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  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

A 138TH GARLAND OF BRITISH LIGHT MUSIC COMPOSERS

Our "stage musical" composer, from 1980 or thereabouts, is, this time, Dave Brown. Fearless Frank (1979), based on the life of the Edwardian journalist Frank Harris, and Wonderland (1981) were both produced at the King's Head Theatre Club, the former achieving 52 performances against the latter's 35. He has also published Captain's Ceilidh, a collection of dances old and new.

Now we return to the "Wood" theme developed in Garland 20. J.H. Woodhouse appears to have been a purveyor of the music-hall type of song; titles include The Grass Widower, Johnny is a Good Boy - Now, It's All Over and We Didn't Have a Funeral After All. Alf Wood was another song composer of the same type. He is credited with The Laughing Farmer. Philip Wood, who lives in Wakefield, has produced educational and other music. Stanley Woods, a composer for brass band, has produced titles such as Cornet Cosmology and Little Blue Boy, the latter a cornet solo. Cecil Woods flourished in the 1950s, writing for light orchestras, whether arrangements, like Off to the Fair, a medley of fairground tunes and a setting of the Somerset folk song The Wraggle Taggle Gypsies O! and original compositions such as Concert Valse and Wendy Dances: A Fairy Fantasy, scored for single woodwind, celesta and strings. Francis Cunningham Woods (1862-1929) was a pupil of Sullivan and like him composed several cantatas but lighter music as well, not comic operettas but orchestral suites, examples being the Gressenhall Suite for piano and strings and a Suite in F for full orchestra. William G. Wood (1859-95), the elder brother of Charles, sometime Professor at Cambridge, was an organist; much of his work for organ was fairly serious, but this did include a Concert Overture, which makes him a precursor of such organists as Alfred Hollins.

The present-day composer Peter Thompson includes in his basically classical portfolio a number of pieces we might reckon as "light": Little Suite, Holiday Suite, Suite of Months and Bicycle Ride, all for piano solo, Top o' the Morning for brass quintet, Hampshire Summers for orchestra and pieces for junior orchestras, one intriguingly entitled Weather Forecast.

Philip L Scowcroft

November 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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