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