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We begin with the film composer John Du Prez, born in 1946 and active in writing for the large screen around 1980, his titles including A Private Function, A Fish called Wanda, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and, in 1966, The Wind in the Willows.

It is still possible to exhume composers for the British Light musical theatre. John W Green, born in 1908, is known as such primarily for his contributions to the Waller and Tunbridge show of 1933, Mr Whittington. He does not quite have their fame on the musical stage, but Greenís songs for that musical contributed materially to its considerable success. Of his other songs, Body and Soul was perhaps the best known.

To change the colour and move away, for a moment from the theatre, Felix Harold White (1884-1945) was a pianist, mostly self-taught and a prolific composer in all forms. Many of his piano pieces were miniatures and doubtless fell within our Garlands' remit; of his orchestral output we can mention a Shylock overture, premiered at the Henry Wood Proms in 1907, La Charmante, for piano and small orchestra, Serenade to Miranda and an Arietta for strings.

John T Jones, a Welshman and active during the 1930s, is perhaps worth a mention for his March of the Sea King for orchestra. So is Walter Tilbury, who composed the music for the "fairy play" Alice Through the Looking Glass, which had George Grossmith (junior) as its director when it was put on at the New Theatre in 1903 but it did not achieve much success. Tilbury had previously contributed songs, including "Thatís Not the Sort of Girl I Care About" to A Modern Don Quixote in 1893 (a song kept in when the musical was revived in 1898).

And so finally to Mary Hicks, whose floreat was the 1950s and 1960s, a prolific arranger who also composed: unison songs for children, like The Hunting of the Hare, Duckís Ditty (from The Wind in the Willows), The Two Mice and The Cloud House, and light piano pieces including the Reflections of 1958.

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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