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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 253rd GARLAND OF BRITISH LIGHT MUSIC COMPOSERS

John Howlett, born in 1906, was not a big producer as a composer, but he is worthy of notice for his piano piece At Sunset (1960), which achieved some popularity in an orchestration by Frederick Bayco; Howlett also published, in 1958, Four Short Pieces for organ.

Richard Drakeford, who was active especially in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, is known most for his music for the Anglican service but on the lighter side he published A Handful of Pleasant Delight (1958), Six Transatlantic Studies (1967) and Hors d’Oeuvres (1972), all for piano solo, plus Tower Music for brass and the Three Nonsense Songs for baritone solo or unison voices.

To complete this Garland we have a few modern film/TV composers, at least two of which have pursued careers in America. David Arnold (1962-) , born in Luton, has produced many film scores for Hollywood, often in a pop-based idiom though more "traditional" are those for Independence Day and Stargate. The Aberystwyth born Michael J Lewis (1939-) was educated at the Guildhall School. His film scores, mostly (though, not entirely) for Hollywood include Julius Caesar (1970), The Hound of the Baskervilles (1983), The Medusa Touch (1978), North Sea Hyjack (1979), Sphinx (1980) and Upon This Rock (1970). Away from the screen, his musical Cyrano was produced on Broadway in 1973. I assume he was not the same M Lewis who is credited with the signature tune of Midday Melody Hour.

Mark Ayres who was born in London in 1960 and bought up in Kent, is primarily a film music composer in the electronic idiom, but The Innocent Sleep is a more traditional orchestral score. Roy Budd (1947-93) was a jazz pianist and unsurprisingly his film scores, of which we may instance Zeppelin, Soldier Blue and Kidnapped are in a jazz-symphonic idiom. Budd’s last task before his untimely death was to create music for the "silent" version of The Phantom of the Opera in 1993.

Philip L Scowcroft

February 2002


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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