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  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

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 ReesElegy 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

November 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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