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  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

A 211th GARLAND OF BRITISH LIGHT MUSIC COMPOSERS

One composer who produced frequently sung ballads and popular piano solos during the early and mid Victorian periods was Stephen Glover (1813-70). He is credited with a share in the tune I Do Like to be Beside the Seaside, beloved of the Blackpool Organist, Reg Dixon; other popular songs or duets included What Are the Wild Waves Saying? especially popular in its day, the carol A Merry Christmas The Blind Girl to Her Harp, Charity, Hope, Friendship, The Elfin Call, The Gipsy Countess, I Heard a Voice, I Love the Merry Sunshine, The Murmuring Sea, The Sea is Englandís Glory, Tell Me, Where Do Fairies Dwell?, We Are Two Forest Nymphs and Tell Me Where is Beauty Found? A run-down of the titles of his sheet music for piano almost epitomises the history of Britain at the period they were composed, for example Prince Albertís March, Fantasia on the Airs of All Nations (a celebration of the Great Exhibition of 1851), the Royal Hyde Park March, another tribute to 1851, and Napierís Abyssinian March, in honour of an efficiently run Imperial military campaign in 1867-8.

While we are considering Victorian Sheet music (and 1851) I have noticed that one Frank B. Tussaud published some Great Exhibition Waltzes. Was he related to the founder of the still extant waxwork attraction? And the Fairy Palace Waltzes, roughly contemporary, were published by Boosey and are attributed to Charles Boosé (sic): a relative maybe of the first owners of the publishing firm (both of whom bear the forename Thomas)?

Now for a few more musical comedy composers, this time from the early 20th century. Some of these, like Tom Wood, with The New Claim (toured in 1911) and Cyril Winchcombe, with The Cruise of the Constance (toured in 1909) were "singletons", so far as I have been able to discover. Alfred Sugden, who brought out the one-acters The Sporting Girl and The Isle of Champagne, both in 1903, and Cecil Cook, whose The Willow Pattern was produced briefly at the Savoy in 1901, and who contributed, along with Ivan Caryll and various others, to The Girl From Kays in the following year, managed two, more or less.

And so finally to John Gough (1903-51), born in Australia and keen to compose in an Australian style, came to work for the BBC in the 1930s, first as an engineer, then as a producer. His early death cut short not only his life but also his career as a composer, which may have brought Australian colour to the British light music heritage. As it is, his two best known short pieces, The Wallaby Track and the Serenade for small orchestra (the latter recorded on Chandos in recent years) were composed before he left Australia to make his living in England.

Hubert Clifford, whom we have previously noticed, and also Australian, was a close friend.

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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