A 231st GARLAND OF BRITISH LIGHT MUSIC COMPOSERS
Three similarly named composers to begin with. There
have been a number of musical Reeds or Reads, but the one to start us
off is Henry Reed, a BBC producer with a number of short orchestral
compositions to his credit, such as the march The Band Plays,
the valse brillante Coryphee and incidental music for the radio
plays Sorrell and Son (1950) and The Talking Bird (1958).
Previous to that he had, in 1944, made a foray into the world of the
British light musical theatre with Gay Go Up, described as "a
joyous adventure with music" and toured through the provinces.
Six of Gay Go Up’s 19 musical numbers were for a vocal harmony
group, rather unusual, but it was perhaps a show with modest pretensions
as its accompaniment was provided on two pianos. Our two remaining soundalikes
can be briefly disposed of, Ernest Reeves being known in his
day for his many arrangements and for orchestral compositions like The
Mummers’ Masquerade, A Tune for Television and Slapstick,
while Vernon Rees’ Elegy for strings was occasionally
performed in the mid 20th Century though otherwise I know
nothing about him.
Alexander Kevin, whose real name was Alan
Kenin Kaplan, was Canadian by birth, and wealthy. He expended –
some would say wasted – some of his wealth on the British musical stage
in the 1950s, serving as theatre manager for Keep Your Hair On (1958)
and as composer, for Jubilee Girl (1956) which did have a modest
run – 53 performances – at the Victoria Palace Theatre in that years.
Finally, from a slightly later period in English musicals,
Daniel Farson and Norman Moore contributed original songs
to The Marie Lloyd Story (1967), though most were "standards"
associated with her, as did Ronnie Bridges to Brer Rabbit
and Uncle Remus (1969). And John Dennet provided the score
for Silk (1970), which did not get beyond Derby.
Philip L Scowcroft
Philip's book 'British Light Music Composers' (ISBN 0903413 88 4) is
currently out of print.