In the course of these 273 essays one has always had the problem of what to include as “light”. I am in favour of light music being “a broad church”, so composers such as Paul Edmonds, whose suite A Village Wedding, for string orchestra or string quartet appeared in Cramer’s Library of String Music and F Purcell Warren, Adolph Mann and C Darbishire Jones, whose respective Variations (for string quartet), Marionettes (for piano trio) and Four Old English Airs (for string quartet) appeared in the same series, would probably all qualify for entry in my opinion. But is “lighthearted”, or “accessible”, to be equated with “light”? I would think so but not all would agree.
There are, one would think, no such reservations about Harry Woods, composer of many songs and the musicals Everygreen and It’s Love Again and contributor to another, Wild Oats (in 1937). Nor is there much doubt about David Ebbage (1942-2002), born in Bingley, who studied at Trinity College London and at Durham University and who taught at many colleges, schools and universities. He excelled as pianist, often with palm court ensembles (he founded the Spa Palm Court Orchestra) and as conductor. His compositions included music for some of Alan Ayckbourn’s plays and for films including A Strange Place.
Another present day film/TV composer is the York based Christopher Johnson. And David Watts is worth a mention for his suite Metropolis, recently recorded, whose four movements are Boom and Bust, Solar City, Street Scene and The City Never Sleeps.

Philip L Scowcroft

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 rob.barnett1@btinternet.com

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