Classical MusicWeb

Music Webmaster Len Mullenger


Let us begin with brief mentions for composers of stage musicals produced during the 1980s or thereabouts. MICHAEL REED, conductor and composer of Six For Gold in 1984; SHARON BURGETT, who wrote the score for a musical version of Francis Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden, staged in Salisbury during 1983; ANTHONY PHILLIPS, whose one stage work of note (though he published Six Pieces for guitar in 1980 appears to be Alice, put on at the Leeds Playhouse in 1984; DAVID LEIGH DUBERY trained at the Royal Northern College of Music and a capable pianist, has composed musicals and cabaret shows as well as more "serious" chamber music, especially featuring wind instruments (For some years he formed the Verlaine Duo with oboist Jonathan Tobutt) and choral music; and DEREK TAVERNER, who is worth our remembrance for his delightfully fresh score (20 songs, accompanied by a four piece instrumental ensemble) for a musical version of Kenneth Grahame's evergreen The Wind in the Willows, which I enjoyed in Doncaster on its countrywide tour in 1983-4.

By coincidence DENIS KING did a musical Wind in the Willows the same time. King, Essex born (in 1939) and trained as the Guildhall School of Music, is remembered for other musicals like Treasure Island, Bashville, Worzel Gummidge and, more recently, A Saint She Ain't, for his theme music for the TV series Black Beauty, Hainay and Lovejoy and for the music for Maureen Lipman's re-creations of Joyce Grenfell.

LESLIE PEARSON, not to be confused with Johnny Pearson, who was no relation so far as I know and best known for his title music for the TV episodes of All Creatures Great and Small, has brought out a number of lightish compositions which are reasonably often performed, for example the Dance Suite for orchestra and Hiplips for brass ensemble.

Now for a couple of ballad composers active around 1900 PAUL RODNEY'S best known title was Alone on the Raft; John Sparrow's Since Thou Love Me and A Prayer For You both achieved popularity.

MARTIN ELLERBY deserves a mention in these Garlands for his Four Miniatures for wind quintet: tuneful movements and popular with quintets and their audiences.

Finally we have GORDON DALE, born in 1935, composer of concerts for recorder, flute and violin but also of a large amount of music, arrangements and compositions, for educational purposed. So often educational music - where it is designed to be performed, in whole or in part, in concert - equals light music. So on his behalf we may point to: his Brommy Hill Suite for full orchestra (youth orchestra, originally) and The Birds Suite for string orchestra, both published in 1988; to the Latin Lilt and The Sun Will Shine for recorders; A Midland Concerto (1985) and Recital Hors d'Oeuvres, both for brass; A Tewkesbury Suite, four canons for four violins; and groups of songs from Ireland, Scotland and Wales, set for quartets of, respectively, flutes, clarinets and recorders.

Philip L. Scowcroft


Dear Len,
It is very kind of you to include me in your British Garland website for which many thanks. It is true I formed a duo with Jonathan Tobutt,oboe and we performed in many parts of the UK between the years 1981 and 89 as well as broadcast on BBC radio. During that time I composed several pieces either for us to perform as a duo or solo for Jonathan. Of these 'Sonatina for oboe and piano was published by Sunshine Music Company, distributed by the Spartan Press. In recent years I have composed works for recorder for the eminent player John Turner and of these the following are published - 'Pipe Pieces' (Published Forsyth 1996),
'Sonatina' for descant/tenor recorder 2003, and 'Mrs Harris in Paris' 2004 both by Peacock Press. 'Three Songs to poems by Robert Graves' for voice, recorder and piano are to be published by Peacock Press later this year. I continue to compose and have recently written large scale orchestral tone poems and versions of both the oboe and recorder sonatinas in orchestral concertino versions. As for my early 'pop-opera' 'Once upon an Ark' which received a number of productions during the 70s and early 80s - I withdrew it and in the past three years have rewritten much of it scored for orchestra, newly conceived as 'Legends of the Flood'. I continue to perform as accompanist to both classical singers and well known artists from the West End world of musicals.
I hope this little up-date is helpful.
Thanking you
With all kind wishes
Yours sincerely
David Dubery

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