A 217th GARLAND OF BRITISH LIGHT MUSIC COMPOSERS
To start with, we once again tap the musical theatre
of the late Victorian era. Frederick William Humphreys arranged
and composed the music for several pantomimes of the period, notably
Bluebeard, also songs such as Heigh Ho For Daffodil Time
and Early One Morning. Harry C Barry was an actor, but
he also wrote the music for the burlesques, Shylock, or The Venus
of Venice (1892) and Turpin à la Mode (1897), both
of them toured provincially. And musical director George Richardson
achieved some fame as a composer, especially with Popocatapetl
put on in 1874 as a forepiece to Lecocq’s La Fille de Mme Angot
in which he interpolated songs of his own. Richardson's Bluff King
Hal, King and Martyr (1877) was toured provincially.
Two composers who are still alive are worth a brief
mention: Mike Batt for his popular songs including The Wombles
and Bright Eyes from the film Watership Down; and
Julian Jacobson (1947-), pianist and composer, classically trained
and having an interest in jazz, whose compositions include scores for
half-a-dozen films and the flute solo Waltz for Judy for Judith
And finally to the Australian composer and music publisher
Frederick Ellard, who was born in Dublin, the son of a music
publisher and who followed that trade when he emigrated to New South
Wales in the early 1840s. He was a prolific composer of light music:
The Australian Ladies (16 dances for piano solo); four sets of
dances entitled Ellard’s National Country Dances; Woodland
Call and, celebrating the journey from Sydney to Parramatta on New
South Wales’ first railway line, The Sidney Railroad Gallope (sic).
His brother William Ellard also sailed for Australia but drowned
en route, having already published The Australian Quadrilles.
How fascinating to know that Australia was producing dance music at
the same time as Jullien, Coote, the Godfreys and others whom the Garlands
have remembered, were doing so in England.
Philip L Scowcroft
Philip's book 'British Light Music Composers' (ISBN 0903413 88 4) is
currently out of print.