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A 288th Garland of British Light Music Composers
 
Composers of music for children have figured considerably in these Garlands and another one is Ann Elliott whose Indoors and Out – Songs for Young Children, thirteen of them in all, was published in 1939.
 
Now for a few more music hall composers. Many of these were also singers and among our first two were: Leslie Weston, whose song A Matrimonial Chase, appeared in 1929; and George Ellis, who was at his peak in the decade or so before the Second World War, with titles such as Spring’s In The Air (1929), Fifty Years Ago (1930), Jolly Old Bill The Sailor (1932), No Time Like the Nineties (1933), Men (1933), It’s Nice To Be Common Sometimes (1935), and Gustave and Gaston and Me (1937). From a earlier generation, around the run of the century, was Alfred R Sutton, with numbers like A Little Bird Told Me and, very up to date for 1898, The Motors.
 
We may expand our list of composers of radio incidental music with the name of Martin Medina, who in one week in August 2002 was featured twice on BBC Radio 4 with his scores for Sea Wife and Biscuit and A Tender Prayer.
 
Finally for a few march composers, although not all of them confined themselves to marches. There were Arthur Scholes Dale with his concert or processional march Hebden Bridge (1959), Philip Hood with his The Nelson Touch (1957) and J Godfrey Turner who acquired success with his Youth on Parade and The Highlander (both 1971) and arrangements of popular tunes for brass instruments. Reginald Wright was particularly associated with the North-East as can be seen for his march titles which include Big Meeting: The Official March of the Durham Association (1977), Peterlee (1980) and Radio Cleveland, the first of them for military band and the other two for brass.
  Philip L Scowcroft
 
August 2002

A 289th Garland of British Light Music Composers
 
Howard Cable, active after the mid 20th century, seemed to make a speciality of music for wind and brass instruments, his publications including Wind Song and Red Rosey Bush, both for clarinet choir, Stratford Suite: Four Shakespeare Scenes for concert band, the Newfoundland Rhapsody for brass band and a Commencement March (1959).
 
While on the subject of marches, here are mentions for Gus JonesFootball Rag (1962) and for the marches of Frederick Frayling-Kelly, conductor of the Leith Community Concert Band, most recently, (2002) among them being Jubilee March and more than a mention for Trevor Brown, born in 1952, who joined the Royal Marines in 1967, serving with its Band Service for 29 years. His main instruments were piano and clarinet; since discharge he has run a music publishing and distribution company. Works include many arrangements for band, notably of the music of Ron Goodwin, the marches Neon Blue (1985), Raleighing Cry (1987), Best of British (1993) and The Lifeboatmen (RNLI March) (1992) now the official quick march of the RNLI, plus Fanfare and Melody and Opening Time (Fanfare and Flourish).
 
John Albert Mallison (1870-1946) was a quite prolific composer of songs. Many of these were serious in nature, especially the two sets of Songs of Sappho and many set German lyrics but there were a number of lighter ones such as Baby (1901), Four By The Clock, Hindu Children’s Rain Song, Swedish Peasant’s Song, Winter’s Latest Snowflake and We Sway Along.
 
Jack Point is the pseudonym of Mike Crisp, TV producer and Musical Director of the BBC Elstree Concert Band formed in 1984, who has composed music for TV (for example for The Dick Emery Show and documentaries such as Chronicle, Vikings, Return of the Saints and Earth The Home Planet) and for films. Concert pieces include a Concerto for Horn. Finally a mention for Paul Heaton, most recently for his score for the radio play Night Class (2002).
  Philip L Scowcroft
 
August 2002

A 290th Garland of British Light Music Composers
 
The name Miller has cropped up before in these Garlands. Not least in connection with the Miller family of military musicians. But there are still a number of others to note. I came across in an issue of Radio Times for a week straddling March/April 1949 (a week in which the BBC Light Programme put on a Festival of British Music) reference to a performance by the BBC Midland Light Orchestra of Three Pieces in Classic Style by ‘Miller’ simply – but which Miller? The piece does not appear in the BBC Orchestral catalogue which is surprising. Not I think one of the military Millers; after discarding Douglas Miller, who published Two Nocturnes for piano solo in 1960, I tentatively identified him with Michael Miller whose compositions include Three Miniatures for violin, viola and piano, published in 1968.
 
Another, much earlier composer, who looked back to classic, even baroque examples, was George Saint-George (1841-19124), born in Leipzig of English parents, who studied violin, piano and theory, first in Prague, then in Dresden. One of his teachers in Prague lent him a viola d’amore and he took up this then very archaic instrument (it is not that common even in these days of baroque revivals) and played it in concert, particularly after settling in London in the 1860s, sometimes in duets with his son Henry Saint-George (1866-1917), author of many books and articles about music, Editor of The Strad and indeed composer of some Advanced Studies for piano and doubtless other things. George however was probably more prolific as a composer. He often took his inspiration from 18th century dance idioms, as can be seen from works like the two piano trios, L’Ancien Régime (the second is op. 60) and a Suite in D Op. 20 (Prelude, Allemande, Aria, Bourrée, Passepied and Giga) for orchestra, though I have heard two of its movements in a version for violin and piano. The crime writer Dorothy L Sayers played in a Saint-George Suite for two violin during her schooldays. Two other (orchestral) compositions by Saint-George which are probably in a more up to date idiom were Reveil du Printemps and A Coronation March inspired perhaps by the 1902 celebrations.
 
Finally a mention for The Teapot Song by Simon Hutton, incorporated into BBC Radio 4’s August 2002 play adaptation from Patrick Hamilton’s Unknown Assailant.
  Philip L Scowcroft
 
August 2002

A 291st Garland of British Light Music Composers
 
First we have another group of composers associated with the music hall. W Septimus Gordon, was both singer and composer, of, for example, Asking Papa (1925) and I Pack Up Me Trunk and Wait. Frank Wilcock, active around the 1930s, was responsible for songs such as I Want to Take a Young Man In (1931), Big Ben Calls, Comfort, The Songs we Sang of Yore, I Shall Be Near and There’s Always Something and sundry monologues.
 
Herberte (yes there are indeed three Es) Jordan who wrote music hall type songs Sir Humphrey’s Ghost (1922), ’Omely (1926), Walter The Waiter (1931) and Spuds (1940). Sob Skiff described as “pianologue No. 6” we can deduce as being a monologue with piano accompaniment. He was also responsible for a number of short orchestral pieces, though in some cases the orchestration was done by other hands. They include the serenade, Argentine Nights, Salute to a Toy Horse and the marches Fighting Strength and Wing Commander.
 
Malcolm Ives, active in the 1930s and 1940s, composed I’ve Brought You Some Narcissus, Cis (1934), The Council Schools are Good Enough For Me (1935), Sohangin’ (1936) and Browned Off (1942). More than generation earlier Edward Kent had written The Burglars’ Serenade (1895), The Stuttering Men and the Cuckoo Clock and What Would You Like To Be? plus sundry monologues, while the music hall singer and lyricist Ronald Bagnall published The Country Curate in 1908.
 
Finally, and leaving the world of the music hall, there is Arthur Hinton (1869-1941), sometime Professor of Harmony and Composition at the Royal Academy of Music, was responsible for two symphonies, a Piano Concerto, a Piano Quintet and a Piano Trio (his wife was the pianist Katherine Goodson). But in lighter vein he composed the children’s operettas The Disagreeable Princess and St Elizabeth’s Rose; and Haydn Wood, as a young violinist, played in concert with the great Madame Albani and others a movement from Hinton’s Suite in D major, according to a report of a concert in Gainsborough on 29 April 1908.
  Philip L Scowcroft
 
August 2002

A 292nd Garland of British Light Music Composers
 
We start on this occasion with John Hotchkis who was active in the two or three decades after the Second World War as a prolific writer of incidental music for a variety of radio plays and features including – and this is a tiny selection - Dr Jeckyll and Hyde, Macbeth, The Tempest, Queen Elizabeth and Told on Christmas Night. He also composed independent orchestral miniatures such as the Waltz of the Toreadors.
 
Now for another group of composers of music for the music hall and variety stage. Earliest among them is Tom Clare, singer and composer of Absolutely Wrong (1910), Fred Cecil came to the fore around the time of the Great War, with military ones like Major Pott and The Army Alphabet, and afterwards (1922) with Hurricane History. From the 1920s we may recall Hilda Bertram (Oh La La), G Forbes Russell (Tomboy), Fred Gibson (Bon, Très Bon! and He Led Me Up the Garden) and William Beer (The Art of Politeness, Girls Versus Men and Why Go Abroad?), though the latter two operated in the 1930s as well, at which period Harry Talbot was active with titles like Hoot, Moan and Rattle, Funny!, Genteel, Courteous and Civil, We’re Proud to Call Him Father and Three Women Haters, as was Harry Gibson with songs like The Schoolmaster.
 
Finally we have included in these Garlands many composers with the name Wood and here are two more: Olive Wood for her Happy PartnersSeven Easy (piano) Duets from 1938 which start with a Scouts March and end with a Parade March; and Lucille Wood, for her Singing Fun, for children’s voices, published in 1962.
 

Philip L Scowcroft
 
August 2002


A 293rd Garland of British Light Music Composers

 
We have been looking at music hall composers quite a bit recently. Music hall monologues are arguably amongst the most basic of types of light music but they were popular in their day so here are a few - probably late Victorian - examples with their composers, most of whom produced several instances of the form: A Dickens Monologue (George Phillips), The Cabman’s Railway Yarn (Alan Staines), The Bus Conductor (Will Kings), My Old Football (Milton Hayes), My Motor Car (Barclay Gammons) and The Little Crossing Sweeper (Lettice Newman). Of course, these people did not confine themselves to composing monologues. J Bond Andrews for example, wrote the monologues - not all of them humorous, incidentally - Snowflakes, The Lesson of the Water Mill, The Game of Life, If Only We Knew and Behind The Veil, plus the songs Alice (1893), The Coster ’Oneymoon (1893) and The Nipper’s Lullaby, all sung by Albert Chevalier, The World Went Very Well Then and Vulcan, the comic opera, Herne’s Oak or The Rose of Windsor (1887) and an operetta The Lass That Loved a Sailor (1893).
 
Among other music hall song producers were Penystone Miles, known for his Wishes (1914), Earnest Barry (‘Ilda, 1932) and James (Jimmy) Godden, singer and composer of My Advice (1912), To Cut a Long Story Short (1913) and Slowly But Surely (1911). Arthur Askey CBE (1900-82) had a long career as a theatrical, film, radio and TV artist who could turn his hand to almost anything; it seems certain that he was responsible, at least in part, for composing some of the songs he sang, for example, The Sportsman (1934), Ding Dong Bell (1942) and The Bee, The Worm, The Seagull and other songs from The Bandwagon Song Book.
 
The well loved figure of Arthur Askey has brought us almost up to date, but, to end with here is a mention for the name Geoffrey Cummings-Knight, a teacher who has produced a number of very singable songs and duets – Crocodile Rag, which I heard recently, was very catchy and up-tempo.
 

Philip L Scowcroft
 
August 2002


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