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Every day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    

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 2001.

Philip L Scowcroft

December 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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