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A 284th Garland of British Light Music Composers

The common feature between the four composers discussed in this Garland is that each wrote a march or marches; but the composers themselves are very different . Alan Moorhouse’s World Cup March was published in 1966 (that was the year we won it!) but only for piano solo. Moorhouse was credited with other popular numbers like High on a Hill and the Eurovision song entry Boom Bang a Bang Bang (one of our better entries, incidentally, in a musical sense). Edwin Benbow was active from the 1930s until at least the 1960s. His work was primarily for piano solo, examples being Toccatina (1955), Bermuda Suite, Dance of the Atoms, Danse Humoresque, Rhapsody , Romance, Undulations, and, yes, a Petite Marche, from 1964.

Eric Banks was for some time Director of Music to the Royal Air Force. His works include a Ballade for trombone and several marches – Castle Hills,Red Arrows (1972) and the official march of the RAF Regiment, Centurian. Finally there is Derek New whoseYorkshire March (1968) was published for piano solo. New also wrote for brass – a cornet trio Tijuana Holiday (1970), Bugle Call Blues (1971) and a trombone duet Hill-Billy Holiday (1976) – but his best known tune, at least for me and perhaps for many others, is the signature tune for the longest running of all television programmes, University Challenge, which has been heard in various musical guises, presently in a quickened up version for string quartet.

Philip L Scowcroft

August 2002

A 285th Garland of British Light Music Composers

We begin with another group of music hall writers. In many cases these were singers who composed, or were at any rate credited with the songs they sang. Two that we remember here were major figures in the mid to late Victorian music hall. George Leybourne, was, in the number of titles attributed to him, astonishingly prolific. His titles (and all these and many more achieved publication) including After the Opera’s Over,Pretty Little Flora, Artful Joe, Captain Discover, Wellington Boots, Down in a Diving Bell,Pride of Petticoat Lane, Lancashire Lass, Have You Seen Ruth?, I Should Like to be an Alligator,Pretty Little Sarah, I’ve Lost My Bow-Wow, Rolling Home in the Money, Up in a Balloon, Boys, Up in a Monument, Who’s Coming Out for a Spree Tonight, Where’s My Dolly Gone, Rock the Cradle, John, Out of the Frying Pan Into the Fire , Hallelujah Bank and Darling Mary Jane. Some of these are sentimental but most are comic. I have restricted myself to twenty titles and these are the merest tip of the iceberg.

Alfred G Vance was another major music hall singer/composer, publishing, among many other songs, Belgravia, Adolph Simpkins, Perambulator,I’m Her Pa, La Belle de Mabelle, Sir Roger de Beard, Sweet Jenny, Thoroughbred, Ticket of Leave Man,Taking My Ease, Here Stands a Young Man who Wants a Sweetheart, London Society, The Chick-a-Leary Cove, The Blighted Husband, Par Excellence and Soda and B_.

A few lesser known music hall names may be briefly noted: J L Toole, for He, She and the Postman, A Norrible Tale andMatilda Baker, Kate Garstine for When Sammy Comes Home, and Victor Lister for Minnie Bell and Music Hath Charms.

Finally and leaving the music hall for the time being, here is one present-day TV composer we have not so far covered in these surveys. Two shows with which David Mackay has been specially concerned are the recent sitcom The House That Jack Built (its catchy tune, often repeated, is for me the best part of it) and the long-running and now concluded As Time Goes By.

Philip L Scowcroft

August 2002

A 286th Garland of British Light Music Composers

First we have another group of composers associated with the music hall. Several of Fred Eplett’s songs were associated with Dan Leno, especially Our Stores Ltd and probably also Our Society, Never Share Your Lodgings With a Pal, The Bore o’Bef’nal Green and The Recruiting Sergeant. Charles Ingle, by contrast, seemed to write especially for Albert Chevalier.Blue Ribbon Jane, I’ve Got ‘Er ‘At, Wot cher!, Funny Without Being Vulgar, Peculiar and, more famously, My Old Dutch. All these songs come from the 1890s.

From rather later (1920s to 1940s more or less), Norman Long was both singer and composer in the music hall and variety world. His song titles included Marrers, Seasons, It’s A Marvel, My Little Austin Seven, One Must Keep Abreast of the Times, and The Little Back Garden of Mine. And there was E W Rogers, whose fame straddled the turn of the century, was responsible for such numbers as After The Show, The Anglo-Saxon Language, The Simple Pimple (George Robey’s first hit), The Barmaid, Following in Father’s Footsteps, It’s part of a Policeman’s Duty, The Midnight Son (sic, apparently), Skylark! Skylark! , Three Little Words (‘I Love You’), Welcome C.I.V.s, and other patriotic one, Soldiers of the King, Sweethearts, The Moonlight Blossoms, and a thirty odd year pre-echo, The Lambeth Walk.

Another Rogers, F M Rogers, active between the wars, was responsible for the orchestral miniatures, The Cardinal’s Snuff Box and the waltz Moonlight Melody. Finally a mention for Frederic Lewis for his score for the 1937 Korda film Storm in a Teacup but not, so far as I have been able to discover, anything else.

Philip L Scowcroft

August 2002

A 287th Garland of British Light Music Composers

This time we yet again offer a bunch of composers for the music hall and variety stage. Before that a word for Charles Harford Lloyd (1849-1919). Organist of Gloucester Cathedral (1876-82) and Christ Church Oxford, then Music Master at Eton College, and finally at the Chapel Royal. Naturally enough the bulk of his output comprised church music, cantatas and an attractive Organ Sonata, but on the lighter side we may mention songs like Hawke and Allan-a-Dale, the Album Leaves and Glyndebourne Dances for piano solo (the latter at least a generation before the name ‘Glyndebourne’ acquired operatic connotations), tuneful organ pieces, such as the Elegy of 1897 and the Introduction and Minuet of 1919, possibly his last work, and his incidental music for small instrumental ensemble, for Alcestis.

Now to the music hall. One of its great performers was Albert Chevalier (1862-1928). He also wrote the words and even the music for a number of his songs like The Dotty Poet, The Everflowing Brook, Our ’Armonic Club, A Mistake, The Coster’s Courtship and, most memorably, The Future Mrs ‘Awkins (1892). Two orchestral selections of ‘Coster songs’ associated with him were made by Charles Godfrey and John Crook (who composed a number of them originally) and by Charles Godfrey respectively.

Harold Arpthorp , singer, lyricist and composer, active especially during the 1920s and 1930s, was particularly prolific as a composer. I Didn’t Like To, Three Married Martyrs, The Blacksmith’s Goodbye, My Influenza, Song of the Vulgar Dustman, The Advertising Man , At Home I’m My Wifes’ Husband (But When I’m Away I’m Me), I’m Used To it!, Dear, Dear, Three Old Crocks,Stiff Collars, Queenie The Carnival Queen, Now There will Be a Collection, We’ve All Got Our Troubles to Bear and Wurzletop are just fifteen of his best known titles. He also composed many monologues.

Rueben More , active in the first three decades of the 20th century could point to I Tried to Keep From Laughing, The Funny Little Man I Know (1918) and Do Give Over Clara (1926), while Frederick Chester seems to specialise in West Country numbers, with Laughin’ George of Zomerzet (1937) and Joe’s Little Love Affair. And finally the singerGwen Lewis who composed and published songs well into the 1950s: Now Do You See What I Mean?, Oo-er What a Death To Die, ’E Do Look Nice Wiv ’Is ’At On, Two Dinner Parties, Remedies and On the Day We Went To See The Coronation (the 1953 one is being referred to).

Philip L Scowcroft

August 2002


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