A 212th GARLAND OF BRITISH LIGHT MUSIC COMPOSERS
One Victorian ballad composer very popular in his time
and which we have not previously noted was the Dublin-born Samuel
Lover (1797-1868), who was novelist, poet and painter besides composer.
He was also the grandfather of the composer Victor Herbert. Many of
Lover’s songs were Irish derived and many he published in Songs and
Ballads in 1859. His entertainment Irish Evening (1844) was
toured throughout the British Isles and the United States. He even brought
out a grand opera, Grand Uile, or The Island Queen. Lover’s best
known songs included Widow Machree, The Angel’s Whisper, The Whistlin’
Thief, Barney O’Hea, Four Leaved Shamrock, Rory O’Moore, The Grand Ship,
The Low-Backed Car and, included in an operetta Il Paddy Whack
in Italia (what a title!), Molly Bawn.
Now for a few more of the more obscure British, musical
comedy writers. First, three active in around 1900. Charles W Johnson
and F. Sydney Ward were both musical directors as well as composers,
Ward also dabbling in theatre management. Johnson’s musical Somebody’s
Sweetheart was toured in 1899. Ward’s The American Belle
and Stirring Tunes, both again having no more than a provincial
reputation, both appeared in 1897. John S. Baker’s Juno, or
A Night’s Folly, was toured in 1897; other Baker compositions included
the popular, almost musichall songs The Boys of London Town and
Time to Put the Right Foot Down and the orchestral novelty Al
From a rather later period in the history of the British
musical stage, we may point to Tom Madden and Edward McNulty,
who combined for one "singleton", The Gay Clerkette,
which was produced in Dublin in 1919, to Herbert Barnes for his
Charlie Goes East, produced in Redditch in 1920, and to George
Henry Martin for his Rosette, staged in Glasgow in 1918,
and Monte Cristo Jr., one of whose songs achieved publication.
Philip L Scowcroft
Philip's book 'British Light Music Composers' (ISBN 0903413 88 4) is
currently out of print.