A 219th GARLAND OF BRITISH LIGHT MUSIC COMPOSERS
We begin with Eric Siday, who was one of that
large band of composers who wrote from the 1940s onwards, for the recorded
music libraries of many publishers. Siday was particularly associated
with Chappell’s and his pieces for them included one entitled Luna
Park. However, Siday’s The Fountain, for strings and piano,
was not written for Chappell, being published by Goodwin and Tabb. He
collaborated in the light music field with the previously noticed Austen
Croom-Johnson under the pseudonym Eric Austen and with the
arranger Reg Owen under the style – surprise, surprise! – of
A mention now for Squadron Leader Stuart Sterling,
who recently (2001) returned to take up the position of Director of
Music of the Band of RAF Regiment which he held previously, between
1985 and 1997, before going to be Director of Music at the RAF College.
He is well respected as an arranger and composer, his works including
various marches (Grand Parade is an example), the fantasy Daedalus
and the English Folk Song Trilogy, all for military/wind bands.
Mike Sammes (1928-2001) is worth brief notice
for his countless popular arrangements for vocal groups, many of which,
like the Mike Sammes Singers, he assembled himself, plus a number of
original compositions, among which we may name Why Not Buy An Extra
Present? Sammes himself played the piano and sang.
And so finally to Frank Brockett, active in
the early 20th Century and particularly known as a purveyor
of piccolo solos, once so popular in light music programmes. His examples
in that direction included The Linnet, The Mocking Bird and Will-o-the-Wisp.
Among his "general" light orchestral miniatures we may exemplify
the "reverie", The Shepherd’s Evensong.
Philip L Scowcroft
Philip's book 'British Light Music Composers' (ISBN 0903413 88 4) is
currently out of print.