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First, a few more figures from the British light musical stage of the 1920s. Most successful of these was Patrick Barrow, though his success was as conductor (notably of Vivian EllisMr. Cinders in 1929) rather than as composer, because Nicolette (1925, 12 performances, Duke of York Theatre), with a Ruritanian style setting, and Cupid and the Cutlets (1929, one provincial performance) were unsuccessful – otherwise he wrote a song "Make it Snappy", for a revival of Sidney Jones’ San Tay in 1931 and a number of light orchestral miniatures: The Dragon-Flies Wedding, Little Suite and Loxwood Suite. Roger Eckersley’s musical Love and Laughter (1924) did not make the West End, but "separate" songs like Praying For Rain and, from The Co-optimists, Pig-Tail Alley, were published. Reginald HargreavesLove’s Passion (Adelphi, 1925, 26 performances) set in Cornwall during the Napoleonic Wars and with its book written and its set designed by the composer, had its premiere broadcast – a novelty in 1925 – but the show failed, nevertheless. Its music, reckoned rather conservative, included a substantial overture and three entr’actes. Charles Stuart produced one musical, Oh Patsy (1926), but this, too, failed to reach the West End. One show of 1925, The Bamboula, had music by two composers, Albert Sirmay (née Szirmai) and Harry Rosenthal; Sirmay also wrote music for The Film Girl and Princess Charming, Rosenthal for part of Lady Letty (1926), another show whose reputation remained a provincial one.

Coming more up to date, John Taylor is best known for his popular, virtually "pop", songs; but I recently heard and enjoyed his up-tempo piano duet miniature Coffee Time. Also worth a mention is Stephen Duro, a prolific arranger of popular music – including a piano medley of tunes by Robert Farnon – but he also composes music in a jazz, or at any rate a rhythmic, idiom like the Calypso Joe for piano solo.

Philip L. Scowcroft

September 2000


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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