Music Webmaster Len Mullenger
A 117th GARLAND OF BRITISH LIGHT MUSIC COMPOSERS
We begin with two similarly-named composers, who were active in similar musical fields, and whom I feel sure were related, possibly father and son, though I have not yet definitely established that. The elder one, Julian Jones, conducted for the English light music stage either side of the Great War of 1914-18; his compositions included a revue, Jig-Saw, and many songs, one example being When the Clock Strikes One, Two, Three, Four. Leslie Julian Jones, born in 1910, reached his prime after the Second World War; his pieces also included a revue, called Nine Sharp, and songs like You'll Never Know a Love Like Mine, plus some orchestral items, including Postman's Knock, published in 1954.
We tend to think of cathedral organists as very serious musicians. So they often are, but no organ loft is an ivory tower, and many of our cathedral organists, past and relatively present, have had their lighter moments. S.S. Wesley (1810-76), for example, organist successively at Hereford, Exeter, Winchester and Gloucester, for some of his short organ and piano solos. Or Herbert Brewer and Herbert Sumsion, both of Gloucester Cathedral, each of whom we have passed in review previously in these Garlands. Or Norman Cocker of Tuba Tune fame, organist of Manchester Cathedral. Or Edward Cuthbert Bairstow (1874- 1946), organist at York Minster 1913-46 (Sir Edward from 1932), and composer of much church music and "serious" organ solos, but he, too, dabbled in lighter music, short organ solos like Evening Song and the airy Scherzo in A flat, ballads like The Lonesome Girl, and partsongs like I Dare Not Ask a Kiss.
Our film/TV composer this time is Mark Jefferies, whose TV scores include the catchy little tune for the (admittedly dire) sitcom Pay and Display. And our ballad composer is Douglas Grant, who was active in the early part of the 20th Century, and whose Old Barty, usually sung by a baritone, was popular at that period; A Morning Chorus was another of his song titles.
John Basil Hugh Longmire (1902-86), a friend of John Ireland, about whom he wrote a book, was born in Lincolnshire, at Gainsborough. He studied at the Royal College of Music, and subsequently taught in various schools and at Trinity College, London. By and large, his music is accessible, and is often suitable for younger performers. It comprises many solo, unison and part-songs, an operetta for treble voices, Pedro the Gipsy Boy, a Reverie for oboe and piano, and a large quantity of music for piano solo: suites - Animal Characters, The Baker's Dozen, Australian Suite, English Scenes, Festival Suite, London Calling! (a group of eight miniatures), the nautical suite, Ship Ahoy, the three miniatures, Paradise Islands, Scottish Scenes, Six Dance Duets, Twelve Floral Sketches, and Welsh Scenes - and single movements, including Antigua, Beyond the West Horizon, Cherry Stones, Fancy Free, Jolly Jaunt, Land of the Long White Cloud, The Lincoln Imp, Maypole Dance, Petit Pierrot, Phyllis, Regent Street, Spring Frolic and Vikings of the Sunrise.
Don Banks (1923-80) was Australian by birth, but he came to England in his twenties, and becarne Director of Music at London University and Goldsmiths College. His musical interests were wide-ranging, embracing serialism, electronic music and jazz, but at least part of his output may be reckoned as light music: incidental music for films, such as Petticoat Pirates (1961: a selection of this was published for piano solo as being by Banks, but some sources credit the music for this film to Stanley Black), Captain Clegg (1962), The Punch and Judy Man (1962), and a few horror films, and for TV, perhaps Prologue, Night Piece and Blues For Two,i.e.B flat clarinet and piano, and maybe his set of five North Country folksongs.
Finally, we come to Tony Mason, who has produced many pieces in a generally lighthearted manner. Some are arrangements, for voices or (mainly) instruments, mostly of traditional airs and popular tunes, others are more "originals". Most popular are Haul Away! for clarinet, based on sea shanties, The Night Sky for brass quartet, and Three Ways to Go, a suite for three guitars. Most of his published output is aimed at young amateurs, and certainly the Mason pieces I have heard live (Haul Away! and an orchestral setting of the traditional tune Scarborough Fair) have been so performed.
Philip L Scowcroft
Enquiries to Philip at
8 Rowan Mount
S YORKS DN2 5PJ
Philip's book 'British Light Music Composers' (ISBN 0903413 88 4) is currently out of print.
E-mail enquiries (but NOT orders) can be directed to Rob Barnett at firstname.lastname@example.org
to: index page
Classical Music on the Web