Classical MusicWeb

Music Webmaster Len Mullenger


We begin with a mention for a brass band composer. George Allen produced a number of marches, notably Senator, in the early years of the 20th Century, which achieved some popularity, but as a march composer in that era, he was overshadowed by William Rimmer, whom we have dealt with previously.

Our TV/film composer this time is Sheridan Tongue, whose most recent effort is a self-effacing, but attractive score written for the BBC TV serial, Down to Earth. But we should also mention Barry Stoller, a "one work man": the work being Offside, well known as the signature tune of "Match of the Day".

Peter Birkby may well fall within our 'Ccomposers for young amateurs" category, as I have mostly heard his music played by such. His output includes many traditional arrangements, plus the catchy Colloquial Calypso, Sixteen Plus and, for percussion, the Autumn Waltz. In this same category, we can also perhaps place Geoffrey Coleby, composer of a number of songs for young - specifically teenage - voices and up-tempo instrumental miniatures, like the Tag and Bobtail Rag, and the Suffolkdomiciled Bernard Barrell, best known for his church and organ music, but who has also composed for young amateurs, and a Suffolk Celebration Overture.

Pianist Harriet Cohen (1895-1967) has an honoured place in the history and development of British music, especially for her work in perforrning or recording Bax, Elgar and Vaughan Williams. Trained at the Royal Academy of Music and the Matthay School, she made a few piano transcriptions of Bach, but lighter in character were her Russian Impressions of 1915, also for piano, four of them, entitled Sunset on the Volga, The Exile, The Old Church at Wilna and The Tartars.

Finally, back to the brass. Thomas Keighley, bom in 1869, studied at the former Royal Manchester College of Music, where he later became Professor of Harmony. He was an organist, and composed for piano and choirs ( his choral arrangements of folk and traditional melodies achieved popularity), but he was particularly involved with brass bands, as teacher, adjudicator and composer, especially of test pieces for the Open Championship at Belle Vue, Manchester: Macbeth (1925, the first "original" test piece for the Open), A Midsummer Night's Dream (1926), The Merry Wives of Windsor (1927), Lorenzo (1928), The Crusaders (1932) and A Northern Rhapsody (1935).

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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