A 191st GARLAND OF BRITISH LIGHT MUSIC COMPOSERS
We ended Garland 190 with two musical comedy "singletons"
and we start this one with two more. Alexander Johnstone composed
the operetta Fiddlers Three in 1918. A decade or two later, one
T Johnstone – I have not yet been able to establish whether they
were related – composed and also had published, another operetta, entitled
Happy Go Lucky.
Idris Lewis, was, as might be deduced from his
name, Welsh, active either side of the Second War. Much of his music
had a Welsh flavour. Several of his songs had Welsh versions: titles
included Morning Song, Meadow Flowers, Song of Exile, Song of the
Plough, Love’s Poem, Sweet Gwen of Aberdovey, Hope Again, Roundabouts
and Swings and from a film, Fires of Fate, a number entitled
Blue Nile. He wrote for musicals too, rather obscure ones with
titles like Katja the Dancer and The Blue Mazurka and
several movements for the light orchestral repertoire: Chinese Dance,
Dance of the Daffodils, Good Ale (a Welsh jig) and Green Lanes,
a Welsh round dance.
Harry Leader (1906-87), whose real name was
Henry Lebys, was a bandleader for upwards of forty years before retiring
to teach and continue composing and arranging. His titles included Eastern
Dances and his two successive signature tunes as bandleader, I’m
Just Wild About Harry and Music, Maestro Please.
Two "singleton" march composers now, from
half a century and more ago: Arthur Langstaffe, for his On
Parade; and R. C. Leaver for Home Guards. And lastly,
from the prolific 1930s, one L. Jarratt obtained quite a number
of performances with his Three May Day Dances, entitled respectively
Jack in the Green, May Queen and Maypole Dance.
Philip L Scowcroft
Philip's book 'British Light Music Composers' (ISBN 0903413 88 4) is
currently out of print.