A 267th GARLAND OF BRITISH LIGHT MUSIC COMPOSERS
We begin with a curiosity from 1894 when the "musical
travesty" Laughs, or Tina and Tony toured through the provinces.
Its musical director, C.E. Howells, who had earlier written the
music for the "Extravaganza". The Golden Plume (1886)
and the musical Eastward Ho (1894) contributed, we may assume,
the lion’s share of the score of Laughs, but four other people,
Thomas and Julia Kent, Scott Folkestone (can that
name possibly be a real one?) and W.G. Eaton also provided some
of the music.
Still in Victorian times, another of those arrangers
of theatre music, to go with Warwick Williams, H.M. Higgs and
the Bucalossis, among others, we offer the name of James Weaver.
Our representative of the present-day film/TV/radio
incidental music brigade is David Chilton, whose latest score
(2002) is for the BBC radio play The Compass Rose: A Tattoo Lexicon.
Also still very much active is Mike Walton, who has published
various pieces of educational music or concert items suitable for amateur
performers, such as Trumpet Rag, also various arrangements similarly
suitable including one of The Londonderry Air for clarinet choir,
which I heard very recently.
Finally the name of Giles Swayne, born in 1946,
may in this context create some raising of eyebrows if we remember his
Cry for 28 amplified voices and the fact that he studied with
Harrison Birtwistle, whom I cannot imagine being a candidate for these
Garlands! But Swayne, educated at Trinity College, Cambridge and the
Royal Academy of Music, has wide interests (he is for example, fascinated
by the music of Africa) and believes in writing, with his more serious
output, at least some accessible music for young performers. From this
we may exemplify such pieces as County Down for chorus and percussion,
No Quiet Place for children’s voices, string trio and xylophones,
The Song of the Tortoise for narrator, children’s
voices, recorders, choir and orchestra and the piano
pieces for children entitled Zebra Music.
Philip L Scowcroft
Philip's book 'British Light Music Composers' (ISBN 0903413 88 4) is
currently out of print.