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Many of the theatre composers mentioned in these Garlands have been quite obscure but one cannot get much more obscure than Neill O’Donovan and Auscal Tate (can those names be real?) who combined in 1893 to provide the music for His Highness, which was produced for a single charity matinee at the Opera-Comique and not, so far as I know, seen subsequently.

Winifred Hunter was quite late in the field as a ballad composer for her Be Content and Invocation and both published in 1954. So, too, was Phyllis Harding, for most of the titles I now mention are dated during the 1950s: When Green Rushes Grow, God Bless Me, Come My Sweet, Pretty Maid, Sittin’ in the Cornfields, The Leafy Lanes of England, It’s Time to Fall in Love Again and Hills of My Desire. Her Magic Waltz (1957) appeared both as a song and an orchestral movement.

After a quick mention of Mike Sykes for his radio incidental music (most recently for Zola’s Nana in 2002, we finish with a clutch of military bandmasters (or Directors of Music). Leo Paul Bradley is remembered particularly for his suite The Western Desert. Wing-Commander A.E. ("George") Sims, MBE, was the RAF’s Director of Music either side of 1950. His compositions included the marches Superna Petimus and the March of the RAC Association and the RAF General Salute. And Captain D.J. Plater conducted various military bands whose career was, most notably perhaps, in the REME around 1950. His march compositions included Silver Jubilee, Montevideo, Hark Forrard and March of the King’s Men.

Philip L Scowcroft

April 2002

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