Classical MusicWeb

Music Webmaster Len Mullenger


We begin with two ballad composers who were active in the era between the wars. First, John Openshaw, who penned Since I've Seen Love in Your Eyes, Summer Sweethearts, and, probably his best-known title, Love Sends a Gift of Roses. Then there is Howard Fisher, whose song One of the Guards was used in one of the Cooptimists revues, but whose most popular song was surely An Old Violin. Other titles from a large portfolio included At Tankerton Inn, Blue Moon, The Connemara Shore, Phyllida, A Farewell, Tavern Song, Tributes, Vespers, Thoughts, The Song of a Button, A Rollicking Rolling Stone, The North Has My Heart, Cornfields and If I Were the Man in the Moon.

H Sullivan Brooke, active in the London light musical theatre (he composed the score, jointly with Herman Darewski, for Oh Julie, which achieved 143 performances in 1920) may possibly be identical with Henry Sullivan, composer of revues and musicals, discussed in a recent Garland.

Now for three composers active particularly in the post-war era. James Oldfield Turner, born in 1905, is perhaps remembered especially for a signature tune for This is Your Life - not the one currently used, which is by Laurie Johnson; other orchestral miniatures include Countrywise and Serenade For Susan. He also wrote partsongs (eg. The Lost Shore and The Linnet), solo songs (False Love, How Sweet I Roamed, The Little Dove, etc.) and arranged a host of popular and traditional tunes.

John Dyer, born in 1908 and seemingly reaching his "floreat" period in the 1950s, seemed, from his most popular published works, to be a specialist in string music. Marche Moderne, Marche Vive and Presto Presto were all for string orchestra, Fiddler's Gavotte (1958) was for violin, and Meditation (1957) was a viola solo, again with piano accompaniment.

And so finally to Alan Abbott, born in 1926. His most popular orchestral piece is London Fragments: short fragments, as the complete movement lasts only 2 1/2 minutes. Also from his pen came Alla Caccia (1962) for French horn and piano, and, in 1978, a group of pieces for accordion, published under a variant name, Alain Abbott: Le Grand Ane Noir ("The Big Black Donkey"), Oiseaux Tristes ("Sad Birds") and Black and White Toccata.

Philip L Scowcroft

Enquiries to Philip at

8 Rowan Mount



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

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