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A 411th Garland of British Light Music Composers

John Carlowitz Ames (1880-1924), educated at Edinburgh University and abroad, was known in his day for his operas and concertos, but on the lighter side there were the marches The Last of the Incas, taken from an opera, and Amiri and the suite for strings, The Seasons (Dance of the Spring, the barcarolle On Summer Seas and Harvest Festival - no winter).

One more composer for TV: Paul K Joyce for the music (and lyrics) accompanying the Bob The Builder series.

The firm of R Smith & Sons is well known in the brass band world for supplying inter alia brass band music. The originalRichard Smith (died 1890) was the first to supply such music - he produced it himself, and prolifically so, dances like the Cordelia valse, the Joyous Friends quadrille and the Rosy Cross galop, marches like The Starlit Dell and countless arrangements. Brass band composers and arrangers contemporary with himself included T de Lacy (composer of the grand galop,The Lucknow), John Brophy (Irresistible polka and the National Guard march), G Cheesman (Little Blue Bell waltz), W V Scholes (the galop Just Off), M Seaman (Kildare valse) and J S Jones, the father of Sidney of The Geisha fame and Harrogate/Leeds bandmaster (the valse Happy and Gay, the quickstep Up To Dick and the Modgesten and Silver Key marches). Harry Round, who in partnership with Thomas Wright, published brass band music from 1875, also composed prolifically, examples being the overture Knight Templar, a quadrille Call To Arms, the Saltaire Polka and hundreds of selections.

Finally for a few more singletons in the light orchestral field. Steve Bretton better known as Leonard Trebilco ( Trevor Duncan) for A Lady in Love (1952) , published by Frances, Day & Hunter, Cecil Burleigh (born 1888) for The Village Dance and Arthur Borkby for Charles Steps Out, a fantasy on Charlie Is My Darling.

Philip L Scowcroft

July 2003

A 412th Garland of British Light Music Composers

I start with a group of composers known for their popular songs, mostly for just one or two of them. We start with Quenton Ashlyn, who composed the comic song The Bassoon shortly before 1900; it was published by Reynolds. It has earned a number of performances since and has just (July 2003) been recorded. But who was Quenton Ashlyn? One suspects it was a pseudonym but that does not take us much further.

Moving forward in a chronological sense, we come to Will D Cobb whose song Yip-I-Addy-I-Ay was used in the popular musical Our Miss Gibbs (1910). Louise Craven from the 1940s published songs like My Life Is Yours (1946) and particularly popular I'll Turn To You. And from roughly the same period T S Chandler was responsible for The Rock-A-Bye Lady in 1951.

Arthur K Duff also dabbled in composing songs with his setting of Who Is Sylvia? from Shakespeare's Two Gentlemen of Verona, but is perhaps better remembered for his Irish Suite for Strings, in five movements. And Frank Cornstock's library miniature Nostalgia (1946) was published by Boosey in both solo piano and orchestral versions.

Philip L Scowcroft

July 2003

A 413th Garland of British Light Music Composers

We begin with Donald Edge, active post 1939-45, arranger of folk and popular tunes and compiler of medleys like An Old England Fantasy, Music in the Air and English Theatre Waltzes, all for BBC Radio Two. Figures who were probably active around the same time (and about whom I know nothing bar the title of one orchestral work credited to each of them) were Don Granston ( Bowstrings) and O A Evans (The Night of the Hobby-Horse).

Eric Grant whose floreat was the years either side of 1960 published a number of short genre pieces suitable for young pianists: Derry-Down-Derry,Foot It Featly, Golden Slumbers, Rather Lonesome, Siciliano and Chimes (1962) and Three Pieces ( Lullaby, A Sea Song and A Sad Cellist).

Finally we consider the case of Henry Gadsby (1842-1907), basically a serious musician: he was Professor (of Piano, Harmony and Composition) at the Guildhall School and at Queen's College London and composed sundry cantatas including one on Columbus, symphonies, an Organ Concerto and church music. He also wrote incidental theatre music for productions at Queen's but the plays - Andromache, Amerita etc - seem fairly serious, an overture Andromeda and a two movement orchestral suite The Forest of Arden comprising an Intermezzo, an autumnal picture of the forest, and a hunting piece Tantarra.

Philip L Scowcroft

July 2003

A 414th Garland of British Light Music Composers

These Garlands have revived the names of many of the composers of ballads and music-hall songs which provided so much fodder for the singers of a century or so ago. We have not and indeed cannot achieve anything like completeness in such a survey nor is it possible except in a very few instances to offer a qualitative assessment of their work. Here are a few more names in those directions. Among ballad practitioners there are W E Haslam for Pilgrims of the Night and George Percy Haddock (1824-1907) for The Soul's Awakening. And of music hall composers what about Leonard Henry for What Did The Village Blacksmith? and Was Nero a Hero?

Two composers for radio now. Basil Hempseed, active in the years after the last war, provided music for features like The Show Must Go On (1948) and Miss Dangerfield (1950). Coming much more up to date, Adrian Utley has provided a score along with Will Gregory, previously noted, for the BBC Radio 4 drama Blood of Strangers (July 2003).

Finally to J S Howgill not to be confused with the previously noted R F Howgill who may have been related, worth our memory for his evocatively titled orchestral compositions of three generations or so ago - La Juana, Dreamland Bells, the gavotte Weymouth Chimes and the march God of Thunder.

Philip L Scowcroft

July 2003

A 415th Garland of British Light Music Composers

First, for five orchestral composers - Evan Marsden for his topographical excursions Portsmouth Town and Westward Ho; Hugh Malloy worth a mention for Silver Fingers, arranged by waltz composer Charles Ancliffe and published by Boosey; Clifford Phillips whose Scherzo Caprice for piano and orchestra achieved some popularity as did Vernon Rees' Elegy for strings; and Gordon Thorne, born in 1912.

Thorne was organist, teacher and Senior Music Assistant to the BBC North Region, conductor of the BBC Northern Singers 1954-59 and Deputy Conductor of the BBC Northern Orchestra 1938-40 and 1946-53. His main work was a Violin Concerto but on the lighter side he made folk song arrangements and wrote incidental music.

F Jewell was a march composer, one of those marches bearing the unusual title Baby Boo. An earlier march composer was W Vine who wrote the march Tel-El-Kebir this after a victory for British arms in Egypt in 1882 - I have traced a performance of it by a Doncaster brass band in only the following year.

J F Mallard is yet another who has composed music suitable for young performers. Two examples, both published in 1967, are Five, Six, Seven for clarinet and piano and the Four Pieces for piano solo. Another who has published for students is Peter Malcolm but in his case they are mostly, even entirely, arrangements.

Philip L Scowcroft

July 2003


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