A 192nd GARLAND OF BRITISH LIGHT MUSIC COMPOSERS
We begin well back in the Victorian era with the name
of the Liverpool born John Liptrot Hatton (1809-86), singer,
conductor and composer, some of whose songs (there were over 300 altogether)
like The Enchantress, To Anthea and Simon the Cellarer,
perhaps also the partsong When Evening’s Twilight, retained their
popularity long after his death. He composed for the theatre as well:
an opera, operettas, even extra numbers for H M S Pinafore, recently
rediscovered in an archive in Australia. He worked at Drury Lane and
later at the Princess Theatre.
Ernest Ford (1858-1919) is basically a Victorian
figure, too. A pupil of Sullivan for whose Ivanhoe he did the
piano reduction, he produced much serious music – operas, chamber music,
cantatas and church music – but is worth a mention for his work for
the light musical theatre, which included ballet music and the operetta
Jane Annie (1893), which, despite the eminence of the joint writers
of its book and lyrics (J. M. Barrie and Arthur Conan Doyle) flopped
spectacularly at the Savoy (it has had a modern revival, however, albeit
just a single performance and with just piano accompaniment as the score
has gone AWOL).
Moving forward into the new century, we come to the
name of W. M. Hutchinson, active between the wars and a ballet
composer of such titles as He is Coming, Distant Land, Dream Faces,
Pierrot, Little Drummer Bill and Under the Stars.
Now for two composers whose floreats straddled
the Second War. Richard Hirst’s orchestral numbers included Interlude
in Waltz Time (1950), Sea Green, an entr’acte and Turkish
Delight, a march. Alfred M Hale wrote songs (e.g. a set of
seven Sonnets, 1948, and Rose Ann), Four Folk Song
Studies, published for piano in 1930, and an orchestral Cornish
Suite, Opus 5, whose movements were Prelude, The Three
Knights, Adam and Eve and The Foray.
Finally, a mention for Sydney Hodkinson, born
in 1934, for his compositions for youth orchestra Drawings, eight
sets (c.1974) and Two Fanfares For a Festival.
Philip L Scowcroft
Philip's book 'British Light Music Composers' (ISBN 0903413 88 4) is
currently out of print.