Music Webmaster Len Mullenger
A 124th GARLAND OF BRITISH LIGHT MUSIC COMPOSERS
Many of our recently-garlanded figures have been particularly associated with music for young performers, and here are four more. James Duncan Carey, apart from a Meditation for organ, and some vocal pieces, seems to specialise in music for recorder ensemble, examples being Trains (recorders produce a passable imitation of an American railway whistle), Mock Baroque, a set of 20th Century dances, the suite At the Fair, Two French Dances and Cocktails. Douglas Coombes has long been associated with the BBC Radio's "Singing Together"schools programme, and songs from this have been published. Other compositions, besides a quantity of church music, include a Rumba for recorder and piano, Seven Space Songs, sundry musicals and Zalzabar, a Christmas cantata for children. Kenneth Gange, who lives in Staffordshire, has published prolifically: arrangements, pieces for junior orchestras, many vocal compositions, Carolyn Rag, Chenet Suite and Rag Burlesque for brass ensembles, Festive Suite for recorders, Miniature Suite for piano solo, The Jaunty Horn (1985: French horn and piano), Wedding Music for organ and, maybe most ambitiously, the Concertino Marziale for trombone (or trumpet) and orchestra. And Reginald Hunt has authored books and composed choral and organ music, also several tuneful miniatures, vocal and instrumental, suitable for young performers - unison songs ( I Had a Hippopotamus, After the Holidays, The Torbay Puffer), two-part songs (The Ferry to the Sands), solo song (First Love), piano solos ( Autumn Song and Rigadoon), a Little Suite for descant recorders and Moto Perpetuo for four B Flat clarinets.
The Lancashire-born comedienne, actress and presenter Victoria Wood (1953-) has added composition to her talents - examples include early cabaret songs in the Joyce Grenfell tradition, a musical, Good Fun, which ran for a season at Sheffield's Crucible Theatre in 1980 and, more recently, the music for her popular TV sitcom, Dinner Ladies.
Finally, two composers with brief reputations on the London light musical stage around 1950. John Tore, born in Rhodesia, is remembered primarily for his musical Golden City, which ran for 140 performances at the Adelphi in 1950. Set in the days of the South African gold rush, this included the hit songs Moonlight on the River, It' s Love Me Darling and All Will Come Right, a saloon scene and a Zulu fire ritual scene. It had a certain vogue, but in the end its energy did not conceal its lack of distinction. Tore relapsed into obscurity, re-emerging briefly in 1978 to write some of the music for a musical setting of Huckleberry Finn, which had a few performances in Southend. Robin Baker, conductor and composer, claimed that his musical Under the Lilacs (1947, toured provincially and revived as My Lucky Day in 1951) was written during wartime service in the Royal Navy.
Philip L Scowcroft
Dr Hunt was Music master & organist at Sir Walter St John's School in Battersea and during World War II at Godalming. After 1945 he stayed in Godalming teaching at the County School there. I believe he was also the organist at the New Gallery Cinema on Regent Street (London) during the period 1937-9. I was a pupil of his 1935-43, but did not gain much in the way of music appreciation until much later in my life. However, his classes were interesting and well illustrated with recordings. As well as the classics he encouraged British folk songs, especially those of a patriotic nature.
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 email@example.com
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