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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 186th GARLAND OF BRITISH LIGHT MUSIC COMPOSERS

To begin with, a mention for Peter Young, a ballad composer active (I think) around the time of the Second World War – not a "one work" composer, as at least four of his rather sentimental songs enjoyed considerable popularity, I Give Thanks For You, O Blessed Day, You Will Return and Hope and Pray.

Now for two composers best remembered (if at all, these days) for their chamber music. Henry Waldo Warner (1874-1945) was born in Northampton and studied at the Guildhall School. A viola player, he was active in London orchestras and, for many years, with the London String Quartet. Of his many chamber compositions, some were light in character, like the Suite in G in Olden Style and The Pixy Ring, both for string quartet. But he produced widely in other directions also: at least a hundred songs for either chorus or solo; an early comic operetta, The Royal Vagrants, which achieved production in 1899; the four pieces Opus 44, The Clown, The Reef, An Irish Dell and The Road Breaker; and the orchestral suites The Broad Highway: Sketches From a Tramp’s Diary, in no fewer than seven movements, and The Elfin Dances.

The roughly contemporary Alfred Michael Wall, born in 1875, composed, besides his chamber music, a number of orchestral works. Some of these were lightish, like the concert overture Thanet, which was played at the Henry Wood Proms, Bagatelles and a suite for strings, Recreations.

Now for three composers all similarly called. Marmaduke Brown had his operetta Five Hundred Francs, briefly aired at The Vaudeville in 1885; Michael Brown’s Is There Intelligent Life on Earth? was produced at Brighton in 1964; and conductor George Browne’s Do Somethin’ Addy Man, described as a "London Caribbean musical", appeared in 1962 at Stratford East.

Finally, brief mentions for Anthony B Smith-Masters for his post-World War II radio series and for Veronica Brown for her piano pieces for children, including Six Clock Pieces (1959) and from the early sixties, several items for six hands one piano.

Philip L Scowcroft

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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