A 214th GARLAND OF BRITISH LIGHT MUSIC COMPOSERS
We start with three figures active particularly in
the light orchestral field around 1950. Albert Williams’ best
known pieces were the intermezzo Dancing Moonbeams and the "Scottish
patrol", The Gathering of the Clans. John Madin was
primarily known as an arranger, but his Windmill Waltz achieved
popularity. Better known than either was Arthur Wilkinson (1919-68),
a compiler of medleys, for example, of Howard Keel songs, Ivor Novello
(entitled Novelloitis), Viennese songs and Songs of London.
His Beatles Concerto, for piano and orchestra, was a setting
of Lennon/MacCartney tune All My Loving in the style of the finale
of Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto. Wilkinson's Cornish Caprice
was a fantasy on the much arranged Helston Furry Dance. He also
composed a Dance Mexicana, the opening and closing music for
BBC Radio’s "Melody Hour" programme and music for the 1948
film The Weaker Sex, from which the cue London Scene achieved
a measure of popularity.
There are many composers providing music for wind and
brass bands which we have not by any means covered fully in these Garlands.
Many of them, like Rodney Bashford, military music director extraordinary,
prolific arranger and composer of marches like The Queen’s Royal
Lancers, Slow March, Stable Jacket, Captain of the Guard and countless
others, have been around for a long time; others like Samuel Becker,
composer of the scherzo The Dances of Puck and the "battle
piece", Lamentations of Achilles, Peter Brydon, who
has published First Light, another battle piece, Nightwaves
and Dreams and the four movement suite Toy Box and Chris
Thorp, composer of Lord of the Rings for brass band are relatively
young composers. Some seem, as composers (though all of these are kept
busy as arrangers) to be march composers primarily: David Barker
(e.g. Skywards), David Bertie (Suffolk Punch),
Gary Clegg (The Sphinx and Dragon) and Colin
Hicks (The King’s Royal Hussars). Some are Scots, like Alan
Farnie who is particularly prolific as an arranger, has composed
Anglian Dances, Alpine Lullaby and, all with a Scottish
flavour, A Caledonian Journey, A Royal Mile Suite and the Fauldhouse
There are many more active band composers but these
will have to wait until Garland 215 for a listing.
Philip L Scowcroft
Philip's book 'British Light Music Composers' (ISBN 0903413 88 4) is
currently out of print.