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We begin with the Peterborough-born Peter Thompson (1955-), who has composed in most musical forms in an accessible, tuneful idiom, both large-scale (including a Symphony) and small-scale works. Some of the latter are light in style; there are several suites for solo piano (the third, Marc Chagall, a kind of short Pictures at an Exhibition, is rather more serious than the others), plus Sketches and Fancies and the dreamlike "reverie" Bolinge Hill, also for piano, and the occasional Hampshire Summers. Thompson's future output will surely be worth watching.

John Sebastian Somers-Cocks (1907-64) was an amateur musician as his career was made in the Diplomatic Service. He composed, too. He published motets, while his Sonatina (1956) for oboe and piano and Three Sketches, also for oboe and piano and played, even recorded, by Leon Goossens, were both light in style.

John Ellis, born in 1943, is a doctor by profession but his spare-time activity as an organist and composer is by no means lacking in importance. His sacred and secular vocal music and organ pieces are in an accessible idiom. At least two of the organ works, like the three movement Suite in A, subtitled Divertissement, and Concert Waltz, inspired, apparently, by Edwardian dance-music (though sounding much different from, say, Archibald Joyce) are lighter in style and approximate to the work of Alfred Hollins and Edwin Lemare in earlier generations.

A word now about Dudley Moore (1935-2002), a multi-talented personality - actor for stage and screen, writer, pianist (both in jazz and the classics - he once recorded the Grieg Concerto) and composer, of parodies of several of the great composers and of several film scores, notably for Cynthia, Bedazzled, Inadmissible Evidence and the 1977 re-make of The Hound of the Baskervilles.

Finally we have two arrangers and composers for brass bands active around the middle of the 20th Century. Frank Hughes, a Welshman, composed Carambina, Red Musketeer, Marche Symphonique, A Festival Prelude, Devil's Kitchen, a Rhapsodic Symphony (the Intrada and Scherzo from this were recorded) and the suites Patterns in Brass and The Talisman.

Frank Seymour's arrangements for brass included several negro spiritual settings; of his compositions we may exemplify Navy Mixture, Summit March and Marching Trumpets, all popular in their day and all recorded on LP.

Philip L Scowcroft

November 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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