early Music vein, originally compiled by John Whiting, a staff member of the famous KPFA radio station in Berkeley in the 1960s. He writes,

When I joined the staff of the UC Berkeley Music Library in 1958, I was asked to put together a selection of appropriate music for the University Library’s Christmas party. For a couple of delightful weeks I spent my spare time going through various record collections, including my own, and making a selection of Christmas music, ancient and modern, that avoided the usual war-horses. (Bing Crosby’s lugubrious rendition of Silent Night was conspicuous by its absence.) The tapes were played every subsequent Christmas.

Four years later at KPFA I put them up as miscellany to fill the odd gaps in the broadcast schedule during the Christmas season. In 1966 I brought the masters with me to London, where, as sound technology evolved, I transferred them successively to compact cassette, then to minidisk, then to CD and ultimately into mp3…”

John Whiting’s compilation lasts for two hours and will be broadcast at 4am and 4pm Pacific (noon and midnight GMT). His programme notes list some of the pieces included in the programme:

  • Corelli, Christmas Concerto   First of several recordings by I Musici
  • A Mediaeval Christmas    New York Pro Musica, conducted by Noah Greenberg. 
  • Traditional French carols    Choral/instrumental arrangements from an LP that a friend had brought back from France.
  • Benjamin Britten, Ceremony of Carols   Conducted by the composer. (The pronounciation and intonation of the Danish boys choir leaves something to be desired.)
  • Traditional Early English Carols   Performed by Alfred Deller and the Deller Consort.
  • Hans Leo Hassler, Motets   Deutsche Grammophon Archiv.
  • Hector Berlioz, L’Enfance du Christ   Boston Symphony, conducted by Charles Munch.
  • J. S. Bach, Christmas Oratorio, Opening Chorus & Sinfonia   Deutsche Grammophon Archiv ARC3079. This was one  of the great German conductor Fritz Lehmann’s last recordings before his death in 1955; Gunther Arndt conducted the last two of the six cantatas in 1956. I still have the original LPs.
  • Music of Medieval Court and Countryside  Russell Oberlin, New York Pro Musica conducted by Noah Greenberg. Half a century ago the fans of Russell Oberlin and Alfred Deller were as passionate in their divergence as the followers of Stravinsky and Schoenberg. We in the Oberlin camp prized his instrumental purity and austerity and his extended range, totally free of falsetto; today I metaphorically embrace them both.
Here’s a quick-reference guide to today’s special programming elements:
4am PST/12:00 GMT: A KPFA Christmas
11am PST/19:00 GMT: ZBS Radio Hour
1pm PST/21:00 GMT: The Radio Riel Players Present: A Christmas Carol 
4pm PST/00:00 GMT: A KPFA Christmas
7pm PST/03:00 GMT: ZBS Radio Hour
9pm PST/05:00 GMT: The Radio Riel Players Present: A Christmas Carol

* Following today’s programme, the ZBS Radio Hour will be on hiatus until the last Saturday in January, when we will be beginning two new adventures.

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 http://main.radioriel.org, 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: http://loudcity.com/stations/radio-riel/tune_in

For 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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