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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 144TH GARLAND OF BRITISH LIGHT MUSIC COMPOSERS

I begin with another selection of composers for the English musical stage during the past half century. Most notable among them is the Edinburgh-born James Gilbert, all of whose shows had Julian More as their lyricist; The World's The Limit (1955), The Golden Touch (1960) and Good Time Johnny (1971) were only modest successes and the first and last did not even reach the West End, but Grab Me a Gondola (1956) was enormously popular with a London run of 673 performances shared between the Lyric, Hammersmith and the Lyric (Central London).

Grant Hossack was better known as a musical director than as a composer - his two shows, The Lady Went Pop (1964, staged in Salford) and The Mock Doctor, after Molière (1972, staged in Bolton) had only provincial exposure. And of two more "singletons", Norton York's Casanova (1972) had only a handful of performances scattered between three theatres in the North East, while Chris Andrews' Tom Brown's Schooldays made relatively little impression for all that it managed a run of 26 performances at the Cambridge Theatre, also in 1972.

I end now, as I did the 143rd of these bouquets, with two of the old time brass band composers, both particularly noted for their compositions for solo instruments with band, which, old as they are, may still be heard occasionally. Edward Sutton is remembered for his cornet solos The Cavalier and The Highlander and the cornet duet Sandy and Jock: Louis Allison's best known pieces were the tenor horn solos Iona, The Caledonian and a setting of the old American ballad Silver Threads Among the Gold. The titles of some of these suggest that both men had connections with Scotland, though in fact Sutton was brought up in Southport and apparently taught William Rimmer, one of the all-time greats of brass band history, so Sutton's floreat was pre-1900, and Allison was a principal cornet player with the famed Black Dyke Mills Band early in the 20th Century.

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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