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We start with the obscure figure of Wilson G Smith, active perhaps between the wars and possibly even Transatlantic in origin, but known over here for his orchestral suite At the Bal Masqué in four movements individually titled Mélodie Érotique, Promenade, Danse Exotique and Pierrot’s Sadness.

Almost as obscure is Eustace Pett, who certainly lived in London and who composed lightish songs –The Benedict’s Lament and Enchantment, both published, and at least one to words by Rudyard Kipling, which was not published.

Cecil Coles (1888-1918), a battle victim of the Great War, was educated in Edinburgh, London and Stuttgart and achieved some fame as a conductor. His compositions included some vocal pieces and also several orchestral works which we can reckon as light or lightish: Suite From the Scottish Highlands (1907), a suite, Behind the Lines, written while on active service and of which just two movements survive, a Shakespearean overture, the Comedy of Errors and a Scherzo in A Minor. This music has been recorded on a recent Hyperion CD.

Finally, Lawrence Arthur Collingwood (1887-1982), educated at Westminster Abbey Choir School and Exeter College, Oxford, was a répétiteur, then Conductor at the Old Vic and Sadler’s Wells (Conductor 1940-47). He was long associated with EMI {HMV} and also composed – operas, piano sonatas, chamber music, a Piano Concerto and some songs, a number of them ballads and a few to French words originally. Examples are Good Day to You My Sweetheart, Little Woodland Bird, Paradise, When Sunday Morning Broke so Fair and The Wood of Flowers.

Philip L Scowcroft

May 2002

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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