Classical MusicWeb

Music Webmaster Len Mullenger


Taking up where the 118th Garland left off, here are a few more figures who are known primarily for their "educational" music, much of which is suitable both as learning pieces for (young) students and, at a pinch, as pleasant concert music. Peter Martin, born in 1956, has written both for voices and instruments, especially strings, for example, several Little Suites for violin and piano (a Hoe Down from one of these has achieved especial popularity) and three Miniature Trios for violin, cello and piano, bearing the titles Cakewalk, Paso Doble and Rumba. Geoffrey Russell-Smith's many arrangements include a large number from Kodaly, a composer whose educational theories he greatly admires. Of his own pieces we may mention the two pieces for three clarinets, Alice and the Mad Hatter, Hobby Horses, Pony and Trap and A Little Latin, all for recorder(s) and piano, and a short children's cantata, the Emperor and the Nightingale. Pamela Wedgwood's publications include Are You Ready? for trumpet and piano, Jack in a Juice Box for clarinet, and, all for piano solo, Homeward Bound, Easy Does It and Laid Back Blues. Bruce Fraser is worth a mention for his Citrus Suite for woodwind ensembles and Three Latin-American Dances for brass (both from the 1980s), as is Ernest Baker, best-known for his church music, for his Cantilena for French horn (or cello or oboe or clarinet) and piano.

Bill Connor, who lives in Anglesey, is also in a way associated with music for children, as his recent (2000) variations on Barnacle Bill, the "Blue Peter" signature tune, for chorus and orchestra was performed at a children's BBC Prom. Connor has also produced a substantial amount of brass and wind band music, plus scores for TV and films.

Philip Cannon (1929- ) is better known for his serious music, which includes operas, symphonies and chamber music, but he has had lighter moments: the Suite for piano, L'Enfant s'Amuse (whose movements are L'Aube[Dawn], Pas Seul, Pique-nique des Marionettes[ Puppets' Picnic], Berceuse Pour une Souris [Mouse's Cradle Song] and A Tricyclette), Tip Toe Tango and Jazz and Blues (1970), also for piano solo, and Galop Parisien for two pianos, an early piece dated 1950. Two of these titles reflect the fact that he was born in Paris of Anglo-French parentage, though he was musically educated here in England, at Dartington Hall (with Imogen Holst) and at the Royal College of Music, where he was later Professor of Composition between 1960 and 1995.

Philip Wilby, a Yorkshireman born in 1949, is, like Cannon, better known for his more serious compositions, but he too has had his lighter side, mainly in the "educational" music he has written, like the choral and orcheskal New World Dancing suite, which received its premiere at the BBC Proms in August 2000, the exceptionally popular Make Me a Light, Carols and Crackers and some North Country Folksongs (all choral), his pieces for young violinists (eg Tin Soldiers and Rooster Rag) - Wilby played the viola in concerts for many years - and the St Cecilia Rag for string orchestra.

Philip L Scowcroft

Enquiries to Philip at

8 Rowan Mount



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

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