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One Victorian ballad composer very popular in his time and which we have not previously noted was the Dublin-born Samuel Lover (1797-1868), who was novelist, poet and painter besides composer. He was also the grandfather of the composer Victor Herbert. Many of Loverís songs were Irish derived and many he published in Songs and Ballads in 1859. His entertainment Irish Evening (1844) was toured throughout the British Isles and the United States. He even brought out a grand opera, Grand Uile, or The Island Queen. Loverís best known songs included Widow Machree, The Angelís Whisper, The Whistliní Thief, Barney OíHea, Four Leaved Shamrock, Rory OíMoore, The Grand Ship, The Low-Backed Car and, included in an operetta Il Paddy Whack in Italia (what a title!), Molly Bawn.

Now for a few more of the more obscure British, musical comedy writers. First, three active in around 1900. Charles W Johnson and F. Sydney Ward were both musical directors as well as composers, Ward also dabbling in theatre management. Johnsonís musical Somebodyís Sweetheart was toured in 1899. Wardís The American Belle and Stirring Tunes, both again having no more than a provincial reputation, both appeared in 1897. John S. Bakerís Juno, or A Nightís Folly, was toured in 1897; other Baker compositions included the popular, almost musichall songs The Boys of London Town and Time to Put the Right Foot Down and the orchestral novelty Al fresco Revels.

From a rather later period in the history of the British musical stage, we may point to Tom Madden and Edward McNulty, who combined for one "singleton", The Gay Clerkette, which was produced in Dublin in 1919, to Herbert Barnes for his Charlie Goes East, produced in Redditch in 1920, and to George Henry Martin for his Rosette, staged in Glasgow in 1918, and Monte Cristo Jr., one of whose songs achieved publication.

Philip L Scowcroft

July 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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