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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 190th GARLAND OF BRITISH LIGHT MUSIC COMPOSERS

We start this latest bouquet with Felix Powell, whose fame primarily rests on that song Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag, beloved of so many British soldiers during the Great War and in the Second World War as well. He wrote other songs as well, including Moon of the Ocean and, from a revue entitled Son, Have You Seen the Ducks?

We move forward a generation, to encounter the name of Kenneth Pakeman, active in the post Second War period and more of an arranger (of folk and popular tunes, separately and in potpourris) but who composed A Village Suite and music for sundry radio and film features, most noteworthy of the latter being "Rendezvous in Berlin" from Beyond the Curtain. That period spawned a lot of "mood music" writers who were known for just one or two miniatures; one such is P. McCain, composer of the orchestral Junior Miss, dated 1951.

Staying in the same era, Michael North (1902-60), a BBC producer I have, I think, mentioned before, for his march It’s That March Again, based on the "ITMA" signature tune. He also composed a number of songs – examples are Give Me the Spice of Life, I Know That We’ll Meet Again, Such Lovely Things, Summer Time, They and If you’ve Got Nothing at All – and orchestral scores for various radio features: Mr Ponsonby’s Fancy and at least five adaptations of Beatrix Potter stories, Jemina Puddleduck, Johnny Town Mouse, Mrs Tittlemouse, Pigling Bland and The Tale of Little Pig Robinson.

We conclude with two more "singleton" musical comedy composers from the 1980s. Sharon Burgett wrote the music for The Secret Garden, produced in 1983 at the Salisbury Playhouse. In the same year Nick Munns was commissioned to write the score for the musical Swan Esther, for the Young Vic. It achieved a meagre 26 performances; in a revised version it later toured the provinces, in a reversal of the usual procedure with musicals, but it enjoyed no greater success.

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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