A 245TH GARLAND OF BRITISH LIGHT MUSIC COMPOSERS
Three composers from more or less the present day start
this latest collection. Leslie Russell published, mainly during
the 1970s, various arrangements, plus a number of Christmas carols,
Suite One for flute (or violin) and piano (1971) and some orchestral
Variations on Blaydon Races (1974). Nick Russell-Pavier’s
incidental music includes, most recently, some for a BBC Radio adaptation
of Agatha Christie’s Philomel Cottage (January 2002). The Ulsterman
Philip Hammond’s compositions include an attractively tuneful
Sonatina for flute and piano. I heard this recently and felt
this was high-class light music.
Philip Christian Darnton (1905-81), born near
Leeds and educated at the Matthay School, at Cambridge and abroad, is
mainly a classical composer with concertos, cantatas, symphonies and
an opera to his credit but in an accessible idiom. He merits notice
in these Garlands for his film music, perhaps some of his songs, maybe
the Epic Suite for violin and piano, written for and performed
by David Wolfsthal, a light music violinist noticed previously
in these Garlands and also for the Cantilena for string orchestra.
Alan Danson is an arranger/composer of the present
day, especially for small wind ensembles. If he is an arranger rather
than a composer, his arrangements are, as I heard recently, notably
inventive. His titles include Three Winds in a Boat (shanties
for trio), Cowboys Out West and a selection of drinking songs.
The Suffolk composer Jack Hawes has been quite
prolific in a wide variety of musical forms. His work includes church
service music and a number of extended orchestral works (a Sinfonietta
and the Concerto Lirico for flute and strings have both been
performed in Doncaster) but his lyrical impulse suited the composition
of lighter morsels as well and of these we may cite as examples: A
Handful of Pieces, Three Whimsical Pieces, Burlesque and Pastoral
and Nocturne, all for piano solo; the Five Diversions
for organ; the Birthday Bagatelles for oboe and piano; and a
number of Christmas carols.
Philip L Scowcoft
Philip's book 'British Light Music Composers' (ISBN 0903413 88 4) is
currently out of print.