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We start once again in the Victorian age with an apparently occasional ballad composer connected with South Yorkshire (Sheffield's music shops carried his compositions). GEORGE BURTON, who in 1897 brought out a song, Vive La Reine, to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee; other songs he had published or performed at around that time were The Recording Angel Knows, The Queen of Song, described as a "vocal waltz", and a music hall song, Smoking. It would be interesting to discover if he ever made a living from composition, but so far I have come across only the one reference to him in a Doncaster Chronicle of 1897.

Now for a few more dance composers, or in most cases strictly arrangers from the late Victorian period, all of whom, among other work, adapted Gilbert & Sullivan, or other Savoy associated music, for the ballroom. Among those we have previously alluded to Charles Coote, Frank Musgrave, Charles Godfrey, Dan Godfrey the younger (i.e. the Bournemouth one), Charles d'Albert, Warwick Williams and Procida Bucalossi. Here are a few more names: F.R. KINKEE (responsible for example, for the Utopia Limited Lancers and The Chieftain Lancers); Frank Leslie (Utopia Limited Quadrille); ARTHUR GREVILLE (Billee Taylor Lancers); BERNARD WILCOCKSON (The Happy Land Waltz); HENRY WATSON (The Sultan of Mocha Quadrille); EDWARD BELVILLE (Vicar of Bray Lancers and His Majesty's Waltz); BOYTON SMITH and WILLIAM SMALLWOOD. SMALLWOOD's original compositions, published for piano solo, included Introduction and March and the Rosebud Waltz.

Not all film music is necessarily "light" music as we understand the term, though it is often, indeed usually, lighter than a serious composer's concert music. One example we may cite is SALLY BEAMISH, born in 1956 and now domiciled in Scotland, who can set against more serious works like her concertos for viola - an instrument she once played professionally - and cello, a considerable corpus of music for film and, especially, television.

Among others now writing music for TV productions, we can mention the name of ROB LANE, which I had not encountered until I had his (very attractive and apposite) incidental music to David Copperfield, as broadcast by the BBC at Christmas 1999.

© Philip L. Scowcroft

December 1999




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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