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