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Here we have another sheaf of little known composers of Victorian musicals. Isidore de Solla was active in the 1880s with School of Hearts, produced in Camden Town in 1880, Five Hundred Francs (Vaudeville, 1885) and the operetta (one-act), Minna, or The Fall From the Cliffs, aired at the Crystal Palace, no less, in 1886. J. Pary Cole sounds to me a bit like a pseudonym because of its similarity in sound to Offenbach’s popular operetta La Périchole to which G & S’s Trial By Jury was a fore-piece, but he is credited with a fore-piece of his own, The Golden Wedding (Avenue Theatre, 1885). Ernest Trowbridge was responsible for the "farcical musical comedy" Our Agency, which achieved just seven performances, also at the Avenue, in 1886, and T.
W. Haddow
’s comic opera Atlantis had just one performance, at the Gaiety, also in 1886. C.E. Howells was both a conductor and a composer, in the latter capacity writing the operatic burlesque Eastward Ho! (1894: but it had had two previous versions, one of which had surfaced briefly at the Opéra-Comique) and the extravaganza The Golden Plume, toured in 1886.

J.C. Bond Andrew’s main theatre piece was Herne’s Oak, or The Rose of Windsor, heard in Liverpool and, under the title Herne the Hunter, in Birmingham in 1887. Then, in 1889, this was toured provincially as The Rose of Windsor. Andrews was responsible also for a number of monologues and some songs, basically of the music-hall type: The Costers’ Oneymom, Alice and Vulcan.

Finally and staying with roughly the same period I mention two figures we might confuse if we look hurriedly at their surnames. F R Kinkee (can that name be real?) was one of those who arranged music from comic operas for the Victorian ballrooms, ever-hungry for music – The Chieftain Lancers, on tunes from Sullivan’s piece of 1896 is an example. Charles Kinkel also published for piano, his titles included an arrangement of Home Sweet Home and a little geave piece, Un Rêve du Ciel.

Philip L Scowcroft

October 2001


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Philip's book 'British Light Music Composers' (ISBN 0903413 88 4) is currently out of print.

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