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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 196th GARLAND OF BRITISH LIGHT MUSIC COMPOSERS

In the previous 195 posies we have alluded to a number of Victorian ballad composers but there are still plenty more for us to mention. One of them is G. W. Hunt, whose titles included Waiting for the Signal (a railway one), The Gorman Band (a familiar street sight in Victorian days), Beautiful Columbine, Funny Mrs Jones, Gay Masquerade, Up in a Balloon and We Don’t Want to Fight But By Jingo If We Do! Hunt also contributed songs to Monte Cristo Jnr (1881) and Frankenstein (1887), two stage works. Even more serious Victorian composers wrote ballads and here we may cite John Barnett (1802-90), composer of the opera The Mountain Sylph and a Symphony, and whose lighter songs included such titles as The Light Guitar, Little Fay, Pretty Fay and A Pair of Sabots. Two other ballad composers from around 1900 were Reginald S Barnicott, composer of The Bonnie Blue Kerchief and – a duet – The Maiden in Grey, and Katherine Barry whose titles included A Flower, Invitation, Moon in a Garden, My Happy Garden, The Sleeping Song, dated 1908, Tomorrow and, composed for a performance of A Winter’s Tale, Daffodils.

From slightly later – his floreat extended though the first three decades of the 20th century – we may remember Mark Strong, composer of such things as The Ogo Pogo: The Funny Fox Trot Song, presumably a 1920s number. Strong, though, was a musical director for the stage before the Great War and his own musicals included The Officer’s Mess (1905) and The Lily of Bermuda (1909).

Finally, from the present day let us salute the guitarist Jonathan Richards, who has recorded some of his own compositions in CD, including Mini Prelude, Nocturnes and Interludes, which are short, tuneful and agreeable – in a word "light".

Philip L Scowcroft

June 2001


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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