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Music Webmaster Len Mullenger


This series has included many present-day composers for TV. At times TV signature music is taken "off the shelf" from one of the recorded music libraries, at other times a tune - or a score where more than just title music is required - is specifically commissioned and this has become more the norm in recent years. One further name to add to the list is NEIL ARTHUR, who has provided some pleasant "period pastiche" title music for the BBC's History 2000 series.

Staying with contemporary, or very recent, composers, PHILIP GATES, born in 1963, educated at Millfield School and Queen's College, Oxford and trained as a pianist, deserves a mention here. His works included sonatas for flute and clarinet which are decidedly accessible. His lighter pieces included the six Airs and Graces for flute and piano, which movements include two entitled "At Loch Leven" and "Rag-a-muffin, Rio Bound for clarinet and piano and Mood Music (the very title one we associate with light music), for alto saxophone and piano with self-explanatory movements like "March Hare", "Soft-Shoe" and "Sax Blue".

PAUL TODD'S particular niche is the musicals he composed (and, in some cases, directed) around 1980 in collaboration with Alan Ayckbourn and performed in Scarborough: Suburban Strains (1980) ; First Course and Second Helpings (1980); Me, Myself and I, which first appeared as three one-act musicals in 1981, being re-vamped as one full length show in 1982; and Making Tracks (1981)

ARTHUR HINTON was born in Beckenham in 1869, studied at the Royal Academy of Music, where he later taught the violin (his main instrument) and then in Munich. He composed two symphonies and a Piano Concerto (he married the pianist Katharine Goodson who played the Concerto a number of times), but there were a number of "lighter" titles such as the suite for piano, A Summer Pilgrimage in the White Mountains (1916), A Chinatown Festivity and the miniatures like Etude Arabesque and Rigaudon, also for solo piano; a suite in D for violin which was performed in Gainsborough in April 1908 (with piano accompaniment) by none other than Haydn Wood; and two children's operettas, The Disagreeable Princess and St Elizabeth's Rose. Hinton died at Rottingdean (Sussex) in 1941.

We end with two ballad composers active during the first decade or two of the 20th Century. JACK THOMPSON published My Only Gift in 1912, I'll Sing to You in 1916 and My Little Cottage Home in Sweet Killarney in 1917. In the Glad Springtime was earlier in date, as I have traced a performance in 1908; other Thompson titles were An Emblem, You-Just-You, Come Sing to Me and I Live For You.

Many ballad composers we regard as "singletons" because just one of their songs become much more popular with singers and their public than any other. One thinks, for example, of Guy d'Hardelot's (Helen Guy's) Because and Katie Moss' The Floral Dance, even Stephen Adams' (Michael Maybrick's) The Holy City. But, if one takes thought or (more usually, with my memory, which is beginning to pass its "sell-by-date) looks up one's notes, one can usually find other titles by those three and most others. But this has not been the case with HERBERT NELSON, whose ballad The Windmill was very popular and may still be encountered. I am surprised to say that I have not so far discovered any title(s) to accompany it in any putative work list of Herbert Nelson.

Philip L. Scowcroft

March 2000

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