A 236th GARLAND OF BRITISH LIGHT MUSIC COMPOSERS
We begin where we left off in Garland 235 with a few
more light music Cook(e)s. Clare Cooke wrote, in 1982, a children’s
operetta after Hans Christian Andersen entitled Living Bird.
Douglas Cook who lives in Cornwall, has penned film music, jazz
scores, brass quintets and the Octave Variations, for a quartet
of recorders. Waddington Cooke, active in the 1920s and after,
composed ballads, like Visitors and Dream Ships and piano
solos suitable for younger performers, among which we may exemplify
New Tunes to Old Rhymes, Four Nursery Tunes, Youth and Three
Pieces (separately entitled Organ Man, Her First Dance and
Hornpipe). Another ballad composer from the inter-war period
was John Cooke, jnr. Popular titles included Why Should London
Wait? and Very Quickly. Too many Cook(e)s? But they do not
spoil the light music broth, surely.
Now for mentions of a few more composers of incidental
music for radio, television or films: Joe Walker, whose most
recent (late 2001) score is for Rolf [Harris] On Art; Mike
Christie and Ian Masterton for the Open University title
music; and Nina Humphreys for the Radio 3 trilogy Democracy
and Language (December 2001). And go back a little in time, a mention
to actor/theatre manager/TV sitcom script writer Jimmy Perry
(1924-) for his part in the composition, jointly with Derek Taverner
(previously discussed), of the Dad’s Army title song (Who
Do You Think You Are Kidding Mr Hitler…?).
And so finally to Roger Jones, composer of sacred
pop cantatas and musicals. I recently heard and enjoyed the latest of
these, the tuneful, lively and up-tempo Simeon, telling the Nativity
story. But Jones has been active in that particular field for upwards
of two decades. Earlier similar works including Jerusalem Joy, A
Grain of Mustardseed, published in 1979, Sounds Alive (1981),
Greater Than Gold (1983) and The Chosen Few (1989). If
Simeon is a guide, these have been popular and much enjoyed by
those performing them.
Philip L Scowcroft
Philip's book 'British Light Music Composers' (ISBN 0903413 88 4) is
currently out of print.