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Article

Andrew Lamb

[Rhodes (née Guy), Helen M.]

(b Château Hardelot, nr Boulogne, c1858; d London, Jan 7, 1936). French composer, pianist and singing teacher. She was the daughter of an English sea captain and the singer Helen Guy. At the age of 15 she was taken to Paris, where she studied at the Conservatoire under Renaud Maury, and success came in her early 20s with the song Sans toi (words by Victor Hugo). Gounod and Massenet were among those who encouraged her in composition, and those who introduced her songs included Nellie Melba, Victor Maurel and Pol Plançon, as well as Emma Calvé, with whom she went to the USA in 1896 as accompanist. After marrying an Englishman she settled in London, where she continued to produce sentimental songs, about 300 in all, notable for their easy melody and typical dramatic climax. They include Three Green Bonnets (H.L. Harris; 1901), Because (E. Teschemacher; ...

Article

Steven Ledbetter

(August)

(b Dublin, Feb 1, 1859; d New York, May 26, 1924). American composer, conductor and cellist of Irish birth. He was the most talented and successful American operetta composer and important also as an advocate of copyright and performance-rights protection for composers.

Herbert’s father died when the boy was an infant, and he grew up in London with his maternal grandfather, the celebrated Irish novelist, poet and composer Samuel Lover (1798–1868). In 1866 Fanny Lover Herbert married a German physician; the family settled in Stuttgart, where Victor received musical training as well as a strong liberal education. He retained a lasting pride in his Irish (Protestant) heritage, reflected in many of his operettas.

He turned to music when financial difficulties prevented him from pursuing medicine, studied the cello with Bernhard Cossmann (1874–6), then entered the Stuttgart Conservatory, where he studied with Max Seifritz. He spent a year in the orchestra of the wealthy Russian Baron Paul von Derwies and another year in Vienna as soloist with the orchestra of Eduard Strauss, who had succeeded his brother Johann. In the light of his operetta work, the time in Vienna must be regarded as a significant formative experience. In ...

Article

Thomas L. Gayda

(b Königsberg [now Kaliningrad], Feb 14, 1896; d Munich, May 30, 1961). German composer and pianist. From the age of 13 he studied theory and counterpoint with the conductor and composer Paul Scheinpflug, who gave the première of his first major composition, Frühlings-Notturno, in Berlin in 1917. The following year the Rhapsodische Symphonie was given its première by the Vienna PO under Felix Weingartner. After World War I he wrote stage music for Berlin, where he became acquainted with the leading exponents of Weimar cabaret and, along with Friedrich Hollaender and Mischa Spoliansky, is credited with creating the classic Weimar cabaret chanson. He wrote for the cabaret Schall und Rauch, and was musical director for the Wilde Bühne.

From 1925 onwards Heymann became involved in films and, with the advent of sound pictures, joined with lyricist Robert Gilbert to write extremely successful songs epitomizing the thriving culture of the pre-Nazi German film industry, with evergreens such as ...

Article

(b Kuschwarda [now Kunžvart, Czech Republic], Aug 16, 1876; d New York, Dec 23, 1911). American composer, arranger and oboist of Bohemian birth. He studied the piano, harmony and composition at the Vienna Conservatory, and played oboe in the Austrian army band. In 1896 he went to the USA. For two years he was an oboist in the orchestra led by Victor Herbert and then became a music copyist and arranger for Witmark, producing sheet-music editions of musical-comedy and other popular tunes. In 1902 he began to write his own operettas, mostly with the lyricist Otto A. Harbach. He wrote 13 stage works, all ‘number’ operettas with some dialogue and published by Witmark. His first success was the ‘musical farce’ Three Twins (1908), in which the singer and dancer Bessie McCoy established her reputation. Later popular works included Madame Sherry (1910), The Fascinating Widow...

Article

Gerard Béhague

(Brasileiro de Almeida)

(b Rio de Janeiro, Jan 25, 1927; d New York, Dec 8, 1994). Brazilian composer, pianist, guitarist and arranger. In his early teens he took piano lessons from Koellreutter and later from Branco and Tomás Terán, and also studied orchestration, harmony and composition. In the mid-1940s he began to work as a pianist in the bars and nightclubs of Rio's beach areas of Copacabana and Ipanema. In 1952 he worked as an arranger for the recording firm Continental and his first recorded pieces appeared in the following year. He became the artistic director for the Odeon label in 1956 and began a lifelong association with the poet Vinicius de Morais, composing and conducting the music for the play Orfeu da Conceição.

In 1959 the aesthetic manifesto of the bossa nova was famously presented on João Gilberto's album Chega de Saudade, which included Jobim's song Desafinado, with lyrics by Newton Mendonça, and Jobim's ...

Article

Andrew Lamb

(Karl)

(b Oberdorf, nr Treffen, April 9, 1895; d Klagenfurt, Sept 2, 1955). Austrian composer, conductor and pianist. The son of a doctor, he was educated in Villach and then studied law at Graz University. After serving as an artillery officer during World War I he studied at the Vienna Music Academy under Joseph Marx, Ferdinand Löwe, Eusebius Mandyczewski and Clemens Krauss. In 1923 he became the conductor of the opera school there, and from 1928 to 1934 was the musical director at the Innsbruck music school. His early compositions were mostly orchestral and chamber works; from 1934 he lived in Germany and Switzerland, and after his marriage to the operetta singer Trude Kollin began composing operettas, through which he gained his widest fame. In 1939 he returned to Austria, devoting himself to composition and performing his music as conductor and pianist. His operettas are traditional in style, reflecting in their effective vocal writing and classical orchestral writing Kattnigg's thorough musical training. His other compositions include two symphonies, a piano concerto, chamber and vocal works....

Article

Philip L. Scowcroft

(Claude McMahon)

(b Hampstead, Oct 5, 1904; d South Anston, S. Yorks, Aug 31, 1991). English composer and pianist. He trained at the RAM and appeared in the Henry Wood Promenade Concerts as a pianist, but his career, as performer and composer, was mostly in light music. He formed orchestras to play in Swan & Edgar's West End restaurant, on the BBC (1929–64) and, after World War II, at Whitby and Bridlington. King retired in the mid-1960s, perhaps feeling his style of music to be old-fashioned, but continued to compose, mainly for solo piano, up to his death. Many of his popular genre pieces, including his signature tune Song of Paradise, were originally written and published for piano then later orchestrated, sometimes by others. King also composed considerably for orchestra: suites (reminiscent of Coates in their titles, if rather less vigorous), marches and intermezzos. His overture The Immortals...

Article

Andrew Lamb

(b Schönfeld [now Krásno], July 3, 1802; d Karlsbad [now Karlovy Vary], Aug 19, 1881). Bohemian violinist, conductor and composer. He was the son of a weaver, who in 1800 moved from Kampern in Prussian Silesia to Schönfeld and in 1802 to Petschau (now Bečov nad Teplou). He studied with Karl Veit and at the age of 14 joined a travelling orchestra in Petschau. In 1820 he obtained a position as violinist in the spa orchestra at Marienbad (now Mariánské Lázně), taking other jobs during the winter months. He played in Munich (1823–4), where he took further violin lessons, and undertook a concert tour of southern Germany, visiting Regensburg, Augsburg, Ulm, Stuttgart, Würzburg and Nuremberg. In 1825 he founded his own orchestra, visiting Vienna in the winter of 1825–6 and Warsaw in 1829–30. In 1835 he became conductor of the spa orchestra at Karlsbad, where he rapidly built up a reputation for himself and his orchestra. His dance compositions began to have widespread popularity, particularly the ...

Article

David Ades

(Maris Colman) [Colman, Gordon Maris]

(b Edgware, May 11, 1930). English arranger, composer and pianist. He was an accomplished pianist from childhood, playing a Mozart concerto in a public concert at the age of 11, and winning a Middlesex scholarship to the RAM where he also studied trombone. Early attempts at composition were influenced by Debussy and Ravel, and later by the Russian Romantics, Rachmaninoff and Skryabin. His first BBC broadcast as a pianist was in 1951 while serving with the Royal Artillery Band. By the 1960s, after a variety of engagements as both player and arranger, Langford had established himself as a respected pianist in concerts and on numerous broadcasts such as ‘Music in the Air’ and ‘Friday Night is Music Night’. His reputation as an arranger and composer also grew steadily.

In 1971 he won an Ivor Novello Award for his march from the Colour Suite, and became more involved in brass band music. At the same time he was increasingly in demand to orchestrate West End musicals and feature films, and also contributed mood music to publishers' recorded music libraries. He has written many arrangements for the King's Singers and the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble. In ...

Article

George Gelles

(b Pittsburgh, Dec 27, 1906; d Beverly Hills, CA, Aug 14, 1972). American pianist, composer and writer. After training with local teachers in Pittsburgh he moved to New York, where he studied with the pianist Sigismund Stojowski; later he briefly studied composition with Schoenberg. He was active as a pianist with jazz bands and as a composer of popular songs such as Lady, play your mandolin (1930, lyricist: I. Caesar) and Blame it on my youth (1934, lyricist: E. Heyman). His works for the Broadway stage brought his talents to the attention of Hollywood, and after moving to the West Coast he wrote the scores for several films, including Street Girl and Tanned Legs. Levant also appeared in many films both as actor and musician, including Rhythm on the River (1941), The Barkleys of Broadway (1948) and The Band Wagon (1953...