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Henry Gibson, born in London in 1882, did not exactly have the pedigree of a light music composer as he was educated at the Guildhall School and the Royal College of Music. His teachers included Stanford and Sir Walter Parratt. He was at varying times an organist and choirmaster, a music teacher in school and Musical Secretary to Sir Thomas Beecham (1927-32). He was however also Musical Director at various London teachers and his compositions/arrangements included songs, the Gaelic pipe march Red o’Tulloch, a Japanese Suite, which doubtless cashed in on the musical public’s love of the oriental either-side of 1900, and an arrangement of the Christmas tune Sir Roger de Coverley.
Orchestra leader and composer John Schroeder was responsible for a number of light orchestral titles, among them the theme for the 1960s TV series The Fugitive and two numbers popular in the football World Cup campaign of 1966 (the one England won!) – On the Ball and the flip side of its recording, the Britannia March. On a roughly similar track we may mention the orchestral leader John Shakespeare, who was responsible inter alia for the tune The World at Their Feet, used by ITV as title music for its football coverage during 1970, another World Cup year.
And so finally to two post-war “singletons: H C King for his suite Ad Astra (Overture, Nocturne, Danse Macabre, Finale) for full orchestra, dedicated to the BBC, and Gershon Kingsley, responsible for the genre movement for strings, percussion and piano, Pizzicato Popcorn (1974).

Philip L Scowcroft

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

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