We begin this Golden issue with FREDERICK BOYCE (1913-70),
whose real name was FREDERICK BAYCOCK (he also used the names GUY DESSLYN
and WILLIAM FIELD). Boyce was organist, BBC producer and sometime Chairman
of the Light Music Society. He also composed, quite prolifically, mainly
for orchestra (many of his pieces were taken into the post 1945 recorded
music libraries), though I have traced only a piano version of his "pastorale"
In Olden Tymes. His best known orchestral piece was Elizabethan
Masque; other titles included Inferno, Farnham Town, Bear in
a Buggy, Finger of Fear, Lady Beautiful, the concert march Royal
Windsor and the concert waltz Green Chartreuse.
STANLEY BLACK, O.B.E. born in 1913 and at the time
of writing still alive, is arguably better remembered as a conductor
(primarily of the BBC Dance Orchestra between 1944 and 1953 and later
of other ensembles, even recording classical pieces for the Decca label),
but he was a prolific arranger and a composer partly, but by no means
always, in an out-and-out jazzy style. He composed scores for some 200
films including Wonderful Life, Hindle Wakes and Summer Holiday,
for piano (e.g. Busy Boy, In a Gracious Mood, Puppet on a String)
and for orchestra, notably the 1935 Overture to a Costume Comedy,
Fanfare For a Film Performance, Swinging Chimp and Golden Mile.
Black also used the pseudonym COLIN DEAN.
ALBERT CAZABON (1883-1970) was a violinist who directed
his own ensemble on radio and doubtless elsewhere and a composer whose
genre pieces were popular, especially just after the Second War and
of which we can instance the Three Ballet Sketches, the entr'actes
On the Moonlight Terrace, Autumn Nocturne and Spring Morning,
the rondos The Jester and Scherzando, a Preludio Romantico
and Fjell Melody, Norwegian Souvenir.
Roughly contemporary with all these was TOLCHARD EVANS
(1901-78), whose real name was SYDNEY EVANS and who was primarily a
pianist, originally in silent cinemas. He wrote some orchestral miniatures
(the waltz, Somewhere Down in Brittany achieved some popularity)
but was best known for his songs, over a thousand of them, the most
celebrated being Dreamy Devon, Valencia and., most famously,
Lady of Spain.
PAUL FENOULHET's career reached its apogee in the
great days of broadcast light music after 1945. He conducted the Skyrockets
in the 1940s and several of the BBC's lighter orchestras during the
fifties and sixties. As one would expect with such a background he produced
countless arrangements; his original works included novelty pieces,
such as Happidrome, Awakening Memories, Top Gear and The Grand
Corniche, and perhaps most notably, the topographical suite Suffolk
Sketches, whose movements include one portraying Flatford Mill,
of Constable fame.
Still another contemporary was IAN GOWLEY, a prolific
arranger, especially of Scottish tunes, for BBC light orchestras, and
composer of such pieces as the Travelling Salesman and the
Song of the Clyde for orchestra and the stage musicals The Bonnie
Rogue (1961) and Oh! Glorious Jubilee (1970).
Our ballad composer representative this time is the
Irishman PERCY FRENCH (1854-1920), whose many Irish ballads included
the very popular ones The Mountains of Mournei and Phil the
From the world of the light musical theatre we may
mention PHILIP MICHAEL FARADAY, who managed English operetta companies
in the years immediately prior to the Great War, but he did find time
to compose - most successfully the comic opera Amasis in 1906;
his other titles included the musical comedies A Welsh Sunset (1908)
and The Islander (1910).
PAUL HARVEY was born in 1936, in Sheffield and in
fact was a contemporary of the writer at that city's King Edward VII
Grammar School. Even then he was a fine clarinettist. Since those days
he has produced a large number of arrangements and compositions for
clarinet(s) or saxophone(s), mostly on lighter vein and often suitable
for students to play.
REX BURROWS was an early encourager of the composer
ALAN RIDOUT (1934-96) but was a good composer in his own right if in
a lighter style than Ridout, ballads such as A Faithful Heart, My
Heart is Yours, There is No End and so on and a piano suite
We conclude this fiftieth selection (fifty I can scarcely
believe it, but I dare say there is material for more) with DOUGLAS
GAMLEY, who died in 1998, having been born in Melbourne (Australia)
in 1924, conductor, pianist and purveyor of (often lush-sounding) orchestral
arrangements of music by other hands, not to mention a version of The
Beggar's Opera which was published and recorded. Gamby's original
compositions included the Souvenir de Granada for orchestra and
scores for a considerable number of films of which we may give as an
example that for Admirable Crichton.
© Philip L. Scowcroft
Philip's book 'British Light Music Composers' (ISBN 0903413 88 4) is
currently out of print.