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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 209th GARLAND OF BRITISH LIGHT MUSIC COMPOSERS

First, a trio of musical comedy composers from the 1970s: Nic Rowley for his Up and Away, produced at York in 1976; Roland Hase for The Snowman, put on at the Theatre Royal, Stratford East in the same year; and Lynne and Richard Riley for Drakeís Dream, toured in 1977 (its book was by Simon Brett), TV scriptwriter and crime novelist.

We have previously noted how much light music has been composed by organists, mostly, but not entirely, for their own instrument. Working in an organ loft does not make one a dull dog, by any means. We have included in these Garlands mentions of Edwin Lemare, Alfred Hollins, Herbert Brewer, Percy Whitlock, Frederick Wood, William Wolstenholme, Norman Cocker and many others. Still another is Basil Harwood (1859-1949), if only for the charming central Andante of his Organ Sonata in C Sharp Minor, dating from around 1890 (Harwood composed services, anthems and hymns, some in each category still in the repertory).

These Garlands have from time to time included mention of figures, who have written cantatas or musicals with young performers in mind and we will wind up this Garland with two more. First there is John Bryan, born in 1952, whose compositions in that direction included Rip Van Winkle (1983), The Selfish Giant (1985) and, also from the 1980s, Hamelin Town. The Selfish Giant was based on a story by Oscar Wilde and laid out for narrator, unison voices, piano and optional guitar. Another piece inspired by Wilde and from about the same period was the musical play The Happy Prince (1989), playing for between 40 and 50 minutes; its score was comprised by Veronica Bennett. By coincidence an Italian musical version of the story, Il Principe Felice (whose music was by Franco Mannino) had appeared in 1982, just two years before.

Philip L Scowcroft

July 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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