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Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

A 199th GARLAND OF BRITISH LIGHT MUSIC COMPOSERS

Harvey Grace (1874-1944), Organist, scholar, lecturer and for many years Editor of The Musical Times, composed a quantity of organ music, some of it quite light, miniatures such as In –voluntary Scherzo, Cradle Song and Toccatina, in the tradition of the work of people like Edwin Lemare, Alfred Hollins, Percy Whitlock, Frederick Wood and others we have noticed in earlier Garlands.

Our ballad composer this time was Irish and her floreat was around the middle of the 20th Century. Delia Murphy’s best known song was If I Were a Blackbird, published in 1949, others included If You Will Marry Me, Connemara Cradle Song and Come With Me Over the Mountain.

Now, and finally, for a sheaf of Victorian composers for the light musical stage. They are a varied lot. Some were conductors who contributed songs or even complete musicals of their own. Our examples of them this time are: Ferdinand Wallerstein, with Quick March (1870) and Barbazon, produced at Drury Lane in 1877; Arthur Nicholson, musical director at the Vaudeville Theatre, composer of Love Birds (1872) and A Gay Cavalier (1879); P.W. Halton, touring conductor for d’Oyly Carte, wrote Six and Six, toured by DOC in 1880; and George B Allen, first conductor of The Sorcerer and then a touring DOC conductor whose two shows, Castle Grim (Royalty 1865) and The Wicklow Rose (1882) were quite widely spaced in time.

Jacob A. Kappey was a Royal Marines bandmaster at Chatham and his Wager (1871) was indeed produced in Chatham. Thomas Thorpe Pede took over the management of the Alexander Theatre, Camden Town in 1873 and this produced a remarkable burst of creative activity in that same year with A Lesson in Love, Marguerite, The Magic Pearl, Moonstruck and In the Clouds all being staged there. Some were one-acters but this was still some feat. George Richardson, with his "operatic piece of extravagance" Popacatapetl (1874) and Buff King Hall (1877) and Haydn Millars, with Mariette’s Wedding (1882) made little mark, as did William L. Frost with Blue and Buff, or The Great Muddleborough Election (1881) staged first in Liverpool, though this did very briefly reach the Theatre Royal, Haymarket. And Vivian Bligh, with Once a Century (1877) and A Pirate’s Home (1879), and Walter Austin with Answer Paid (1879), both wrote long-lived St George’s Hall entertainments.

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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