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About the Composers

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A cloud of oblivion has fallen on most composers of Palm Court Music. We have to be grateful that at least some of their compositions have been preserved. Today, such skilful composers would almost certainly have their own webpage and we would be able to look them up on Wikipedia. Sadly these composers lived before such technologies existed and we know little or nothing about most of them.

We have no dates for Erdélyi. All we know is that he was Hungarian and that his Puszta Fox formed part of an Operetta called ‘Le Moulin de Doroszma’ Victor Sumkai (1891-1965) and Eddie Tower (1899-1956) came from Liege in Belgium where there was a very lively music scene at the turn of the last century.

Despite his name, Frederick Charrosin (1910- 1976) was actually British and so were Frank Baron, Michael Carr (1905-1968), Montagu Ewing (1890-1957), Albert Ketèlbey (1875-1959) and of course Haydn Wood (1882-1959). All of them were important contributors to live broadcasts in the early days of the BBC and helped boost moral in the war years with songs such as Carr’s Hang Out the Washing on the Siegfried Line.

Will Grosz (1894-1939) was born in Vienna but left Austria well before the Nazis came to power. He came to Britain in 1934 where he composed a lot of his songs including Tell me Again. Joe Burke (1884-1950) and Harry Woods (1896-1970) were both American and found employment in Hollywood for some time. So did the Swiss composer Cedric Dumont (1916-2007) who wanted to become a surgeon but changed his career when he won an international prize for composition aged 16.

Hans Zander (1905-1985) came from Prussia (now Poland) and was a successful band leader as well as virtuoso violinist. Peter Kreuder (1905-1981) started his career aged six with a performance of a Mozart piano concerto and lived in many countries but settled eventually in Austria. John Foulds (1880-1939) was English but left to collect folk tunes in India where he was struck down by cholera and died in Calcutta. Finally we have Charles Ancliffe (1880-1952) representing Ireland and Johan Øian (1915 -1978) representing Norway 

Monday, 25 May, 2015