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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 213th GARLAND OF BRITISH LIGHT MUSIC COMPOSERS

The popular songs of this country, whether of "traditional" provenance or not, are rich sources for the manufacture of light music. To take (for the moment) just one example, Ilkley Moor (or Ilkla Mooar), the "Yorkshire anthem", though the tune is of Kentish origin, has furnished several pieces of light music, including Eric Fenby’s brilliant overture, Rossini on Ilka Moor, Sam B Wood’s West Riding March, written for the Brighouse and Rastick Band, plus the piano piece Ilkley Moor (1933) and an Ilkley Moor March, both by Paul Windrush. Many people have set the song for varying choral or instrumental forces, most interestingly Alan Bush, for SAB voices, and Christopher Gunning for YTV purposes. The tune has appeared in countless light selections by such diverse figures as Debray Somers, George Formby, Burl Ives and Gordon Langford (in his North Country Fantasy for brass band) and many, many more.

Now for yet another little handful of musical comedy "singletons", post Great War this time: T Vaughan-Lawton for his musical comedy A Manchu Maid, toured in 1921; Ernest Woodville, for his musical extravaganza, The Buccaneers, also toured in 1921; and C. Gibbs-Seymour, for his romantic musical play Love and Laughter, produced in Leeds in 1923.

The ballad composer Donald O’Keefe, active in the post Second War period, is worth our memory for the titles At the End of the Day, Wher’er You Go (1951) and Give a Helping Hand (1952).

Finally, we go back to the Victorian era for a mention for Herbert J. Ellis, a banjo player of the time who arranged prolifically for banjo(s) with or without piano: operatic airs, popular songs and a few more or less original compositions: Ellis’s Excelsior Banjo March (banjo and piano), Ellis’s Banjo Galop for two banjos or banjo/piano or two banjos and piano, Ellis's Wild Rose Polka (banjo/piano or two banjos) and, for banjo and piano, Ellis's Alexandra Quadrille.

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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