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