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Every day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    

 

A 133RD GARLAND OF BRITISH LIGHT MUSIC COMPOSERS

The Victorian ballad composer Charles Marshall (1808-74) is remembered today by one song, I Hear You Calling Me; other song titles by him included Dear Love Remember Me, The Garden of Allah, The Sea, I Am Longing For You, Sympathy, When Shadows Gather and I Dream That I Hear You Singing.

Now for two more theatre composers from either side of the Second War. Kenneth Leslie-Smith was a composer of radio musicals (e.g. Puritan Lullaby) and theatre revues like Black and Blue. He contributed a considerable number of songs to musicals by others: "Throwing the Torch Away", for Noel Gay’s successful Wild Oats (1938), "Lovely to be Loose" for George Posford and Harry Parr Davies’ even more successful Full Swing (468 performances, Palace 1942-3) and several for Time to Dance (1943, 259 performances, Lyric). The shows in which he had a bigger hand included The Sun Never Sets (1938), based on Edgar Wallace’s ‘Sanders of the River’ adventure books and whose hits included "Drums" and "My Love is Like the River", Sweet Yesterday, described as a "graceful and refined score" from which the title songs and "Morning Glory" were published and which managed 196 performances at the Adelphi in 1945, and Bet Your Life, co-composed with the Australian-born Charles Zwar (Hippodrome, 362 performances, 1951-2) whose songs included "I Love Him As He Is", "Now is the Moment" and "On Account of a Guy". Other individual songs by Leslie-Smith were Canterbury Fair, Little Gardens, My Guiding Star, One Love For Ever, Ridin’ Home, Salt Water, San Diego Betty and There’s Magic in a Song.

Ross Parker’s musical frolic Happy as a King failed at the Prince’s Theatre in 1953 but his revues Jokers Wild, Knights of Madness (1950) and Ring Out the Belles (1952) did better, as did "separate" songs like Why Not Now? (1949), The Girl in the Alice Blue Gown, You’ll Always Be My Sweetheart and, most famous of all, There’ll Always Be An England, jointly penned with Hughie Charles and, naturally, a very popular and very patriotic number during the Second World War.

I have previously included in these Garlands Lionel Salter, known, among other things, as a reviewer for "The Gramophone"; now for another critic for that periodical, Jeremy Noble, born in 1930, also a writer and radio producer, was responsible for some music in lighter vein: an arrangement of the Abbots Bromley Horn Dance and a masque The Maid’s Tragedy, with music arranged from Dowland, Weelkes, Campion and so forth.

Finally for a group of composers, all of whom, whatever their other activities, had at least some of their work absorbed into the Boosey & Hawkes Recorded Music Library around the 1950s. There was S. Dicker, whose orchestral miniatures included Crown of Joy, the intermezzo Angels and Imps and the "characteristic piece" Cinderella’s Bridal Procession. John F. Desmond composed Jane and Beryl and arranged a selection of British airs under the title Musical Honours (In Vino Veritas). Harold Ramsay produced Rodeo and Tinkerbell (for celeste – what other instrument? – and orchestra): that this latter was Opus 75 is an indication of his prolific output. Richard F. Howgill’s works include, besides single movements like Galloping Hooves, Donkey’s Delight, the oriental dance Mecca and the air de ballet Joytime, a number of suites which have attractive movement titles – Three Country Sketches (Pastorale, Darinee, The Little Villager), Three Eastern Sketches (In the Bazaar, Interlude, The Dance – a kind of Oriental morning, noon and night) and The Nuptials (Bridal March; Valse, Dance of the Bridesmaids; Love Scene; and Farandole, Dance of the Guests). And, the last of this group, Remo Lauricella, a violinist who appeared twice in the writer’s Doncaster Museum lunch-hour concerts in the 1980s and who wrote two sonatas for his instrument, one with piano, the other unaccompanied. His lighter pieces included a Suite Romantique (Nostalgia, Valse Romantique, Romanza and Printer’s Devil) and Danza Siciliana for orchestra and the attractive African Interlude of 1958 for violin and piano.

Philip L. Scowcroft

October 2000

Enquiries to Philip at

8 Rowan Mount

DONCASTER

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 rob.barnett1@btinternet.com


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