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A 361 st Garland of British Light Music Composers

First, for another group of composers who have since 1950 produced light miniatures for piano, often for young performers: Alan Houghton for the sixteen pieces Rhythm and Rag (1988); Piers Maxim for Cantabile (1957); Jeffrey Whittam for hisAlphabet of Piano Pieces (1989); Ian Venables, born in 1963, for his Stowhead Follies (1987);Roger Stepney for the six movements, All the Fun of the Fair, published in 1988; Ronald Center for From childhood and *Giglot and Toccata, both published in 1988; and Edward Matthews for his Autumn Reverie.

Two composers for the guitar who have catered for student performers are: Timothy Walker, who has produced many arrangements plus some original compositions like the Fantasia Celestina and the African Light Suite (1976). G Romani has provided music for guitarists (e.g the Leicester Sketches and Arioso and Rondino) and for accordionists also.

Finally, some march composers: A E Challenor for Flying Review (1963); Roy Edward Charles Davies for Skywatch, the march of the Royal Observer Corps; bandmaster P Hudson of the Royal Anglian Regiment for Fifty Glorious Years (2002); Chris Friend, sometime euphonium player in the Prince of Wales’ Division Lucknow Band for Imjin River; Martin Grace’s Euryabus for the Royal Marines Band Service (Grace is a band sergeant in the Portsmouth band); and Sidney Wilson Ord Hume (1908-88), son of the great James Ord Hume, who was in the Army for 34 years, many of them with the Nottinghamshire Regiment, a big arranger for band and composer of the marches Cumbermere, Eagleray, Mandora, Silver Sounds and Champion March.

Philip L Scowcroft

February 2003

A 362 nd Garland of British Light Music Composers

This latest Garland is devoted to another group of those who largely concentrated on music for young performers in the period after 1950 and whose compositions in whole or in part (that is, as far as my experience goes) featured music for solo piano. These compositions are usually attractively tuneful and, for me at least, fall within the scope of the term ‘light music’.

First for Cyril C Dalmaine, whose piano solos include the ‘suites’ Time Pieces (fourteen musical impressions of clocks), the King Charles II Suite (twelve period pieces published in 1954), Seven Simple Preludes and Three Suffolk Meditations, and the single movements Valentine and Ballad for a Burglar. Also by Dalmaine, The Ogre of Fontainebleau was a ‘mime ballet’ for children. John Cread could point to the Nine Bagatelles, Six Fancies and, published in 1959, a Miniature Suite (Prelude, Air and Forlane). Ian Christelow’s piano suite At the Court of King Crumb (1961) was leavened by his many arrangements plus Introits for recorders and A Song of Christmas for unison voices.

Alfred Leonard Flay , who also penned a British Heritage Suite for strings, composed for piano solo, the suites From Mr Aesop’s Notebook (1969) andWork and Play (1961). Cecily Lambert’s piano suites included Going up to London (1962), London Scenes and Greek Scenes; her Aubade for four recorders, was also published. John O’Kill’s Crusoe’s Island (1961), yet another suite for piano, appeared in 1961; he also wrote the unison songs Mr Tom Narrow and The Snail; Dennis Todd’s Tom Sawyer Suite (1961, also), in six movements and for piano solo, was an original composition to put alongside various carol and spiritual arrangements. And finally Anthony F Whittaker’s one significant publication (in Leamington) came in 1975 and was of the Warwick Suite for piano.

Philip L Scowcroft

March 2003

A 363 rd Garland of British Light Music Composers

As a final (for the time being) pendant to our post-1950 light music composers for young pianists, let us note a few more names in that category. First,Percy Judd, presumably related to Margaret Judd, formerly noted, and who published choral pieces and for pianoAir and Rustic Dance, Country Dance and Wistful tune, all in the 1960s. Cecil Baumer’s piano output includes In repose (1958), Tally Ho (1958), Contrary Mary (1960), the four pieces A Day in the Country (1960), Swans (1963), Circus Horse (1964), and the seven pieces Village Sketch Book (1965). Clive Chapel was less prolific; I have found only Autumn Elf and A Song for the Morning (both 1957). Philip Croot’s three works I mention all achieved publication in 1960 – Three Sketches (Waltz, Nocturne, Demon Goblin’s Dance), Scherzino and Burlesque. Patrick Harvey composed, again for piano, Music for two dancers and Salute to Samuel Pepys during the 1960s.William Arthur Row seemed to specialise in short tuneful sequences for young pianists – From My Sketch Book (1961),Moods and Fancies (1963), Spring’s Heritage (1963), Let Springtime Come (1964) and In Sun and Shade (1966).J Ferguson Smith’s similar output embraced A Visit to the Toyshop (1967), Tour Round the World (1970), andA Trip to the Circus (1975). And Muriel King merits mention for her fairy tale Once Upon a Time (1962), as does Yvonne Enoch for her instructional tutors and The Musical Forms for piano and linking narrative.

William L Smoldon is an interesting figure, as he combined writing about music with an interest in mediaeval church music which took the shape of editions of early mystery plays, with composing songs like Moon Magic and Irish Love Song and suites of piano music for young amateurs.Tendering Suite, Told at the Fireside (1959, in three movements: A Fairy Tale, Pictures at the Fire, Cinderella Dances) and Wayward Thoughts (also 1959: Dragon Fly, Lady Disdain, Pensive Dance).

Finally, two suites for young woodwind players may be noted: Geoffrey Keating’s publications included Habanera and Charleston (and, I believe, other dances) for clarinet ensembles; Terence James Thompson’s educational pieces include arrangements or compositions like City Scenes for four clarinets, Romance in Sepia (flute with piano, 1985), Nine French Dances (oboe/piano) and Twelve French Opera Dances for bassoon and piano.

Philip L Scowcroft

March 2003

A 364 th Garland of British Light Music Composers

To begin with, here are two mid-Victorian ballad composers. First, F Buckley, whose best-known song was Somebody’s Courting Somebody; then we have Prince Josef Poniatowski (1816-73), Polish tenor and composer, nephew of one of Napoleon’s marshals, who later lived in Italy and Paris, then after the fall of the Second Empire in London – his last opera Gelmina was staged there in 1872. His ballad The Yeoman’s Wedding Song was popular in the 1870s.

Now for two orchestral composers. Laura Lemon, active in the early part of the 20th century, is most notably credited with the popular song My Ain Folk, but she also scored for orchestra Three OLD ENGLISH DANCES and, separately,Sweet Ann Page: Old English dance. From slightly later in the century (1940s/50s) Ernest Leggett composed Danse Gaie ( Polka Gracieuse), Let’s Play and Mon Petit Chou.

Another Lemon, unrelated to Laura as far as I am aware, was W G Lemon, responsible in 1960 for The Territorial Army: Golden Jubilee March. 1960 was a little late for the Jubilee as the TA, then called the Territorial Force, was formed in 1908.

As our TV composer this time we may mention Mark Russell, specifically for his score for the drama feature Cold Feet.

And finally for three lesser known conductor/composers for the light musical style during the 1980s: Brendan Healy for The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (1984); Paul Knight for ’Ello, ’Ello, ’Ello produced in Oldham in 1982; and David Scott for The Roman Invasion of Ramsbottom and Captain Stirrick.

Philip L Scowcroft

March 2003

A 365 th Garland of British Light Music Composers

Another varied bag! First, the Welshman Gareth Glyn has published many Welsh songs, at least one harp piece and, recently recorded, the Snowdon Overture.

My musical comedy composers in this Garland are Julian Littman, who sole essay in that field – so far as I aware – was Jubilubie in 1977, Roland Hase whose musical The Showman (I know of no others) was produced at Stratford East in 1976, and the South African born Brian Burke whose one foray into the field was The Demon Barber produced at the Lyric, Hammersmith, in 1959-60; it was not successful.

Byron Lloyd , like one or two others in the ‘library music’ era, seems to be a ‘one work man’, his ‘singleton’ being Music in the Air, the signature tune of an eponymous radio programme which was published and recorded by Chappell.

A light orchestral composer of an earlier generation was Cecil Burleigh (born in 1885); his only title that I have been able to find was The Village Dance.

Finally I offer the name S Bard, credited along with Vivian Ellis with the song A Little Kiss – the name ‘Bard’ suggests a pseudonym but as far as I am aware this was not the case.

Philip L Scowcroft

March 2003

 


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