Tag Archives: Victorian

Music of the Gilded Age

The 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 (we’ve 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.

Some orig­i­nal peri­od record­ings may con­tain neg­a­tive stereo­types or lan­guage now regard­ed as offen­sive. Such mate­ri­als should be seen in the con­text of the time peri­od and as a reflec­tion of atti­tudes of the time. The record­ings are part of the his­tor­i­cal record, and do not rep­re­sent the views of Vir­tu­al Com­mu­ni­ty Radio.

Image: The Cup of Tea, Mary Cas­satt (c. 1879)

The Magic of The Musical: “With Cat-Like Tread” Now On Mixcloud

The lat­est episode of “The Mag­ic of The Musi­cal” is now avail­able on Mix­cloud! Click here to lis­ten

“With Cat-Like Tread” focus­es on the influ­ence of the dis­tinc­tive operettas of W.S. Gilbert & Arthur Sul­li­van on Amer­i­can musi­cal theater’s evo­lu­tion years lat­er in the 20th C.  Host Cale­do­nia Sky­tow­er is joined by guest Elrik Mer­lin as they com­pare and con­trast with views from both sides of “the pond.”

At the height of the Vic­to­ri­an era in Eng­land, a part­ner­ship devel­oped between drama­tist W.S. Gilbert and com­pos­er Arthur Sul­li­van that result­ed in a form of operetta so unique that it is reg­u­lar­ly referred to as its own genre: “G&S” – Gilbert and Sul­li­van.  Their dozen musi­cal shows direct­ly influ­enced musi­cal the­ater in the 20th C, intro­duc­ing inno­va­tions in con­tent and form that are still part of the lan­guage of musi­cals today. They’ve stood the tests of time, pol­i­tics, and par­o­dy – often­times encour­ag­ing the lat­ter. Their shows are still wide­ly per­formed in the Eng­lish speak­ing world, and Gilbert and Sul­li­van soci­eties abound in North America.

The Mag­ic of The Musi­cal explores the blend­ing of music and dra­ma — fea­tur­ing the songs, his­to­ry, and lore that make up the musi­cal the­ater canon. Learn more about some of your favorite shows and com­posers as we cue the orches­tra, and the over­ture begins.

NOTE: The actor men­tioned in this episode who por­trayed the Police Con­sta­ble in the 1980 New York Pub­lic The­ater pro­duc­tion was actu­al­ly Tony Azi­to, not Tony Ansel­mo. Azi­to was an Amer­i­can eccen­tric dancer and char­ac­ter actor.  Ansel­mo is an Amer­i­can voice actor, best known as the voice of Don­ald Duck.