Scarborough Spa Orchestra is still going too. However, since the retirement of Max Jaffa in 1987, the orchestra has been progressively shrunk and no longer has a decent sound balance, with wind instruments dominating. However, it's still there, which is remarkable.
At the risk of sullying the proceedings here, I cannot help but wonder - especially given the further reference to Ketèlbey - about the extent to which financial considerations played a part in this "tradition". It's pretty obvious that Ketèlbey in particular was laughing all the way to the bank (probably Coutts & Co. at that) and he more or less admitted as much to a now deceased violinist that I used to know, but it's hard not to speculate upon what might have happened had the composition of symphonies, string quartets, concertos etc. been vastly more lucrative than the kinds of work on which the Coatses, Woods et al made their name; would these people have made more of an effort with concert work than they did in the climate in which they worked?
I don't care much for the British light music tradition (though like G&S) but I respect its validity as a tradition which gave pleasure to many (and perhaps still does).
Days of the Future Past, and album by the Moody Blues in the 60s, contains an orchestral interlude that must be one of the last bastions of British light music. I remember one of my friends at school saying how much it sounded like "Look at Life".
For those interested, Musicweb has multiple "Garlands" on the subject by Philip L Scowcroft whose book "British Light Music" could do with a reprint.
Paperback: 160 pages
Publisher: Thames Publishing (1 Jan 1990)
Farnon wrote several substantial and more serious works, including symphonies.
Guild, in one its most recent releases, has issued Bruno Seidler-Winkler's pre-war recording of another one of my favourite light works, Ernst Fischer's Suite "South of the Alps", the series now in its 81st volume:
Does anyone else remember 'Eugene and his Serenaders' who played for several years in Hastings? A serious musician friend of mine, a really good pianist, took asummer job with them. The diet was largely Ketelbey and pieces like that and it was hellish for my friend to warble the necessary 'Backsheesh or whatever it was in the Ketelbey. Still in brought in some money. Happy days.
So it's OK to make a fortune out of computers/cars/vacuum cleaners... but not music? If I could work out how to make a packet by turning a few catchy tunes I'd be there with the rest of them. I've had this argument occasionally with Mrs Ardcarp when I moan and groan about the musicality of a certain writer of West End Shows...and she says Well why don't you go off and do it then?...and of couses she's right (as usual).It's pretty obvious that Ketèlbey in particular was laughing all the way to the bank (probably Coutts & Co. at that)
Listening to today's offerings I was struck by the amazing powers of tune-smithing and especially orchestration on show. Even Ron Grainer wrote a pretty amazing countermelody to 'Magnificent Men'. One hardly needs to add that RRB was just brilliant in everything he did (does), Does anyone remember the music he wrote for the (not very successful) TV adaptation of Gormenghast? Superb. And all these guys were able to work to oreder and to produce quality stuuff to satisfy maybe a film producer at very short notice. No communing with the muse for years on end before inspiration strikes.
I'm wondering if my old friend Gordon Langford is going to pop up this week? Agreed he is known more as arranger than composer (although I've premiered a double flute and viloa concerto by him) but he shares with the others a truly awesome toolbox of musical techniques and abilities. I was reminded of him by Brian Kay's use of the expression 'squeaky gate music' to describe the art-music of the later 20th century. This is one of Gordon's favourite expressions.