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Major Peter Parkes is best known as a conductor, of military and brass bands, notably of course of Black Dyke, but he has also composed and arranged considerably: pieces like London Belles and the regimental march of the Somerset & Cornwall Light Infantry, Prince Albert and Trelawney.

Cedric Sharpe born in 1891, was noted as a cellist and composer. His light output includes the cello solos A Midsummer Song (1921), a Gavotte in G Minor (1927), The Angelus (1927), Le Soir (1928), An Old-Time Dance (1928), Chansonette (1928), Romance in A (1929), Valse Capricieuse (1933), An Old World Love Song (1933), Humoresque Rumbaesque (1939) and a variety of Old English and Irish Airs, the Holyrood Suite and Pompadour Suite, both for orchestra plus the ballads The Fairy Fiddler, In Praise of Ale, It Was the Time of Roses, Love Thy Mother and The Year’s at the Spring.

Two other composers of lightish instrumental miniatures were Gilbert A Alcock, active around the Great War and for some years afterwards, with pieces like Berceuse (1916) and Chanson Triste (1921) for cello and Une Petite Melodie and A Summer Song for violin, and Francis Woodworth, a further extension of our "Wood" light music names some garlands back, who produced titles like Harlequin and Columbine (1924) and Lamento (1921), both for cello and piano.

Our last two composers are mainly remembered, if at all, for vocal music. Vernon Griffiths was born in Norfolk but much of his adult life was spent in New Zealand, eventually becoming Professor of Music at Christchurch University. His compositions included anthems, organ music, including a Short Suite, many arrangements and songs. Of the latter Wrong Not Sweet Empress (1951) and A Boy’s Song (1960) are shapely enough for us to say they were ballads. And John Clements was a familiar name in music broadcasts on the radio during the decade or two after the Second War. Many of his titles were arrangements, of spirituals and the like but he also produced much original work, songs (solo and choral), such as Blessed is the Man, Blue and White, Elizabeth’s Song, Gibberish (what a title!), The Golden Star, Limehouse Reach and Mirage, and instrumental pieces, including suites for recorder ensembles, a Humoresque (1955) for cello and piano and so on.

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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