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We start with two ballad composers from between the wars and two contributors to the light musical theatre from the post Second War period. Kathleen Lockhart Manning composed Shoes, The Street Fair and the five Sketches of London (the individual songs had the titles The Thames Fog, Windsor Castle, Toys and June in London); her Four Songs of Bilitis were probably more serious. Geoffrey Cavendish was probably less prolific but Captains Three, the only title of his that I know of, was sung by Walter Widdop. The theatre composers were Harry Jacobson, who contributed to the musical Evangeline (1946), not successfully, with only 32 performances at the Cambridge Theatre, and Bill Solly, a theatre director and the composer of Sweet William, also unsuccessful when it was staged at the Irving Theatre in 1956.

Our TV/film composer is Christian Vassie, Yorkshire born (he was once Head Chorister at York Minster) who has provided the music for about 50 films, mainly documentaries, most recently the TV pilot The Gentleman Thief, about Raffles (BBC, 2001).

Finally for another "light music" organist, Thomas William Harforth (1867-1948), who began his career in York, including being Assistant to John Naylor at the Minster; then he moved to Sheffield in 1892, where he succeeded Edwin Lemare, a better known writer of light music for the organ, as Organist of the Parish Church, now the Cathedral, staying there until his retirement in 1947. In addition he was City Organist in Sheffield 1932-48. His published compositions included two marches, a Melody in C and a Berceuse. The March in D and the Berceuse have been recorded recently, and on the Sheffield City Hall organ he know well.

Philip L Scowcroft

June 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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