Error processing SSI file


Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


A 441st Garland of British Light Music Composers

The foxtrots and other, then new, dances of the early 20th century often had just as fanciful titles as their Victorian predecessors. In the orchestral programmes of orchestras in the Dearne Valley (South Yorkshire) during the early 20th century I came across Hurricane Polka by one Mr Nicholson as an example of Victorian dance music and the Jakerloo Jazz foxtrot by W Hastings, dating from 1919 or thereabouts, as an example of the later period.

Wilfred Howard Mellers , educated at Cambridge University and who pursued a career as a university music professor, notably at York, composed basically serious, evenavant-garde, music but he earns a mention here for his ballad operas Mary Euster and The Borderline. Neville Thomas Atkinson, born in 1832 in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, was a music teacher in various schools and his compositions included a children's opera The Divided Kingdom and Ballet for Children.

Robert Edwin Austin , born in 1895, was a conductor and administrator in the brass band world, who brought out a large number of arrangements and original compositions for brass band.

Alan Martin Atkin has composed much for guitar(s) - Five Bagatelles (1981) and Pieces of Eight for solo guitar, Three Impressions for two guitars and a Sonata Semplice for four guitars. And Ernest Young is worthy of our notice for his Euphonium Suite (with piano accompaniment) published in 1983.

Philip L Scowcroft

Oct 2003

A 442nd Garland of British Light Music Composers

I begin with two unrelated composers called White, Barry White published in 1957 the piano solo Long John, inspired by a sea shanty and John White lives on the Isle of Wight and believes, he tells me, in the efficacy of writing tunes. He has composed a Vectis Symphony for a local orchestra (though they have yet to perform it) and in lighter mood a Divertimento for wind instruments.

James Sexton composed music during the 1950s for accordion (e.g. the "ländler-musette" Marianne) and for harmonica. Jerry Mayes' pieces from the 1970s are for mixed ensembles and included Joy Waltz, Petite Tango and Jubilee Cha-Cha-Cha.

Maurice Elwin contributed a few numbers to the musical comedy Hold My Hand, most of whose music was by Noel Gay (previously dealt with and better remembered for his later musical Me and My Girl); Hold My Hand went to the Gaiety Theatre after a provincial run in 1931 and managed 212 performances.

For our ballad composer, let us recall Mary Sheldon, born in 1889 in Derby, who taught music in Birmingham and whose titles includeA Cradle Song (recently recorded by Sir Thomas Allen for Hyperion), Palm Sunday, The Colour, Courtesy, Epitaph and Gipsy Troth.

Finally mentions for two for their incidental music: Simon Fisher-Turner for Derek Jarman's films The Last of England,Caravaggio and The Garden; and John Gould for readings on record of Winnie The Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner.

Philip L Scowcroft

Oct 2003

A 443rd Garland of British Light Music Composers

These Garlands have included a considerable number of names of those who have written for young performers. Here are two more, both similarly named but not as far as I am aware, related. Ronald Chamberlain is noted for composing and publishing in 1979 the dramatic cantata Herod and the Rooster, while Ailsa Chamberlain published in 1964, One, Two, Three 'music for young violinists' and of appealing simplicity, which has been widely used in the intervening forty years - in 1970 she brought out, in conjunction with Juliette Edwards (about whom I know nothing else) Tunes for Two (violinists).

Dara P Rowe is our theatre composer, this time, whose biggest moment was writing the score for the musical The Witches of Eastwick, produced in the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in 2000, the songs of which have been published.

Isobel Violet Shelton Dunlop , born in 1901 in Edinburgh was a teacher of music in various Scottish schools and composed widely, for example a children's opera The Stevenson Triptych, a ballet, Gabriel, much piano music, some of this comprising lightish miniatures like Le Petit Noel (1954) and a Suite for cello and piano, published in 1982.

Philip L Scowcroft

Oct 2003

A 444th Garland of British Light Music Composers

George (or Georges) Dorlay may have been French, but around the end of the Great War he made a modest impact on the London Musical stage. First, in 1918, he wrote the score forMake Believe, three fairy stories, The princess and the Woodcutter, Oliver’s Island and Father Christmas and the Hubbard Family which had a book by A A Milnes and lyrics by C E Burton. This was produced at the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith. Then in the following year he wrote much of the music – some numbers were contributed by Cecil Macklin who, apart from a dance miniature or two, is otherwise an unknown figure to me – for a musical comedy Oh Don’t Dolly which, after a tour in the provinces, went to the Coliseum, where it managed no more than 36 outings.

Another theatre figure of relatively marginal importance was Frank Seddon , a theatre conductor who contributed, along with others, to Mr Wix of Wickham in 1902.

George Henry James Blackmore , born in Chatham in 1921, was a concert, theatre and church organist whose compositions were mainly light novelty miniatures for piano or orchestra – marches, intermezzi and the like. Spring Fever was orchestrated by Joseph Engleman, the grand march Festal Day was arranged for concert band by Peter Sumner in 1966. He was not, so far as I am aware, related to Geoffrey Blackmore, composer of the lightish songs Evening Prayer and The Banks of the Clyde.

Two other similarly named, but unrelated composers may be mentioned briefly. Lesley Bamford for her piano miniatures The Old Salt (1959) and In a Coracle; and D A Bamford who composed in conjunction with G T Pattman, the ‘grotesque dance’ The Jester, for orchestra.

Philip L Scowcroft

Oct 2003

A 445th Garland of British Light Music Composers

I start with brief mentions of two little-known mid-20th century figures who each penned one or two light orchestral miniatures:Stan Bowsher for his Lonesome Pierrot (he also arranged prolifically) and, Ben Berlin for the dance Daddy-Long-Legs, which was broadcast by the BBC and, written for Keith Prowse Music, Perambulator Jock.

Our ballad composer is F S Breville-Smith, who was active in the early 20th century, producing such titles as Into The Dawn (1916), The Gay Cavalier, I Go My Way Singing, Song of the Waggoner, There’s Only One England and The Witch of Bowden.

Brian Patrick Boydell , born in 1917, in Dublin studied at amongst other places the Royal College of Music (with Herbert Howells), later (1962) becoming Professor at Dublin University. Many of his compositions are serious, albeit approachable, but on the lighter side I can mention the orchestral Sheilmartin Suite of 1959 , various miniatures for Irish harp and the piano solos Berceuse for a Young Pianist, Sleeping Leprechaun, Sarabande and Dance for an Ancient Ritual.

Finally Herbert A Carruthers was an arranger and compiler (of folk and popular melodies) albeit a prolific one, and especially for the BBC, rather than a composer as such.

Philip L Scowcroft

Oct 2003


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all Bridge reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing


Error processing SSI file

Return to Review Index

Error processing SSI file