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
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
Philip's book 'British Light Music Composers' (ISBN 0903413 88 4) is
currently out of print.