A 141ST GARLAND OF BRITISH LIGHT MUSIC COMPOSERS
We will begin this time with a sheaf of composers who wrote mood music for De Wolfe's Recorded Music Library in the 1950s, listing their names with a sample of their work: Ivor Osborne (Around the Town; On the Humorous Side); Adrian Ludlow (Twinkle Toes); Frank Spencer (Two on the Tiles); and Hilary Stephens (Monkey Business).
Douglas MacDonald Stewart, born in 1892, composed mainly songs which were popular in the inter-war period. Some of them were serious, especially his Herrick settings, but others were ballads or verged on balladry: Our Nell, Night, A Lawsuit, Through the Fields in Summer, Rising Storm and Phantoms.
Graham Dudley Whettam, born in 1927, largely self-taught, is reckoned a serious composer despite the accessibility of much of his work but he has written film music, pieces for children and an overture Demon Hunter of the Moor. Further, he wrote mood music miniatures, like Silver Slipper, for De Wolfe's Recorded Music Library, under the name Howard Woodstock.
Gavin Sutherland, born in County Durham, still only around 30 (he graduated from Huddersfield University as recently as 1993) is perhaps better known as a conductor, especially for the ballet but also in the concert hall and on CD - for ASV in ‘British Light Music Discoveries’ and for the Carry On music - than as a composer, but his compositions and arrangements are quite widely heard. Recently he re-arranged Giselle for Norwegian National Ballet and his musical Little Women (after Louisa M Allcott) was staged in London in July 2000.
David Golightly, also Durham-born and now resident in Cheshire, is basically a serious, sometimes "tough", composer. More accessible is his 1st Symphony (2000), inspired by a Premiership football team. It is similar in idiom to, say, George Lloyd. He has however written substantially for the theatre (e.g. The Glass Menagerie and Cider With Rosie) and films (Out of the Depths, I'm no Angel). His orchestral pieces include the attractive Three Seascapes, each based on a popular sea shanty.
Finally, a mention for two organists, Charles Smart and his son Harold, both frequent broadcasters either side of the Second War. Both arranged and composed prolifically; one of Harold Smart's pieces being entitled Father's Doing Fine!
Philip L Scowcroft
Enquiries to Philip at
8 Rowan Mount
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Philip's book 'British Light Music Composers' (ISBN 0903413 88 4) is currently out of print.
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