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I start, as I do often, with a few lesser figures on the English musical stage; this time from the first decade of the 20th Century. M.J. Lawrence combined with Clement Locknane, previously dealt with, to write the music for the extravaganza The Girl Over the Border, staged at Hammersmith in 1908. Louis Laval may be a pseudonym or he may have been born in France, but he certainly conducted musicals in this country for many years and he composed, along with Harry Wellmon, the score for The Pick of the Bunch, toured in 1907. Wellmon also contributed to the "colonial comedy" The Lily of Bermuda, which also enjoyed only a provincial reputation when it appeared in 1909. And Osborne Roberts composed the music for the comic opera The Island of Pharos, toured through the provinces in 1904.

Going back a decade or so further in time, we encounter J. Capel Woodruffe, whose musical The Joking Girl (almost every other musical at that period was, it seems, entitled The _______ Girl was toured in 1899. Three years before, Victor Stevens, who was into theatre management, toured A Merry Madcap for which he had written the music. Three songs from Stevens’ burlesque Forty Thieves (I’ll Never Go Home Any More, Over Goes the Show, Six Months Hard) achieved publication.

Now finally for a present-day composer of incidental music who is worth a mention: Dominic Fitzgerald’s most recent (2001) commission has been for a BBC Radio 3 production of Shakespeare’s 'Othello'.

Philip L Scowcroft

September 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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