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Every day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    

A 56TH GARLAND OF BRITISH LIGHT MUSIC COMPOSERS

For a change we begin well into the 20th Century with (Robert) NORMAN FULTON (1909-80) who studied at the Royal Academy of Music, whether he returned in 1966 to be Professor of Harmony and Composition. In 1936 he joined the BBC and eventually became Head of its West Regional music from 1953-1960. His compositions, in a mildly astringent idiom, included symphonies and in lighter vein a 15 minute Serenade for Strings, Five Entertainment's and Curtain Walls Sketches, both for small orchestra, the Waltz Rhapsody for piano and orchestra, a ballet Augury, the Scottish Suite for recorder and piano, Little Suite and Dance Miniatures, both for piano duet, and music for radio features (eg for Shakespeare's A Winter's Tale, 1949, Ara's Xmas Play, 1946, An Englishman Looks at Norway and Aaron's Field) and for films.

ROGER HAINES, who had a brief floreat in the 1970s as conductor and composer in the light musical theatre, composed the musicals, Shylock, produced in 1974, revived as Fire Angel in 1977 and revived in its original form, in 1981-2 and jointly with IAN ARMIT, The Three Musketeers (1978).

Back now to the Victorian dance composers and here again I can offer just surnames: one ANDREWS, composer of the waltz Glove de Dijon, one SEDDON, composer of a schottische Prince Charles, and one SHAW, producer of the galop, The First Shot. These three were active during the 1880s and from the same period a dance programme yielded the name PROUT and, attributed to him, a valse Dream of the Past; this surely could not be Ebenezer (1835-1909), of the musical treatises and the Handel editions, not to mention a most attractive Clarinet Sonata I reviewed recently for BMS News - or could it?

Finally a group of present-day figures bound together by their contributions to a recording dating from 1977 but later re-issued on CD, commissioned by VIC LEWIS, on which he conducted the RPO in short movements depicting various colours. The composers include MALCOLM WILLIAMSON (Ochre and Azure) and ROBERT FARNON (Mauve) whom I need not perhaps discuss, film/TV composer JOHN CAMERON, who contributes Yellow and at least one American RANDY EDELMAN (Grey). Lewis himself, born in 1919, was a jazz musician, playing banjo, then guitar, in clubs and later on the BBC, subsequently progressing to conduct big bands and orchestras. He contributed Red, a take-off of Shostakovich, to the disc. KEN THORNE, long a Lewis associate, provided Green, a dreamy pastoral number; KENNY CLAYTON's piece was Sienna, with Italian overtones - Clayton also published The Secret Garden, a suite for piano based on Frances Hodgson Burnett's novel. JOHN SCOTT (1930), composer of the brilliant Gold and a jazz saxophonist and flautist, is remembered particularly for Tarzan's Theme from the film Greystoke, through he wrote for dozens of other films from 1965 onwards, notably Doctor in Clover and Anthony and Cleopatra (1972), also TV.

DAVID MORGAN, born in 1932, is a more classical "figure", composer of symphonies and also, in lighter vein, a Partita and Music for Children (a suite comprising Out For a Stroll, Pony Trap, Sweet Dreams and Rustic Dance), both for orchestra, he contributed the Black movement to the record.

© Philip L. Scowcroft

August 1999

 

Enquiries to Philip at

8 Rowan Mount

DONCASTER

S YORKS DN2 5PJ

Philip's book 'British Light Music Composers' (ISBN 0903413 88 4) is currently out of print.

E-mail enquiries (but NOT orders) can be directed to Rob Barnett at rob.barnett1@btinternet.com


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