A 202nd GARLAND OF BRITISH LIGHT MUSIC COMPOSERS
We start with two song composers who were both active
around the mid-point of the 20th Century: Harold Charles
Lake’s Three Short Lyrics, for solo voice and respectively
entitled Jeanette, When Phyllis Played at Archery and Down
in Lynmouth Bay and, for male voice choir, A Blessed Summer Night
and A Devon Lane may be reckoned as light, ballad-like compositions.
The output of John Raynor (1909-70) included
lightish songs like The Loyal Lover, My Own Country, The Old Lullaby
and Five Sunny Story Songs.
Peter Crossley-Holland (1916-2001), composed
songs too. His accessible output also included music for several radio
productions and music for recorder(s) – A Little Suite for solo
recorder and piano, Albion Suite for three recorders and keyboard,
Breton Tunes, etc.
We go back now to Victorian times for a mention of
the tormented figure of Arthur Goring Thomas (1850-92), who committed
suicide following a nervous breakdown. A one time Sullivan pupil, he
is remembered primarily for his "grand" operas (especially
Esmeralda, from which the aria "O Vision Entrancing"
long remained popular, and Nadezhda). Rather lighter was The
Golden Web, completed after his death by Sidney Peine Waddington
and which had a brief run at the Lyric. Several of Thomas’s songs (e.g.
The Blacksmith, The Willow and, especially popular, A Summer
Night) count as ballads and his orchestral Rêve d'Amour
was colourful enough. Waddington himself (1869-1953), educated at the
Royal College of Music, included among his output a children’s operetta
Whimland and light choral numbers like Lilian (SATB, 1901)
and My Shadow (two part, 1904).
Richard Walthew (1872-1951) is remembered primarily
for chamber music, but several of his songs – perhaps not the Five
Songs From Thackeray, but others like Eldorado, May-Day, A Windy
Day and Gleaner’s Slumber Song are ballads or virtually so,
and he was responsible also for the operettas The Enchanted Isle
and The Gardeners.
Finally we have the ballad composer Margaret Woolmer,
active between the wars who published titles like For Remembrance,
Full Moon, My Love is a Silent Forest, A Thought and Your Looking
Philip L Scowcroft
Philip's book 'British Light Music Composers' (ISBN 0903413 88 4) is
currently out of print.