Two interesting shows have cropped up on the BBC Sounds app which are currently available to listen to.
Each show lasts an hour, and appear to be available for some time.
The first is TWICE NIGHTLY, a remembrance of Music Hall and Variety days by one of those who performed in it for many years, the musician and comedian Stan Stennett. An interesting show with much first- hand recollection, the subject spends a little too much time on himself for my liking, but it is worth sticking with to get a taste of “the halls”. The show was recorded in 2001.
The second show is from 2003. MUSIC HALL RECLAIMED is presented by Barry Cryer, another performer who started his career at the tail end of Variety, where he looks into the range of material that survives as recordings of many music hall and variety acts- some famous, some unheard for decades- and the care which goes into tracing, restoring and preserving these last remnants of a disappeared age. It presents a number of surprises, including how political some of the music hall songs could be.
Again, well worth a listen, as well as to hear some rare recordings lovingly cleaned and sounding much less than their age – in most cases, over 100 years!