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  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

A 270th GARLAND OF BRITISH LIGHT MUSIC COMPOSERS

I begin this time with still another of our film/TV composers: Nina Humphreys, who most recently wrote the incidental music score for the BBC2 feature drama Murder (2002).

Donald James Dean Thorne (1901-1967) was a pianist with, and an arranger for, dance bands and later a theatre organist. He also used the pseudonym Eric Denville and August Leserve. His compositions included a suite, Lights of London and two marches, The Gunners and Rise and Shine.

Talking of marches leads us on to our next composer, Captain Calum Gray, who is (2002) Musical Director of the well respected Band of the Light Infantry and as such is responsible for many arrangements and compositions including, most recently (2002) Jubilee March.

John Robert Bell (1892-1953) also had military connections as he served in the Army, Latterly as a Bandmaster, between 1910 and 1930. In the latter year he went to conduct the Band of Southport Corporation which was a military, rather than a brass band and which had previously been long associated with the great William Rimmer. Bell also directed a concert orchestra in Southport but his tenure as M D of the Band was comparatively short as this was disbanded in 1934. Bell, nothing daunted, continued to conduct, sundry bands and amateur operatic societies and also taught locally. His compositions included a novelty for his Southport Band entitled Sunny Southport and used as a signature tune for it.

Finally we come to John Exton, a contemporary of the writer as a Cambridge University undergraduate who led the CUMS Orchestra in the 1950s: Much later than that, in around 1980 I heard three pieces by him for unaccompanied oboe these were rather astringent, but when he was still an undergraduate the CUMS Orchestra performed his overture Badinerie. I was there and can confirm that this was, as its title suggests, well in the tradition of the rumbustious British concert overture, despite, again, a touch of astringency.

Philip L Scowcroft

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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