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We begin with another of those present-day writers for TV. Julian Swayles provided an attractive and unobtrusive score for the recent (May/June 2001) BBC2 documentary series The Mountain Men. The first of this series, dealing with the Matterhorn, interestingly contrasted Swayles’ own music with snippets of the incidental music of a 1930s feature film on that exploit of 1865.

Back-tracking now to the Victorian era we may mention first the name of A. Gwyllon Crowe, a composer of dance music including the waltzes English Beauties, Fairie Voices and Sea Saw. Higher up the order of things in Victorian England was William George Cusins (1833-93), trained at the Royal Academy where he later taught, a pianist but also Conductor of the Philharmonic Society 1867-83 and Master of the Queen’s Music 1870-93. He was not distinguished as a conductor, nor particularly as a composer. We might reckon some of his output as light: the two concert overtures, Toilers of the Sea and Love’s Labours Lost and the ballad-type songs The Sailor Boy, Blow Trumpet and Oh! Who Would Fight and March? The York-born William Creser (1844-1933) was an organist and composer of oratorios and organ music but he earns mention here for his Old English Suite (Lento; Vivace; Presto). In the same way the Russian-born Albert Coates (1882-1953) can be included for his Four Old English Dances, arranged for orchestra by Victor Hely-Hutchinson and whose movements are Maypole Dance, Golden Wedding, Youth and Maidens and Wedding Dance.

Reginald K Benyon, active between the wars, is worth a mention for his orchestral Flower Suite (Dance of the Roses; Dance of the Pansies; Dance of the Daisies) and for ballad songs like If You Were in My Garden and Life’s Summertime as is the roughly contemporary Dorothea Bancroft for her African Suite and the intermezzo Arsinoe, all for full orchestra.

Philip L Scowcroft

June 2001

May 2001

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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