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A 416th Garland of British Light Music Composers

To begin with here are a few more figures who have concentrated on music for young performers. Elizabeth Barnard, born in 1906, teacher and lecturer, published Six Simple Rounds, Children's Songs from Spain, New Nursery Jingles, Of Birds and Beasties and much else. Yvonne May Saville Blackall (1923-), educated at Birmingham University, the Birmingham School of Music and the Royal Academy, lecturer and choral teacher, contributed songs, violin and piano pieces and Two Swiss Tunes for school orchestra. Frank Dawes, born in 1910, piano teacher and musical scholar, published educational piano pieces. Interestingly Dorothy Dorow (1930-), remembered as a soprano singer specialising in the avant-garde, had earlier composed songs for children. Gwendolene Peters, active particularly in the period 1930-60, composed and arranged for juniors, especially the piano duets, Woodland Minstrels. Deirdre Shaw (1931-), educated at the Royal Academy of Music before going into school teaching, produced inter alia a Trio for descant recorders, short piano pieces and music for Robin Hood. And Sebastian Hubert Brown, born in 1903, teacher, editor and arranger, composed the Arundel Suite , a scherzo, The Emperor's New Clothes, Surrey Woods and On Conway Shore, most of which were suitable for school orchestras.

Finally for Gordon Thorne, born in 1912, organist, teacher and Senior Music Assistant to the BBC North Region for many years, who conducted the BBC Northern Singers (1954-59) and was deputy conductor of the BBC Northern Orchestra either side of the last war; his light works included incidental music and arrangements of folk tunes. He died in 1965 having been Principal of the Guildhall School for six years.

Philip L Scowcroft

June 2003

A 417th Garland of British Light Music Composers

To start with we recall the interesting figure of Philip Stanley Barker, born in 1913, born and educated in Leicestershire. He was a civil servant but was strongly interested in the banjo (he was even briefly a member of Troise and the Banjoliers around 1948), mandolin and guitar. His compositions included an Etude, Idyll, Impromptu and Tickled Pink for banjo, sundry Caprices andGavotte for mandolin and Allegro in D and Prelude for guitar. He composed for brass bands, too, pieces entitled Tit for Tat and The Tattered Banner.

Frederick Bowman was multi-talented, being composer, pianist, playwright, lyricist and actor and producer in the 1940s and 1950s. His works included incidental music for his own plays and lightish songs such as Love That Is Lost, Sunset On The Cotswold Hills, Coronation Joy andMuriel-Martin-Harvey Waltz. Salford-born Sydney Burnstead, active around the same time, specialised in orchestral miniatures:Cloches de Joie, Intermezzo, Al Fresco, My Pearl, En Avant, Felicity, Whirl of Love, Blue Boys and Grey Boys, Beauty of Bath, Sylvan Revels and La Fée Joyeuse.

Douglas Marsden Coates born in 1898 in Wath-on-Deane (South Yorks) was an organist and choirmaster who naturally composed church music but he also wrote lightish music in several forms - the marches Windsor Pageantry and State Ceremonial for band, an Idyll for organ, Nativity Pageant for orchestra and a scherzo for piano, Pip, A Yorkshire Terrier.

Avril Gwendolen Coleridge-Taylor , daughter of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, was educated at the Guildhall School and Trinity College, London, concentrated largely on serious music but some of her orchestral compositions - Ceremonial March, From the Hills, Sussex Landscape, In memoriam RAF, To April, Valse Caprice, Comet Prelude, the Golden Wedding Ballet Suite and for strings Pastoral Suite - are lightish in idiom, carrying on her father's tradition maybe?

Philip L Scowcroft

June 2003

A 418th Garland of British Light Music Composers

A few brief mentions to start with. Michael Sayer is particularly noted for his writings on the organ but he is also credited with the incidental music for a BBC adaptation of Agatha Christie's story The Yellow Iris. H J Taylor merits notice for Memories for string orchestra. Dominic Cain (1925-) conductor of operatic societies and a school teacher, composed incidental music and piano pieces. John Michael East (1929-), educated at the Royal Academy, was also, like Cain, a school teacher (in England and South Africa), a conductor and a composer of incidental music (for King Lear and Romeo and Juliet). And Clarence E Wheeler wrote a light orchestral piece The Little Clock on the Mantel.

Ivor Mairants , born in 1908, was a noted guitarist whose compositions (for his instrument) included Little Bo-Peep, Personal Call, Russian Salad, Mustard & Cress, Spring Fever, Pepper and Salt and Summer Madness.

Timothy Moore (1922-), educated at Trinity College Cambridge, became Director of Music at Dartington Hall School in 1950. Many of his compositions are serious, exceptions to this rule being the comic opera Cannibal Island, a musical Crime and Blandishment, a Divertimento for two violins and viola and a Suite for three recorders.

Philip L Scowcroft

June 2003

A 419th Garland of British Light Music Composers

This Garland illustrates as have as many previous ones, the diversity of the British (light) musical scene.

René Pougnet , born in 1911 and not to be confused with Jean Pougnet, a noted Palm Court violinist, was a pianist who worked with Henry Hall and subsequently with the musical department of Warner Brothers. His compositions included Morning Song, Serenade of Old Napoli and No Parking, Why?

Fred Joshua Shaw , born in 1893 in Boston (Lincs), directed various musical ensembles local to that place. His compositions were equally various: The Bells of Flanders, Two Light Pieces, Dance Caprice, Boston Boys' March and A Kentucky Lullaby for military band; Twilight Visions for piano solo; and Brave and Bold for banjo.

Devon-born A David Taylor, born in 1911, was a music teacher, organist and bandmaster whose compositions included works for brass band and Festival of Britain March - for organ not band.

William Sidney Glynn Williams was born in Llangollen in 1896 and lived there most of his life. Appropriately he was, in addition to being involved with musical education in Wales, a prolific arranger of Welsh folk songs and dances, plus solos for piano and violin.

Frederick Stock , born in 1883 in Northampton, is not to be confused with the American orchestral conductor; this Frederick Stock did conduct but mostly figured as a violinist in leading London orchestras and composed the short violin pieces Reverie and Souvenir.

Philip L Scowcroft

July 2003

A 420th Garland of British Light Music Composers

Ken Mackintosh , particularly active during the 1950s, is remembered for his lively orchestral novelty Strings Have Wings; he also produced a Saxophone Method, published by Frances, Day & Hunter in 1958.

Our composer for TV this time can be Burt Rhodes for his specially written score for the long-running sitcom The Good Life.

We have previously included many names of those responsible for music for young performers: here is that of W Smyth Cooper, for his May-Day in Welladay, a children's operetta published in 1915. I know of nothing else by him.

Finally for a few names in the field of light choral music: Ralph L Baldwin, O Hush Thee My Baby (1941: he also composed church music); C F Chudleigh Candish, associated with music-making for the London & North Eastern Railway during the 1920s and 1930s, for his male voice items (TTBB) Song of the Jolly Roger (1911: still very popular and since arranged for other vocal forces) and Westward Ho (Here's to the Golden Hind) (1929): and Sir Frederick Bridge (1844-1924). Bridge was Organist of Westminster Abbey, 1875-1918, Conductor of the Royal Choral Society, 1896-1922 and Gresham Professor of Music. Unsurprisingly, with that pedigree, much of his compositional output which included church music and an overture Morte d'Arthur, was 'serious' but we may note his humorous part-songs The Goslings (1891), still sung by choirs, and Spring (1919).

Philip L Scowcroft

July 2003


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