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  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

A SIXTY-NINTH GARLAND OF BRITISH LIGHT MUSIC COMPOSERS

To start with, here are a number of brass band composers from the last decades of the19th Century: one VENNER, composer of Avondale and other titles: one CALVERT, whose quick march The Challenge was just one of several by him; P. ROWE, whose polka Jersey Lily (called after Lily Langtry, actress and mistress of Edward VII is an example of the topicality of dance music titles throughout the ages; and a Mr PETTEE, composer of the marches Rebecca and Eclipse and the once popular Dandy Galop.

The present-day conductor STEPHEN BARLOW, born in 1954 and married to the actress Joanna Lumley, has composed pieces like (the orchestral) Rainbow Bear, which has been recorded, but he remains better known as a conductor of concerts, but more especially of opera, at Glyndebourne, Covent Garden, for Opera North and other houses.

Another modern conductor is MARCUS DODS (1918-84), who was born in Edinburgh, but was educated south of the border, at Rugby and King's College, Cambridge, where he was a Choral Scholar. He worked for a considerable period in films and then became Conductor of the BBC Concert Orchestra. He was best known as an arranger; his charming, chirpy Highland Fancy was composed for his second wife, Deidre Lind, when she was principal oboist of the BBCCO. He also composed music for BBC radio productions of the 1950s and 1960s: Leonce and Lena, The White Devil and Pericles.

MIRIAM HYDE (although she is Australian) is worth a mention here for her short overture Happy Occasion, which is in the tradition of the cheerful British light concert overture.

We conclude this Garland with the Victorian ballad composer MICHAEL WATSON. A number of his ballads were, as was the case with so many other composers, inspired by the sea - The Powder Monkey (An Old Salt's Song), Anchored, The Press Gang (all three were among the most popular in their day) and Oh 'Twas in the Broad Atlantic. But he also derived inspiration from non-nautical sources as his titled included The Quaker's Daughter, The Wishing Well, I Wish to Tune My Quivering Lyre, The Kissing Bridge, The Bended Bow, described as "new" in 1885, and Duty.

© Philip L. Scowcroft

January 2000

 

 

 

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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