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We start with three figures active particularly in the light orchestral field around 1950. Albert Williams’ best known pieces were the intermezzo Dancing Moonbeams and the "Scottish patrol", The Gathering of the Clans. John Madin was primarily known as an arranger, but his Windmill Waltz achieved popularity. Better known than either was Arthur Wilkinson (1919-68), a compiler of medleys, for example, of Howard Keel songs, Ivor Novello (entitled Novelloitis), Viennese songs and Songs of London. His Beatles Concerto, for piano and orchestra, was a setting of Lennon/MacCartney tune All My Loving in the style of the finale of Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto. Wilkinson's Cornish Caprice was a fantasy on the much arranged Helston Furry Dance. He also composed a Dance Mexicana, the opening and closing music for BBC Radio’s "Melody Hour" programme and music for the 1948 film The Weaker Sex, from which the cue London Scene achieved a measure of popularity.

There are many composers providing music for wind and brass bands which we have not by any means covered fully in these Garlands. Many of them, like Rodney Bashford, military music director extraordinary, prolific arranger and composer of marches like The Queen’s Royal Lancers, Slow March, Stable Jacket, Captain of the Guard and countless others, have been around for a long time; others like Samuel Becker, composer of the scherzo The Dances of Puck and the "battle piece", Lamentations of Achilles, Peter Brydon, who has published First Light, another battle piece, Nightwaves and Dreams and the four movement suite Toy Box and Chris Thorp, composer of Lord of the Rings for brass band are relatively young composers. Some seem, as composers (though all of these are kept busy as arrangers) to be march composers primarily: David Barker (e.g. Skywards), David Bertie (Suffolk Punch), Gary Clegg (The Sphinx and Dragon) and Colin Hicks (The King’s Royal Hussars). Some are Scots, like Alan Farnie who is particularly prolific as an arranger, has composed Anglian Dances, Alpine Lullaby and, all with a Scottish flavour, A Caledonian Journey, A Royal Mile Suite and the Fauldhouse Miners March.

There are many more active band composers but these will have to wait until Garland 215 for a listing.

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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