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I start with a group of composers best known for writing light piano music which was particularly popular between the wars. Frederic Mullen indeed published this repertoire under several different names: In Arcady (1912) and Scènes Pittoresques (1913) as Pierre Lescant, the Spring Tales Suite and Edda (Northern Suite) as Gustav Lund and Vivace Alla Burla under his own name (he also used the pseudonyms Jean Morel and Philippe Carton; notice the use of French sounding names, thought to promote sales). Others in the same mould and from a similar period were Maurice Winlaw, known especially for Battle of the Flowers (from Four Southern Sketches), Noel Norman, especially for Phantom Shadows, (from Four Night Fancies) and, from slightly later, John Neat, composer of Almond Blossom, A Hindu’s Paradise and A Ride to the Pyramids, who appeared to cater for the English love of the exotic, as did Ketèlbey and so many others. He was also noted for his many medleys.

Albert Arlen, born in 1905, achieved transient fame with his Alamein Concerto (1945), one of many film-inspired "concertos" (usually singly movement Rachmaninoff-like rhapsodies which followed up the astonishing success of Addinsell’s still-popular Warsaw Concerto). Jack Beaver arranged the theme for publication and many have helped with the "concerto" in other ways. Arlen also provided music for the "musical romance" A Girl From the Snowy, a selection from which achieved publication, the suite - again exotic-sounding – The Pagoda of Jade, orchestrated by Denis Wright, whose four movements were entitled March of the Ming Warriors, Pekin Love Tale, Dance of the Lantern Bearers and In the Forbidden City, and songs like Clancy of the Overflow and Song of Canberra. Barrie Neale is worth a mention for The Dancing Dustman, a lively miniature, which acquired popularity in an orchestration made by Sydney Baynes in the 1920s.

And so finally to David Moule Evans (1905-88), born in Kent, who studied at the Royal College of Music, whither he later returned as Professor of Composition and Theory. Much of his output was serious but he earns a place here with his music for certain documentary films and orchestral pieces like the overture The Spirit of London, Vienna Rhapsody and, from 1951, the Old Tupper’s Dance.

Philip L Scowcroft

December 2001

Enquiries to Philip at

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

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