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The first paragraph of our latest collection of blooms is again given over to relatively minor figures on the light musical stage in the pre-Great War era. There are four "singletons" to mention here: Owen Trevine, whose The Scarlet Patrol had a provincial tour in 1907; Albert E. Wilson, a conductor in the theatre, who earned a similar regional reputation that same year with his The Pet of the Embassy; Cyril Winchcombe, whose one claim to something like fame was his nautical music The Cruise of the Constance, toured in 1909; and Harold Samuel (1879-1937). Samuel was better known as a concert pianist and was particularly renowned for his playing of Bach. He composed for piano, too, and some of these pieces, like the Scherzetto and the Two Sketches (Campden Hollow and A Carol) were lighter, but he earns mention in these pages primarily for his musical The Honourable Phil, which managed a modest 71 performances at the Hicks Theatre in 1908, and perhaps also for his incidental music for the theatre, while a few of his songs (Joggin’ Along the Highway and The Toy Band) are ballads.

Moving further into the 20th century, we encounter the name Dennis Wilson, perhaps best remembered for writing the incidental music for the 1960s/1970s TV series Steptoe and Son, though the actual well-remembered tune of the title music was owed to Ron Grainer, previously discussed. Wilson also composed, in conjunction with Ivor Slaney, another figure discussed in an earlier Garland, various orchestral miniatures including La Cuna (The Cradle), The Swanee Whistler and, dated 1959, Mice on the Move. "All his own work" appear to have been the orchestral miniatures Popsy the Puppet, Vision of a Rose, the quick march The Marauders and a suite Land’s End to John O’Groats. In this, Land’s End is the first movement. John O’Groats, the second; the finale, presumably on account of it being equidistant, more or less, between those two, is Windermere, one of many musical tributes to the Lake District, some of which can justifiably be regarded as light music.

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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