A 240th GARLAND OF BRITISH LIGHT MUSIC COMPOSERS
We begin with our example of an early 20th
Century ballad composer: Dorothy Lee, whose best known titles
were One Fleeting Hour and Out of the Dusk for which she
supplied optional parts for violin and cello.
Our present day film/TV composer is Michael J McEvoy,
whose most recent (2001) assignment has been to provide shapely, rather
elegiac background music for the Channel 4 feature documentary The
Battle of Hood and Bismarck.
Jason Ball is worth a mention here for the score
he finished for an acclaimed stage version of Charles Dicken’s A
Christmas Carol for Chichester Festival Theatre in December 2001.
Bernard Walker (1901-99), school teacher, friend
and sometime pupil of Percy Whitlock, also composed during the last
50 years of his life. His work list included songs, solo and choral
– mainly unison – and short tuneful pieces for organ. (Legend, Intermezzo
(Rondino) and the "maggot" Mariner’s Fancy,
based on the hymn tune Melita) and piano (Plaint, Song Without
Words and, for duet, four hands, one piano, A La Russe).
His output perhaps reflects Whitlock’s own in microcosm.
Ray (mond) Jones was a staff arranger for Mills
Music during and after the 1950s. He also composed music for TV and
orchestral miniatures like Hay Day, dating from 1959.
Sydney Houlkes, active in the period just after
the Second World War is a shadowy figure. His orchestral miniatures,
a few of which survive are attractive enough to make one wish to learn
more about him. He did however compose music for Shakespeare’s Love’s
Labours Lost, the Cuckoo Song achieving publication.
And finally Malcolm Grimston is further proof
of the fact that composers still write light(ish) pictorial miniatures.
His Nocturne, Putney and the River was premiered in November
Philip L Scowcroft
Philip's book 'British Light Music Composers' (ISBN 0903413 88 4) is
currently out of print.