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Andrew Lamb

[Faster, Otto]

(b Hamburg, Feb 16, 1854; d Hamburg, Jan 11, 1931). German conductor and composer. The son of a journalist, he was educated in Hamburg and studied music with August Herzog (1870–72). He began a career in business, but from 1880 was active as conductor and composer of waltzes, polkas, and other dances and marches. His waltz ...

Article

John Snelson

[Stansfield, Grace]

(b Rochdale, June 9, 1898; d Capri, Sept 27, 1979). English singer. As a child she appeared in music hall and then toured with revue before appearing in London at the Middlesex Music Hall (1915). She had her first major success in the long-running Mr. Tower of London (1918–25) alongside the comedian Archie Pitt, who also became her first husband in 1923. After a single straight acting role as Lady Weir in SOS (1928) she returned to revue, made the first of many appearances at Royal Variety performances, and in 1930 successfully launched her career in America. During the 1930s she consolidated her position as one of the highest earning performers in the world with stage appearances, tours and recordings. Through her 16 films (1931–46), particularly those of the 1930s, her public persona was set as a working class ‘Lancashire lass’, optimistic and generous of heart. The song ‘Sally’ (...

Article

(b London, Nov 4, 1872; d London, April 21, 1939). British conductor and composer. He first studied with his father, a Dutch immigrant who, as Louis von der Finck, was a theatre violinist, conductor and composer in London. Herman Finck began to play the violin in theatre orchestras at 14, studied with Henry Gadsby, entered the Guildhall School of Music at 16 (his compositions there included violin sonatas) and learnt theatre orchestration from Edward Solomon. At the Palace Theatre of Varieties Finck was a pianist and violinist (from 1892), a leader and sub-conductor to Alfred Plumpton (from 1896) and a conductor (from 1900). In 1919 he moved to the Queen’s Theatre, and in 1922–31 was musical director at the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane, where he conducted the London premières of romantic musicals such as Rudolf Friml’s Rose Marie. From 1933 he conducted the Sunday night concerts at Southport. His memoirs were published in ...

Article

Lise Waxer

(b Naguabo, March 9, 1894; d Puerto Rico, July 13, 1979). Puerto Rican bandleader and composer. He was a schoolteacher in his native Puerto Rico, then moved to New York City in 1926, when small trios and quartets were forming on its Latin music scene to perform romantic boleros and other Cuban genres such as son and guaracha. In 1928, despite no prior musical training, Flores established his own group, the Cuarteto Flores which, through the 1930s, became internationally famous, with vocalists such as Davilita, Alfredito Valdes, Chenco Moraza and Daniel Santos. Flores was a prolific composer, writing such classics as Obsesión, Amor perdido, Perdón, Irresistible, Despedida, Bajo un palmar, Toma jabon pa’que laves and the patriotic Sin bandera. His arrangements were strongly influenced by the predominant Cuban style of the day, with heavy percussion and catchy riffs. While Flores lacked the skills and sophisticated compositional style of his contemporary and life-long rival Rafael Hernández, his songs had a broad appeal among working-class Latin Americans for their depictions of everyday life and ordinary people. See also R. Glasser: ...

Article

Arnold Shaw

[Franconero, Constance]

(b Newark, NJ, Dec 12, 1938). American singer and actress. She began her career at the age of 12, appearing on the television programme ‘Startime’. She won her first gold record in 1958 with a revival of the 1923 ballad Who’s Sorry Now, and had further successes with a series of such songs, including ...

Article

Andrew Lamb

(b Cloonyquin, Co. Roscommon, May 1, 1854; d Formby, Jan 24, 1920). Irish singer and songwriter. He studied at Trinity College, Dublin (1872–80), and had a career in engineering, but in 1890 turned to writing and performing. His shows included story-telling, humorous sketching and singing, sometimes accompanied on the banjo. He moved to London in about 1900, and performed throughout Britain as well as on the Continent and in North America. One of French’s first songs was Abdulla Bulbul Ameer (1877), which became widely popular in a pirated edition (he had failed to register the copyright). His numerous Irish comic ballads include Phil the Fluther’s Ball (1889), Slathery’s Mounted Fut (1889), Mat Hannigan’s Aunt (1892), Are ye right there, Michael? (1902) and Come back, Paddy Reilly (1912). He wrote the words to several other songs, including ...

Article

Gerald Bordman

revised by William A. Everett and Deane L. Root

(b Prague, Dec 7, 1879; d Los Angeles, Nov 12, 1972). American composer and pianist of Czech birth. He won a scholarship to the Prague Conservatory and studied composition with Dvořák and piano with Josef Jiránek. He began composing light concert pieces as soon as he graduated, but also accepted a position as accompanist for the violinist Jan Kubelík in order to support himself. He toured Europe and made two visits with Kubelík to the USA, where he decided to settle in 1906. In that year he performed his First Piano Concerto with Walter Damrosch and the New York SO and gave recitals throughout the country, quickly achieving a reputation for his imaginative improvisation. He also continued to compose both concert pieces and lighter music, often under the pseudonym Roderick Freeman.

In 1912 Victor Herbert, who had quarreled with Emma Trentini, the leading lady of his Naughty Marietta...

Article

J.G. Prod’homme

revised by Andrew Lamb

(b Buxières-les-Mines, April 5, 1862; d Paris, July 14, 1923). French composer and conductor. He was a pupil of Dubois and Franck at the Conservatoire, where he won a first prize in harmony and an organ prize. He made his début as a composer with a ballet-divertissement, Les sources du Nil, given in 1882 at the Folies Bergère (the first of several given there or at the Casino de Paris). His most important ballet is Phryné; he also composed several operettas, notably Les saltimbanques (Paris, 1899) and Hans, le joueur de flûte (Monte Carlo, 1906). Ganne conducted the orchestra for the balls at the Opéra, and was for many years musical director at the casino at Monte Carlo. He wrote more than 200 works, including songs, salon pieces and some excellent dance tunes such as the Valse des blondes and the mazurkas La czarine and La tzigane...

Article

Patrick O’Connor

[Gumm, Frances Ethel]

(b Grand Rapids, MN, June 10, 1922; d London, June 22, 1969). American popular singer and actress. With her elder sisters, Virginia and Suzy, she became one of the Gumm sisters, making her vaudeville début at the age of three. Her father was a cinema and theatre owner-manager who eventually settled in California. At first she took the stage name Frances Garland, but after a period studying at a theatre school in Los Angeles, she became Judy Garland, billed as ‘the little girl with the great big voice’. She appeared in her first film in 1929 (The Meglin Kiddlie Revue), and in 1934 after a meeting with the composer Harry Akst she auditioned for Louis B. Mayer at MGM and was put under contract. She made several successful films including Broadway Melody of 1938, in which she sang ‘You made me love you’, before gaining stardom in ...

Article

Rodolfo Celletti, Valeria Pregliasco Gualerzi and Jonas Westover

(b Barcelona, Spain, June 13, 1879; d New York, NY, July 29, 1943). Spanish mezzo-soprano. She originally studied sculpture, but a suggestion from a family friend turned her interests to piano. A famous story tells of the 16-year-old her being arrested for singing nationalist songs in Barcelona and continuing to sing them in during a jail sentence that interrupted her studies in music. Gay studied with Juan Gay Planella, her first husband, and then in Paris with Ada Adini. She sang in concerts in Brussels with Eugène Ysaÿe, and in 1902 appeared there at the Théâtre de la Monnaie as Carmen. Until the late 1920s she performed at the world’s leading opera houses, including Madrid, Covent Garden, La Scala, the Metropolitan, and Chicago, where she sang regularly between 1910 and 1927. She also appeared throughout South America. Gay was a mainstay of the Boston Opera Company and its short-lived successor (...

Article

(Romualdo)

(b Tudela, Feb 7, 1822; d Madrid, March 18, 1870). Spanish composer and conductor. Orphaned at an early age, he became a choirboy at Tudela Cathedral in 1830 and studied there with Rubla. In 1834 he was a pupil of Guelbenzu at Pamplona and in 1842 entered the Madrid Conservatory to study the piano with Pedro Albéniz y Basanta and composition with Ramón Carnicer. In 1845 the Italian company at the Teatro de la S Cruz in Madrid made him the director of its chorus. In 1846 he went to Paris as conductor of a ballet company, but in 1848 returned to Madrid as director of the Teatro Español, where his first zarzuela, La mensajera, had its première in December 1849. This began a series of successes for Gaztambide as a conductor of opera and zarzuela companies in Madrid. For several seasons he conducted operas at the Teatro Real, and he directed the first performance in Spanish of Meyerbeer’s ...

Article

Alfred Loewenberg

revised by Andrew Lamb

(b Danzig [Gdańsk], Feb 7, 1823; d Baden, nr Vienna, June 15, 1895). German conductor, librettist and composer. He was the son of Friedrich Genée (b Königsberg, 1796; d Berlin, 1859), conductor at a theatre in Danzig, and, although first intended for the medical profession, took up music, studying with A. Stahlknecht in Berlin. Between 1847 and 1867 he was successively Kapellmeister at theatres at Reval (now Tallinn), Riga, Cologne, Düsseldorf, Danzig, Mainz, Schwerin and Prague. In 1868 he became conductor at the Theater an der Wien, Vienna, and in the following years was increasingly involved with not just the musical but also the literary side of the works produced there. At first concerned with adapting foreign works for production, he became much in demand as a clever writer of operetta librettos. This side of his activities developed particularly through his association with Johann Strauss (ii) who, being unfamiliar with writing for the theatre, used Genée not just as a lyricist but for the detailed working out of his melodic ideas. Thus Genée’s handwriting is to be found extensively in the autograph score of ...

Article

Geraldo  

Alyn Shipton

[Bright, Gerald W.]

(b London, Aug 10, 1903; d Vevey, May 4, 1974). English band-leader. He studied the piano at the RAM; after working as a cinema pianist and restaurant organist he led the resident band at the Hotel Majestic, St Anne's-on-Sea, for almost five years during the late 1920s and made frequent broadcasts. He led the Gaucho Tango Band at the Savoy Hotel (1930–37) and in 1933 formed a dance orchestra into which he introduced some good jazz soloists and which gave a short series of Sunday Night Swing Club Concerts at St Martin's Theatre (1939). In 1940 he left the Savoy to tour, became supervisor of the Entertainments National Services Association Band Division and played in the Middle East, North Africa and Italy, strengthening his band throughout the war (unlike most leaders). From then until the mid-1950s he was the leading dance-band leader in Britain, showing an adventurous sense for current idioms. In parallel with his bandleading, Geraldo ran a theatrical booking agency from the late 1940s. Among his contracts was the supply of bands to North Atlantic passenger liners, and his musicians became known as ‘Geraldo's Navy’. He gave up bandleading in the late 1950s, but occasionally re-formed his band for concerts and broadcasts. He continued his management activities and for a time was music director of Scottish Television....

Article

Alyn Shipton

[‘Gibby’]

(b Clinton, MA, Jan 4, 1903; d London, May 10, 1954). American pianist, bandleader and composer, active in Britain. He played the piano as a child, appearing in public aged ten, and going on to attend the New England Conservatory. In 1924 he came to Britain to study the piano at the RAM, but he soon took up an alternative career in dance music, playing with the Boston Orchestra at the Berkeley Hotel. He led the Sylvians at the Savoy in 1926, taking over leadership of the hotel’s popular Orpheans orchestra from Debroy Somers in 1927, but disbanding it the following year. He became a musical director for the Gramophone Company (1928–9), for whom he led the New Mayfair Orchestra, recording prolifically and providing accompaniments for almost all the popular singers and variety turns recorded by the company. In 1929 he worked for the British and Dominion Film Company as a musical director, spending most of ...

Article

Andrew Lamb

[Winterfeld, Max]

(b Hamburg, Feb 11, 1879; d Buenos Aires, Dec 20, 1942). German composer and conductor. As a child he took piano lessons and later studied music in Kiel, Sondershausen and Berlin. He began his professional career in 1897 as a theatre conductor in Bremerhaven, moved to Hamburg in 1898 and, after military service, to Berlin in 1902. He adopted his nom de plume for his first operetta, Das Jungfernstift (1901). He conducted with a touring circus and at provincial theatres, and achieved wide and lasting success with his operetta Die keusche Susanne (1910). He then returned to Berlin as conductor and composer to the Thalia-Theater and produced a rapid succession of operettas – he was to compose more than 50 in all – in the lively, commercial style of the Berlin school, among them Polnische Wirtschaft (1910), Autoliebchen (1912), Die elfte Muse...

Article

Paul Webb

(b Carmarthen, c1880; d Hove, Feb 19, 1981). English contralto. She trained with the Carl Rosa Opera Company, and sang at Covent Garden and the Lyceum and Strand theatres. She was appropriately cast as a singing teacher with an operatic background in two of Ivor Novello’s Drury Lane musicals: as Madame Simonetti in Careless Rapture (1936), and as Cäcilie Kurt in The Dancing Years (1939). She became a stalwart of Novello’s unofficial repertory company with whom she spent the best part of her career. With Muriel Barron she introduced one of Novello’s most popular songs, the duet ‘We’ll gather lilacs’ in Perchance to Dream (1945), a show which displayed both her powerful contralto voice and a gift for comic acting. Her relationship with Novello also extended beyond the stage, as his unofficial housekeeper in London. She later appeared as Sister Margaretta in a long run of ...

Article

Gerard Béhague

(do Prado Pereira de Oliveira)

(b Juazeiro, Bahia, June 10, 1931). Brazilian popular singer, composer and guitarist. He moved to Rio de Janeiro at the age of 18, singing mostly Romantic samba-canções in various groups and frequenting the nightclub Plaza in Copacobana and the Murray Recordshop in downtown Rio de Janeiro. His first solo recording came in 1952, but it was the July 1958 record containing Jobim's Chega de Saudade and his own Bim-bom that called attention to his new singing style, unassuming but secure and very intimate. In April 1958 he had accompanied on the guitar the pop singer Elisete Cardoso singing Chega de Saudade, and revealed for the first time his distinctive guitar beat that came to be known as the violão gago (stammering guitar), a trademark of the bossa nova made up of previously unknown syncopated patterns on the samba beat. In November of the same year he recorded Jobim's ...

Article

(b Seville, Oct 10, 1854; d Madrid, Feb 19, 1923). Spanish composer and conductor. He studied music first with his father and then the violin with Salvador Viniegra. At the age of 12 he joined the orchestra of the Teatro Principal in Seville as a first violinist and at 17 became director of the Opera. Receiving a scholarship from the Diputación of Cádiz, he went to the Paris Conservatoire, where he studied with Alard, Savart and Thomas, winning first prizes in harmony and counterpoint in 1877. After travelling in Italy, he became director of the Teatro Apolo in Madrid in 1885, then of the Teatro de la Zarzuela, where he gave the first performance in Spain of Bizet’s Carmen. He was also director of the Unión Artístico-Musical and the Madrid Concert Society, where he introduced works from the Classical German repertory and modern French and Russian compositions. He wrote orchestral and instrumental music, but his chief interest was the zarzuela, especially the ...

Article

(b London, March 7, 1908; d Gosport, Aug 3, 1998). English jazz trumpeter, singer and bandleader. He performed and recorded with the dance bands of Billy Cotton (1929–33), Roy Fox (1931–2), Ray Noble (1931, 1933–4) and Lew Stone (1932–5); Georgia on my mind (1932), recorded with Fox, is a good example of his playing and singing and became extremely popular. From 1932 he worked as a leader in a style heavily influenced by that of Louis Armstrong; his band, the Georgians (1934–9), included his brother Bruts Gonella (b 1911), who was also a trumpeter. During a visit to New York in 1939 Gonella recorded with John Kirby and performed at the Hickory House. After returning to London he led the New Georgians from 1940 to 1942, but worked less frequently in the late 1940s and early 50s. In ...

Article

David Ades

(b Plymouth, Feb 17, 1925; d London, Jan 8, 2003). English arranger, composer and conductor. Originally a trumpeter, then a music copyist, his main musical career took off in the 1950s with radio shows and recordings accompanying singers, culminating in a series of distinctive LPs with his own concert orchestra. Goodwin's musical accompaniments for the Parlophone LPs by Peter Sellers greatly contributed to their success. He also showed a talent for composing; early successes included Jet Journey, Skiffling Strings (renamed Swinging Sweethearts for the USA), and Lingering Lovers. In later years he wrote several major works, notably his suites Drake 400 (1980) and New Zealand (1983), the latter reflecting his love of the country to which he regularly returned for concert tours. A prolific film composer, he is widely known for his score for 633 Squadron, closely followed by Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines...