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Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

A 57TH GARLAND OF BRITISH LIGHT MUSIC COMPOSERS

An astonishing number of British composers of light music have contributed "production music" or "mood music" to the recorded music libraries run by various publishers from early on this century, many of which are still flourishing and on which film, TV and radio producers have drawn. For example, CHRIS ELLIOTT has recently composed a Millennium Theme, specially commissioned by Chappell's RML. Three composers for Amphonic are the late PAUL READE, previously featured, SUZANNE DAVIES (examples of her miniatures are Rainbow Way, Waterfall and Rag Doll) and JOHN FOX (eg Pastoral Impressions and Rural Impressions and many arrangements).

De Wolfe's portfolio has included PAUL LEWIS and IVOR SLANEY, both previously discussed, JOHNNY HAWKSWORTH, composer of music adopted as title and other music for TV shows like George and Mildred, Man About the House, Mother Makes Three (five)) and Delia Smith, ANTHONY MAIVER (1930-99): Mood Mediterranean, a five movement "suite" from the 1960s, and the even earlier Blue Peter, which is not the title music for the children's TV programme). ENA BAGA, a talented pianist and organist (at the Tivoli and on the BBC) either side of the last war, and H.M. FARRAR whose titles included Dress Rehearsal and Housewife's Choice. Chappell's perhaps remain the most prestigious of the RML's with, down the years, regular contributors like Robert Farnon, Sidney Torch, Charles Williams and the recently deceased Clive Richardson among many others. By no means all wrote exclusively for one publisher.

PHILIP PROSPER SAINTON (1891-2969), remembered by BMS members primarily for his songs and symphonic poems, did, in the course of his relatively small surviving output dabble in light music such as the "production music" miniatures Carnival, Caricature and Mechanical Energy and of course his score, recently recorded, for the 1956 film Moby Dick.

From the "production music" great age came ALAN MOORHOUSE, active in the sixties and seventies, a prolific arranger and composer of, for example "mood music" tunes like Corridors of Power, the trumpet solo Hill on the Hill and the World Cup March dating from 1966, which, as we never need to remind ourselves was the year we won.

One military band conductor/composer we have not so far noted is PAUL NEVILLE, a Royal Marines Director of Music of the 1960s and 1970s, whose compositions included two marches: the majestic Sword of Honour (1973) and the quiet march Shrewsbury Fair (1975).

Finally our Victorian dance music composer this time bears the name WHEELER, possibly the CLARENCE E. WHEELER who produced ballads such as The Little Clock on the Mantel, but, his Chic Polka and whose Daisy Waltz appeared in the programme of the Doncaster Infirmary Ball of January 1884.

© 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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