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First of all, a bare mention for two women composers of ballads active around 1900: E. ROSALIND PARK, composer of, for example, Love and A Memory; and DOROTHEA HOLLINS, whose songs included Boot and Saddle

EDWARD HUWS JONES lives in York and is a peripatetic music tutor with North Yorkshire County Council, having for some years occupied a similar position with Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council. He has produced a considerable amount of music for very junior orchestras and titles like East Coast Express, Paddling By and Ten o'clock Rock are much more tuneful than such music normally is. He composes for more adult, even professional, ensembles as well and recently I enjoyed the three movement The Siege of York (which took place in 1644, during the English Civil War), complete with atmosphere battle sounds, played by a quartet of guitars.

ROBERT ERNEST WALKER was born in Northampton in 1946. His early career, as chorister, organ and choral scholar, was manly in church music. As a freelance composer since 1975 he has produced choral, chamber and orchestral works, mainly serious ones, but the following titles may be reckoned as "light": the orchestral At Bignor Hill (which is in Sussex, where he lived for a time); the collection of a dozen short piano pieces Twelve O and various Capriccios, also for piano solo; and the lively Souvenir, for (soprano) saxophone and piano which is inspired by Balinese rhythms (Walker now lives mainly in Bali). He is interested in Elgar's music and has recently done for his sketches for a Piano Concerto what Anthony Payne did for those for the Third Symphony. Walker indeed earlier (1982) composed Variations on a Theme of Elgar.

To include MALCOLM DAVIS FORSYTH, born in 1936, as British is stretching a point as he was born and educated in South Africa, in which country much of his career has been based, though he has had substantial involvement with Canada also and since 1974, has been a Canadian citizen. But his ancestry is British and several of his lighter works, including the Jubilee Overture and a number of pieces for wind and brass band appear to be very much in the British light music tradition, although it also makes use of African folk idiom.

Rather similarly SWAN HENNESSY (1866-1929), a pianist and composer, was American, but was of Irish extraction; at least three of his "chamber" works would be at home in a programme of lighter music: the Suite Opus 46 of 1913, which has a riotous finale very much in the manner of Percy Grainger, the Serenade in G, opus 65 both for string quartet and the Petit Trio Celtic Opus 52 for violin, viola and cello.

© Philip L. Scowcroft

February 2000




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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