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  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

A 220th GARLAND OF BRITISH LIGHT MUSIC COMPOSERS

Here we mainly consider more obscurities from the English musical stage. Our first group includes: Lionel Benson, who composed the one-acters The Turquoise Ring (1880, described as a "comedietta"), Many Happy Returns (1881) and the vaudeville A Mountain Heiress (1883), all for the St George’s Hall Entertainments; George Fearnley, whose three act musical The Boy Scout was toured in 1912; the conductor Leonard L Lennard, who composed the score for The Ruby Pendant; and also from the 1920s, William J Stafford, whose one musical comedy appears to have been Playmates, toured in 1929.

William may have been related to Harry Stafford who composed some of the score for Gay Bohemia, a "Parisian musical play" of 1919. We have previously discussed Reginald Hargreaves, an occasional composer for the musical stage. He is not to be confused with Robert Hargreaves, whose compositions (on his own or in collaboration with others) seem to be music hall type songs like Barney’s Boarding House, Don’t Forget to Write, Lizzie, O K Chief, Airman Airman, Fire! Fire! Fire! And Slippery Sam the Stoker. A Robert Hargreaves wrote lyrics for Tuned Up, a Joseph Tunbridge musical of 1926, but I have reservations about whether he was the same as his music hall namesake who was operative about that time.

The Australian-born theatre–cum–director–cum–songwriter Kenneth Duffield wrote songs for the Noel Gay 1934 musical Jack o’Diamonds, produced at the Gaiety and also for the revues After Dark (1933), Puss, Puss!, Snap and A to Z. Wainwright Morgan may also have come from or had associations with, the Antipodes as his published songs included the Maori canoe song See the Vessel Glide and the Maori legend, Waiata Hinemoa, but his big (well, fairly big) moment was the composition of the musical The Laughing Cavalier at the Adelphi in 1937. It only ran for 37 performances but two songs, You Are Perfection and the title number, achieved publication. This musical included a Dutch ballet, dances to arrangements of Dutch songs. Its musical director was Ernest Irving, remembered as a conductor; perhaps also as a composer for British films in the mid 20th Century.

Philip L Scowcroft

September 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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