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
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
to: index page
on the Web