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Garland 311 of British Light Music Composers
 
 
First for a handful of composers from the 1950s who are known - to me at least by just one orchestral miniature: Frank Wainwright for Idling, Owen Walters for Poodle Polka; and Bernie Wayne for Port-au-Prince, published by Bosworth.
 
During the 1930s Lionel Trent wrote a number of music hall and other popular songs including June music and, recorded by Gwen Farrar in 1935, MAYBE I'M WRONG AGAIN.
 
In Garland 87 I discussed Patrick Thayer and said then that I might return to him later. His connections with the light musical stage went back further than I suggested there. He contributed a song, entitled Lingerie, for the 1916 musical Toto, but this was not in the event used, songs for Flora (1918) and a cheerful number Merry Old King Canute for C.B. Cochran's Revue Of 1926. Thayer wrote much of the score for The Girl In The Bath (1918) and the whole of the music for Our Liz (1923) and The White Camellia (1928) which, after a successful provincial run, went to Daly’s early in 1929 but did not take off there. He conducted a revival of Vivian Ellis’s Jill Darling in 1944 but appears to have dropped out of the picture thereafter. His date of death, indeed that of his birth, remains unknown to me.
 
I previously mentioned The Silver Patrol briefly produced in 1940; there was a song title of this name, published in 1930, and the whole show, or a version of it, achieved publication in 1937 but his name primarily lives on with I Travel The Road.
 
Philip Scowcroft
September 2002:
 
Garland 312 of British Light Music
 
All our composers this time have a point of the compass included in their names. A surprising number of the Wests are or were connected with the music hall. We have previously discussed Harris (or Harry) Weston, the Western brothers, George and Kenneth, Leslie Weston and Alfred H West. Two more were RP Weston composer of many songs, a considerable number of them incorporated into revues of the 1920s, and Arthur West whose floreat was rather earlier and his songs included Life in the East of London and Rootity-Toot, She Plays The Flute.
 
J Ebenezer West (1863-1929), associated for many years with the Novello publishing house, produced a large number of arrangements and church music compositions, but pieces like his Maypole Dance entitle us to include him in a light music compendium. Monica West, active in the early years of the 20th century, composed ballads, of which output we may exemplify The Little Shepherdess, A Song Of Joy and The Wedding Gown. Still alive is Mike Westbrook, who has made noteworthy contributions in the field of jazz and composition for TV, radio, theatre and the cinema.
 
Of Kenneth North’s songs we may mention one which was particularly popular in the 1950s, The Green Glens of Antrim. T Wallace Southern was also a songwriter; many of his effusions being in a jazzy type idiom.
 
Finally for two Easts. Harold East's compositions include a number in a lighter vein, the six pieces for piano solo, Past And Present, and the brass band Americana and a Spanish-American suite, and Thomas Eastwood, born in 1922, whose works include Ballade-Phantasy and Romance et Plainte, both for guitar solo and a considerable quantity of incidental music radio, e.g. for King John, The Misanthrope, and The Reign Of Edward III.
Garland 313
 
The otherwise obscure figure of Algernon Drummond is known only for the tune of the Eton Boating Song, one of the best known of all school songs. He was serving in India as an officer in the Rifle Brigade when he had his inspiration (and musical fellow officer had to take it down as Drummond could not write music) sometime in the 1870s. The tune has been used in the film North-West Frontier and in the TV series The Prisoner. Drummond should not be confused with Frederick Drummond, the composer of The Gay Highway and other ballads.
 
Alan Paul is usually reckoned a classical composer on the strength of a Sonata for viola and piano (1948), but many of his songs are lightish in character, Like Adoration (1954), Dreams, Jenny Kissed Me (1948), and with Victor Snowden, the music hall/variety number They're All Under The Counter, an expression well known in 1942 when it came out. Snowden’s music hall song ‘Alibut ‘Addick and ‘Ake (1941) was also quite popular in its day. Two other Paul songs came from BBC productions: If I Were Not In Pantomime from the 1956 feature entitled The Trouper; and Love Must Be Free from a radio play. Paul wrote much orchestral music for radio productions such as The Boy And The Bus (1951), The Fabulous Vidocq (1955), The Life of Leslie Stuart, Silver King (1954), Spinster Of This Parish (1951), all in manuscript, and The Scarlet Pimpernel from which Bosworth published a two minute Minuet in 1955.
 
Luisa Snodgrass sounds like a character from Charles Dickens but she composed in the 1920s, I think, it was a popular song, London Girl. Don Bowden arranged many dance movements for Boosey drawn from the works of Charles Ancliffe, Tchaikovsky, Scottish reels, etc. With one Douglas Pond he composed an orchestral miniature, Sandstorm and with Harry Leader he issued a number of Eastern Dances.
 
Philip Scowcroft
Oct 2002
 
 
 
Garland 314 of British Light Music
 
Let us begin with Henry W Goodbanm composer of Victorian dance music around the mid-19th-century such as The Firefly, The Wood Nymphs Polka and the Mary Callinack Polka. Callinack (pronounced in her native Cornwall as K’Lynack) was a Cornish fisherman's wife who walked 300 miles from West Cornwall to London to meet Queen Victoria at The Great Exhibition and the Lord Mayor of London at The Mansion House in 1851. The most remarkable aspect of this feat was that she was 84 years old at the time.
 
Mark Ponsford, born in London and educated at Hampshire, is actor, pianist, lyricist and composer, notably of musicals, which include The Phantom of South Ruislip and, after Oscar Wilde, The Happy Prince.
 
James (or Jimmy) V Monaco (1885-1945) was an American, notably involved with film music but was connected with revue and music hall in England (for numbers like Masculine Women! Feminine Men!), once recorded by Billy Mayerl and Gwen Farrar, You Made Me Love You and Me and the Boyfriend.
 
David William Southgate (1941-?) was born in New Zealand and, apart from his years (1967-71) at the Guildhall School, educated there. He conducted in this country during the 1970s especially for Phoenix Opera and the Royal Shakespeare Company. He has composed quite widely, too, and merits mention here for his children's opera Faery Tale which was in fact premiered in New Zealand.
 
Philip L Scowcroft
Oct 2002
 
Garland 315
 
First of all, for two figures from the late 19th century. Harry B Norris composed a number of music-hall type songs including Algy, Or The Piccadilly Johanee With The Little Glass Eye and The Bold Militiaman, both from 1895. And A N Norman composed in the 1880s songs and also dance music like the Evelyne Waltz and celebrating a famous cricket captain of Lancashire and England, the Hornby Schottische.
 
Two other Normans may be cited from the first half of the 20th century. Lorna Norman for her ballad-type songs, He That Loves A Rosy Cheek, Pan Among The Daffodils, Song Of The Morning-O, A Thrush At Dawn and When My Lady Goes Shopping; and Phyllis Norman-Parker for rather similar songs like All Along O’love, A Bee’s Way, Jack-O'-Lantern and November's Thrush.
 
Four very diverse composers still living now briefly claim our attention. Sir John Manduell (1928-), born in Johannesburg and Principal of the Royal Northern College of music (1971-1996) has sported a mainly serious compositional portfolio but we can perhaps cite his overture Sunderland Point (1969) as something a little lighter in touch. Liverpool-born Malcolm Lipkin (1932-), educated at the Royal College of Music, is similarly “serious" but we can mention his Bagatelles for oboe and piano of 1983 and his Pierrot Dances (1998) for viola and piano. The harpist Skaila Kanga, born in Bombay in 1946 and educated at the Royal Academy of Music, has composed such lightish accessible pieces Les Saisons de la Harpe, for harp solo, British Folk Songs set for flute and harp, and The American Sketches for clarinet (or flute) and harp. And finally a mention for Huw Jones for his settings of Welsh folk-tunes and his incidental music for radio including, most recently (2002) that for Brave Swimmer.
 
Philip L Scowcroft
October 2002
 
Garland 316
 
All of our composers this time are still alive and active in their respective fields. Ian Cameron appears to specialising guitar music, arrangements (especially) and compositions for young students; his original or more or less original, pieces include La Castana, Cuatro Santos and Hunky-Dorian. Simon Park who lives in the Cotswolds, is a latter-day example of that one-time very numerous phenomenon, the orchestral library composer, a sample of his work is the lively High Spirits.
 
Peter Naylor born in 1933 and educated at Cambridge University, has a mainly serious portfolio of compositions, but less serious, perhaps, are his “workshop opera" The Mountain People and, for symphonic band, Beowulf. He lives in Kent.
 
Marisa Robles's (1937-) has long been one of the most distinguished harpists in the concert world. She was born and educated in Spain and then settled in the United Kingdom. Her compositions, naturally enough, are for harp and are approachable for the listener. Then we may exemplify the Narnia suite, Irish suite and, for flute and harp, the Basque Suite.
 
Two figures who have recently (2002) furnished incidental music for BBC radio are the pianist Orlando Gough, for Shakespeare's Coriolanus and Max Harris’s for Nikolai Gogol's The Government Inspector.
 
Finally Philip Selby, born in 1948, who studied at the Royal Manchester College of Music, composed among more serious works, a suite and The Portrait Of Django, both for guitar solo and the Fountain of Youth for guitar and small orchestra. He lives in Italy.
 
Philip L Scowcroft
Oct 2002
 
Garland 317
 
We start with a group who had associations with the BBC between the wars. The violinist and bandleader Bert Ambrose (1897-1973), born in Leeds (West Yorkshire) broadcast frequently at that time and indeed after 1939. His arrangements and compositions included When The Day Is Done (his signature tune) and the melodrama Home James And Don't Spare The Horses. Ernest Friedman, active in the 1930s, made many arrangements for his Ernest Friedman Sextet, regular broadcasters at that time. Theo V Norman was particularly noted for writing, with George Posford, the music for a miniature revue for radio, The World We Listen In (1929), not to mention songs like Me Love-E To You, composed with HB Hedley. Edward Pola merits a mention for Marching Along Together (1957), then a new signature tune for Charles Shadwell's BBC Variety Orchestra, plus music for a revue Here's How.
 
Julian Wright was a prolific song composer his titles including You Are You, The Cricketers Song, Down The River With You, Everything Seems To Whisper, I Hold You In My Heart, I Know A Garden, Moonlight Nights, Old Man Cameron, Something Happened In My Heart, When Love Is All, When The Sun Bursts Thro’ and Whispering Voices, plus others jointly with collaborators All Hands On Deck and Gunga Din And His Lute with Carol Bourne and, from a film, Riding A Camel In The Desert with Harold Flynn and Ralph Barker. Another song composer to mention is Henry Parr (not, of course, Henry Park-Davies, the musical comedy composer) for numbers like Is It Done In Suburbia?, and I'm Wearing Sweet Violets.
 
Finally two composers who, largely jointly, wrote music for student string players: Agnes Best and Edwina Palmer - two Christmas Pieces (1953), Christmas Overture, Rhymes And Rhythms, for violin and piano and Eight Melodic Pieces.
 
Philip L Scowcroft
Oct 2002
 
Garland 318
 
I begin with a father and son dynasty. Berthold Tours (1838-97), organist, violinist and composer was born in Rotterdam and studied first with his father Barthelemy Tours, then at Leipzig. He came to London in 1861 when he played the violin in various orchestras and in 1862 became organist of the Swiss church, Holborn. He indeed composed a considerable amount in the way of Anglican hymn tunes, anthems and services that, especially after becoming musical advisor and editor to Novello’s publishing house. He also produced songs like Our Enemies Have Fall’n and instrumental items - Petit Duo Symphonique for two violins and piano, a Romance for cello and piano, and short organ pieces, including Allegretto grazioso, Fantasia in C and Menuetto in G minor.
 
His son, Frank Edward Tours (1877-1963) was more obviously a light music figure, for all that he studied at the Royal College of Music with Stanford, Parry and (Frederick) Bridge. From about 1900 onwards he was involved in conducting and composing for the light music stage. His own scores included Melnotte (1901), which did not make the West End, and Dashing Little Duke (1899), plus contributions to Mr Wix of Wickham (1892), The Little Cherub (1906), The New Aladdin (1896), the successful The Dairymaids (1896 with Paul Rubens), The Gay Gordons (1897 with Guy Jones) and Mr Manhattan (1916). His only instrumental item I have found so far is the waltz Sweet Nell, but many of his songs (include Mother O’ Mine to Kipling's words, Red Rose, Beyond The Sunset, in Flanders Fields and The Naval and Military Bazaar) acquired popularity. Sometime around 1910 he emigrated to the United States where he became involved with Broadway and later Hollywood; he died in Los Angeles.
 
Finally for two latter-day composers for young performers: Jill Townsend, born in 1938 appears to specialise in string music as The Circus Comes To Town, Czech Song And Dance, Dance Suite, Fun And Games and Fridays, Saturdays are all for string orchestra; and Norman Gilbert, active in the 1950s and 1960s, a quite prolific writer of unison song (e.g. Tractor Driver, The Aeronaut, Racing Cars, Weathers and The Engine) and organ music like Pieces For Four Seasons.
 
Philip L Scowcroft
Oct 2002
 
Garland 319
 
First for two composers with the same surname but not, so far as I am aware, related. Clarence Cox in 1957 published Preldue and Divertissement, both for a trio of clarinets, while Heather Cox composed or compiled in the 1980s with Garth Rickard, a considerable series of pieces entitled Single, Clap And Play or simply Sing!
 
Maria Bird was responsible for the music - mainly songs - for long-running TV series Andy Pandy (from 1950 onwards) and The Wooden Tops. She also published a book of sea shanties is entitled Songs Under Sail.
 
David Stoll is a prolific and varied freelance composer of music ranging from serious (a Cello Concerto, a Cello Sonata, a Piano Quartet, a Sonata for two pianos, at least one String Quartet, an opera about William Byrd and much else) to light. Compositions in the latter category include songs for children, and a musical about Robert Louis Stevenson, Teller of Tales, Shakespearean incidental music (notably for Pericles and The Winter's Tale) and other music for theatre, signature tunes for TV and radio features and some production library music. He also writes on music and is involved with its administration.
 
Finally three composers of musicals and operettas for children, a prolific area, Paul Field, whose Daybreak (1983) was published by the Methodist Church; James JH Edmunds, whose The Oatcake, The Pied Piper and The Stolen Child were all published in 1965 and Muriel Herbert, credited with operettas Christmas Eve’s Dream, Come to the Zoo (1960) and Candy Floss (1964), not to mention many songs for children.
 
Philip L Scowcroft
Oct 2002

Garland 320

First of all, a mentioned for Walter Trinder, composer of the five little sketches for piano solo dating from 1964, A Day In The Country. As far as I'm aware these were not orchestrated. Also for piano originally was the paso doble Conquistador (1964) which was arranged for orchestra, published by Lawrence Wright and composed by Tommy Watt. One Geoffrey Wright published Seven Pastorals (1964, yet again) and the suite Here And There (1967), both piano and also various unison songs for young children. And Mary Webb's compositions included the pictorial piano miniature, Twilight Tapestry (1950).

Now for a few TV/film composers: Michael Collins, for the signature tune for the BBC's coverage of the Sydney Olympics 2000; Paul K Joyce, the music for Bob The Builder; Hal Lindes, for the BBC1 programme Airport; and Patrick John Scott, whose music for the 1967 film Stranger In The House achieved publication in an arrangement for piano solo.

The popular song composer Lee S Roberts, whose titles included Shepherd, Show Me How To Go (1947), Oh Harold and Smiles, was active during the 1940s. To conclude we have two figures from the 1850s: W Jarratt Roberts, purveyor of such popular dance numbers as the Capstan Polka and John J Blockley, whose dances included The Bloomer Polka, named after the ladies’ nether garment, and the Oberon Polka, but who was better known for popular ballads like The Englishman, The Charge Of The Light Brigade, List To The Convent Bells and especially The Arab’s Farewell To His Favourite Steed, Jessie's Dream and The Sands O’Dee.

Philip L Scowcroft
November 2002


 

 


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