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  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

A 177th GARLAND OF BRITISH LIGHT MUSIC COMPOSERS

The Scotsman, Purcell J Mansfield is known particularly to church organists for his copious arrangements and fairly copious compositions, but a few of his unison songs and his waltz On With The Dance, Opus 135 (the number is an indication of his large output), published for piano solo, entitle him to brief mention in these Garlands.

James Moody, born in 1907, was another one well known for his arrangements, mainly vocal and mostly of folk tunes; his orchestral Bulgarian Wedding Dance achieved some popularity and the piano compositions Boogie Caprice, Midsummer Madness, Palm Beach Promenade and Parakeet in Paradise, also from the late 1940s, were published.

Charles Procter, born in 1906, conductor and organist, produced much church and organ music and also some Children’s Songs (1945), plus a considerable number of lightish piano solos, all, intriguingly, "edited" by Alex Rowley: Alla Gavotta, At the Ballet, Barcarolle, The Dancing Peasants, Valse Lente, Follow My Leader, Sleeping Beauty, Will o’the Wisp, The Wooden Soldier and – an unusual title, His Worship the Mayor Lays a Foundation Stone.

George F. McKay’s Caricature Dance Suite, Opus 4, published for solo piano in 1930, is worth a mention. However information about McKay is not easy to find (but see footnote) and this is also true of Gerald Stanley, composer of the waltz, Woodland Whispers, also for piano.

Colin Taylor, active in the period 1926-60, wrote much tuneful instrumental music: a Prelude and Sarabande for string orchestra and, all for piano, Four Cameos (Frolic, Noon-tide, Hurdy–gurdy, Puck), Three Fables, Four Preludes, Four Dedications, two sets of Whimsies (four in each), Capriccietto, Pantomime, An Echo From the Romantic Age, A Dance For Dulcie and Winter Landscape.

Robert Clarence Raybould (1886-1972) was a conductor, in opera, for the BBC and of the National Youth Orchestra of Wales, who also composed lightish music, for example the Three Pieces (Prelude, A Fairy Tale and Passepied) for piano, The Wistful Shepherd for clarinet and piano and A Dance Serenade and A Legend for cello and piano, as well as songs and more serious music.

Much light music has been written for the companionable ensemble of four hands, one piano and to mark that fact here are the names of three women composers who published pieces for that medium: Olive Wood, with the seven easy duets Happy Partners (1938); Sybil Barlow, with Two Scenes From a Fairy Tale; and, also active up to around 1950, Dorothy Hogben, with her six movement suite The Punch and Judy Show. (Hogben also wrote the 24 movement The Animal Book, Our Family and The Pirate Ship for solo piano plus choral and solo songs.

Finally to a more recent composer, Michael Short, who has brought out two publications on Gustav Holst, plus church music and partsongs. His lightish music; however is that for young players, specifically of recorders and brass instruments. For the former and for various sizes of recorder ensemble there are Intrada, Song and Dance, Invocation and Fugue, Little Suite and Three Chinese Pictures; brass players are catered for by a Lyric Suite for brass band, Divertimento for quintet and Jazz Preludes for quartet

Philip L Scowcroft

footnote

I noticed a webpage by Philip Scowcroft on your site referring to George Frederick McKay as a British composer in relation to the Caricature Dance Suite. By coincidence this piece is just now in new release by NAXOS with Pulitzer Prize winner William Bolcom performing piano works. McKay is a historic West Coast American composer, and full information can be found at www.georgefrederickmckaymusic.com Our ancestry does trace back to Great Britain, however; with the first McKay in America being an English Army Officer who fought with Burgoyne's outfit at Bennington and escaped back to Canada with the loyalists and Canadian troops he commanded. Captain Samuel McKay had been an advance scout for the campaign, and had been captured in previous actions-----------there is correspondence between him and George Washington in the Library of Congress here in the States, in regard to McKay's petition to be exchanged for an American prisoner. He later escaped and made it back to British lines. Samuel was married to a noble French Colonial lady and his son became a French professor at Williams College in New York State. Hence the McKays were launched into the American scene.

Fred McKay
George Frederick McKay Estate Edmonds, WA

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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