81-100 of 241 results  for:

  • Light Music and Operetta x
Clear all

Article

Simon Collier

[El Polaco ]

(b Buenos Aires, Jan 29, 1926; d Buenos Aires, Aug 27, 1994). Argentine tango singer. Despite his nickname, he was of pure Basque ancestry. His first jobs as a young man were driving buses, taxis and trucks, but he entered the flourishing tango scene of the 1940s on the strength of his untrained but superb baritone voice which, with its rhythmic sensitivity and dramatic sense, was quickly recognized by the public as one of the best since Carlos Gardel’s. He worked with a number of distinguished tango bands in the 1940s and 50s, notably those of Horacio Salgán and Aníbal Troilo, with whom he made some memorable recordings. After 1964 he fully established himself as a solo artist, winning much popularity and success in theatres, nightclubs, on the radio and in the recording studio, backed by a variety of groups including Roberto Pansera’s band and the Baffa-Berlingieri Trio. Goyeneche also wrote a few tangos, the best known being ...

Article

(b Vienna, Sept 1, 1879; d New York, May 30, 1944). Austrian composer, pianist and librettist. He studied at the Leipzig Conservatory with Salomon Judassohn, then was engaged as a coach at the Vienna Hofoper, also working at the Viennese cabaret Nachtlicht as a pianist and singer. His first major success was the operetta Bub oder Mädel (1908), which shows the influence of Lehár. By 1930 he had written 16 operettas, eight of which also credited him as librettist, and also the libretto for Oscar Straus’s operetta Die Königin. Der Orlow (1925) became his most popular work, with some 400 performances in major European cities, and he contributed the song Zuschau ’n kann i net to Benatzky’s Im weissen Rössl (1930). He went to Hollywood in 1930 to team up with Nacio Herb Brown and write the music for the film One Heavenly Night...

Article

William A. Everett and Lee Snook

[Hedrick, Zelma Kathryn]

(b Winston-Salem, NC, Feb 9, 1922; d Los Angeles, Feb 17, 2010). American actress and singer. During the 1940s and 50s she was one of the most popular of Hollywood's singing stars. Discovered by MGM talent scouts as a radio singer, she spent most of her career under contract to that studio. Her two most important roles were Magnolia Hawkes in Show Boat (1951) and Katharine in Kiss Me, Kate (1953). Other significant film credits include Rio Rita (1942), Anchors Aweigh (1945), Ziegfield Follies (1946), Till the Clouds Roll By (1946), That Midnight Kiss (1949), Lovely to Look At (1952), as the singer Grace Moore in So This Is Love (1953), and The Vagabond King (1956), her final film. Grayson was acknowledged by her contemporaries as a very fine legitimate soprano. She sang very easily with a minimum of facial distortion, a quality essential to the film medium. The lack of physical tension in her singing is a hallmark quality of her technique....

Article

David Ades

(b London, 1911; d Dublin, Oct 6, 1982). English arranger, composer and conductor. At the age of 19 Green was the youngest musical director in London's West End, and his first recordings were for EMI in 1933. Before World War II he was closely involved in commercial radio, and after the war many of his works became familiar radio and television themes, for example that of ‘Meet the Huggetts’. He was one of the most prolific musicians in his field, responsible for hundreds of recordings and over 150 film scores. Many of Green's own works were written specifically for those publishers who served the requirements of radio, television and films, such as Chappell, Francis, Day & Hunter, Paxton and Photoplay. He began writing film scores when Romance was chosen by Menuhin for the theme of The Magic Bow (1946). Often writing under pseudonyms, his biggest international success was as ‘Jose Belmonte’ with ...

Article

Leon Berger

(b London, Dec 9, 1847; d Folkestone, March 1, 1912). English actor, singer, composer and writer, father of George Grossmith. He was a courtroom reporter and comic recitalist, like his father of the same name, before becoming a drawing-room entertainer: he was sometimes called ‘G.G. II’, to distinguish him from his father, or ‘G.G.’. He began a 12-year association with the Gilbert and Sullivan Savoy operas when he made his stage début in the title role of The Sorcerer in 1877. Of slight stature, with excellent diction, dapper footwork and a light comic touch, he created what became known as the patter parts or the ‘Grossmith roles’. In 1889 he resumed his lucrative Humorous and Musical Recitals, touring in England and America.

According to contemporary accounts he was not much of a singer, but his own songs display a wider tessitura than the Gilbert and Sullivan repertory suggests. He was the author of and often a performer in eight operettas, nearly 100 musical sketches and some 400 songs and piano pieces. This prolific song output was mostly in a patter style, with an infectious melody and a syllabic setting for fast delivery: a third of them were published and survive, but his manuscripts along with his performing librettos from the Savoy operas were destroyed in World War II. His songs are couched in quotidian detail: London streets and their surly cab drivers and bus conductors, seedy lodging houses, obstreperous babies, and fashionable dances as in ...

Article

Thomas L. Gayda

[Will; Williams, Hugh; Milos, André]

(b Vienna, Aug 11, 1894; d New York, Dec 10, 1939). Austrian composer, pianist and conductor. Born into a Jewish family of jewellers, he studied with the operetta composer Richard Heuberger, Robert Fuchs, the musicologist Guido Adler and Franz Schreker. After he left the Vienna Music Academy in 1919, his Zwei phantastische Stücke was given its first performance by the Vienna PO. The following year he received a doctorate in music from Vienna University. While he remained initially faithful to the late-Romantic, Impressionist line, he became the first Austrian composer to introduce jazz idioms into his music. His grotesque ballet-pantomime Baby in der Bar (1928) marked him as one of the prime exponents of the Zeitgeist of the Weimar era.

In 1927 Grosz moved to Berlin and became the artistic director of the new Ultraphon record company, quickly building up its catalogue as a conductor, arranger and pianist. He formed a well-known piano duo with Wilhelm Kauffman and toured Europe as a highly-sought accompanist and conductor. When the National Socialists seized power in ...

Article

Stanley Goscombe

[Joseph]

(b Zsámbék, Dec 1, 1809; d Weimar, Feb 1, 1889). Hungarian composer, bandmaster and violinist. At 15 he held the post of teacher’s assistant and later taught at a school in the Pest suburb of Franzen. At 18 he gave up teaching and joined the 5th Imperial Austrian Artillery Regiment in Pest, and in 1835 entered the 4th Imperial Austrian Artillery Regiment in Graz as an oboist, soon becoming its bandmaster. Here he became known as the ‘Graz Strauss’, and introduced orchestral music with stringed instruments into public entertainments. In 1836 he composed his first successful work, the Ungarischer Marsch; it was published in Berlin in 1839. In 1840 he married Cajetana Barbara Reichl, in whose honour he composed the Cajetana-Tänze op.116.

With 16 Styrian musicians, Gung’l left Graz in 1843 on his first concert tour of Austria and Germany, ultimately arriving in Berlin, where, assisted by his friend and publisher Gustav Bock, he became the resident conductor of his own 36-piece orchestra at Sommer’s Lokal (...

Article

[Hale-Monro, Beatrice Mary]

(b Liverpool, May 22, 1899; d Hastings, Jan 10, 1984). English soprano. She was born into a theatrical family; both her parents were on the stage and her brother was the comedy actor Sonnie Hale (1902–59). She first appeared professionally in Follow the Crowd at the Liverpool Empire (1916), and in the same year was engaged by C.B. Cochran as Annette in Houp La! She appeared in many revues and musical comedies, notably Puppets! (1924, with music by Ivor Novello), in which she displayed her abilities as a mimic. She created the title role in Youmans’s No, No, Nanette (1925) and Jill in Vivian Ellis’s Mr Cinders (1929). She also appeared in Kern’s Sunny (1925), Billy Mayerl’s Nippy (1930), and introduced ‘A Nice Cup of Tea’ in C.B. Cochran’s revue Home and Beauty (1937...

Article

(Robert)

(b London, May 2, 1898; d Eastbourne, Oct 28, 1989). English band-leader and trumpeter. In London he studied the trumpet and orchestration at Trinity College of Music and the RAM before World War I, and at the Guildhall School of Music in 1922. In 1914 he joined the music editorial department of the Salvation Army and after the war worked in music halls, as a cinema pianist, and as a member of provincial bands; from 1924 he led his first important band, at Gleneagles Hotel, Perthshire, with which he made his first recordings. By 1930 he was musical director for a hotel chain and controlling 32 bands. He replaced Jack Payne as leader of the BBC Dance Orchestra in 1932. As director of dance music for the BBC (1932–7) he had an unusually heavy broadcasting schedule, including (from 1934) a weekly ‘Guest Night’ show which ran until the late 1950s. In ...

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

Kate Daubney

(George )

(b New York, Feb 13, 1908; d Los Angeles, April 24, 1971). American musical director, conductor and arranger. He began his career as a pianist, playing and arranging for jazz artists, in particular for the Paul Whiteman Orchestra in the late 1920s. His arrangements of classic songs for Whiteman, such as Nobody's Sweetheart, are considered among the finest of their era, blending jazz instruments with those of the traditional orchestra. His later arrangement of Star Dust provided a hit in the early 1940s for clarinettist Artie Shaw. In 1940 he became musical director for Metro Goldwyn Mayer studios before moving to Twentieth Century-Fox in 1953. He was involved in arranging scores for a number of films and musicals including The Harvey Girls (1945) and The Pirate (1948); the arrangements reflect the complexity achieved in his work for Whiteman, although film music had only recently incorporated jazz into its idioms. He was nominated for Academy Awards for his work on several notable musicals, including ...

Article

Brian Priestley

revised by Alyn Shipton

[Edward]

(b London, March 30, 1900; d Virginia Water, nr Egham, Nov 18, 1969). English trombonist and bandleader. He studied the tenor horn with his father before taking up the trombone. After a period as a street musician (until 1922), he became a regular sideman with several prominent British dance bands, notably those of Bert Ambrose (1928–36), Sydney Lipton (1936–9), Geraldo (1939–44) and Jack Hylton. Though not a strong jazz soloist, Heath seized the chance in 1944 to form his own band, which made regular broadcasts, gave the ‘Swing Sessions’ concerts at the London Palladium and soon began to tour frequently. Employing the very best section players, Heath successfully emulated the precision and versatility of such American bandleaders as Tommy Dorsey and Woody Herman (American musicians were banned from performing in Britain from 1935 to 1956). The many jazzmen who worked with him included Kenny Baker, Jack Parnell, and (consecutively) Ronnie Scott, Tommy Whittle, Danny Moss and Don Rendell; he also commissioned such enterprising arrangers as John Dankworth, Tadd Dameron (briefly in ...

Article

Kate Daubney

(b Haverstraw, NY, Aug 25, 1908; d Los Angeles, Feb 3, 1980). American musical director, orchestrator and conductor. His association with cinema music began as a young man with employment as a pianist and organist for a silent movie theatre in Mechanicsville, New York. He became a protégé of Leo Forbstein, the first musical director at Warner Brothers' studios, after helping with the scoring of the first sound film, The Jazz Singer (1927). He effectively served his apprenticeship with Warner Brothers, rising through the music department as a performer and orchestrator-arranger. During this period he orchestrated for Steiner on Daughters Courageous (1939). When Forbstein retired in 1947, Heindorf succeeded him, remaining as head of the department until 1959, although he continued to conduct and arrange scores. He was nominated for 18 Academy Awards between 1942 and 1968, and received three: for the musical direction on ...

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

Hervé  

Andrew Lamb

[Ronger, Florimond]

(b Houdain, June 30, 1825; d Paris, Nov 3, 1892). French composer, singer and conductor. On his father's death in 1835, his mother took him to Paris. He found employment at the church of St Roch, where he learnt the rudiments of singing, organ and harmony; he then briefly studied harmony with Elwart at the Conservatoire and later composition with Auber. From 1839 to 1845 he was organist at the Bicêtre asylum and began a music class for the patients, writing songs, choruses and other entertainments for them. For eight years from 1845 he was organist at St Eustache.

For his theatrical career he took the name Hervé, gradually gaining recognition through his Don Quichotte et Sancho Pança (1848) and engagements at the Théâtre de l’Odéon and Théâtre du Palais-Royal, where he appeared as author, composer, conductor, actor, tenor buffo singer and producer, as required. His five-act ...

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

Peter Kemp

(b Carshalton, Feb 9, 1952). English soprano. She studied at the GSM under Arthur Reckless and Vilem Tausky, then gained widespread recognition touring the USA, Canada, Australasia and the UK in Gilbert and Sullivan operas, also performing principal roles in early French opera with the English Bach Festival. She made her operatic début with the ENO (1978) as Adele (Die Fledermaus), followed by principal roles with the Royal Opera, Scottish, Welsh and Canadian Opera, Lyric Opera of Singapore, New Sadler’s Wells, D’Oyly Carte and the new Carl Rosa company. She has performed in opera, oratorio and in concert at many of the major European festivals including the BBC Proms, Aldeburgh, Paris, Athens and Cologne, and has made regular appearances on television and radio.

Hill Smith is adept at a wide variety of musical styles, and her award-winning recordings range from Rameau to Lehár. She is most acclaimed for her interpretation of operetta and has made a noted contribution to the recording of rare works by Johann Strauss II. Her voice is warm yet silver-toned with an innate intelligence of phrasing and clarity of diction. Max Schönherr was an enthusiastic admirer, while Mary Ellis deemed her ability to sing in true Viennese style ‘a technique that is all but lost these days’....

Article

Fritz Spiegl

(b Berlin, March 22, 1925; d London, Sept 28, 1959). British artist, illustrator, musician and humorist. Of German birth and Jewish parentage, he was a refugee from Nazi Germany. Educated at Hornsey and Harrow Schools of art, he taught art briefly before devoting himself to a career as a freelance cartoonist. He was a contributor to Lilliput, Tatler and Punch magazines, among other publications. His early drawings suggest an influence of the German illustrators Wihelm Busch (especially his musical cartoons) and Walter Trier. In particular they feature musicians and their instruments, transfigured by Hoffnung’s distinctive imagination, high spirits and sense of fun. His paintings to Ravel’s opera L’enfant et les sortilèges, for which the librettist Colette wrote a special text, were exhibited at the Festival of Britain (1951) and subsequently published. A series of books of musical cartoons appeared almost yearly until Hoffnung’s death, since when five further collections have been published. In the mid-1960s, Halas & Batchelor produced seven animated cartoon films based on these drawings....

Article

Harry Sumrall

(Calhoun)

(b Brooklyn, NY, June 30, 1917; d New York, NY, May 9, 2010). American actress and popular singer. She began her professional career as a dancer in the Cotton Club, Harlem, when she was 16 years old. She then toured as a singer with several black American dance bands, including those of Noble Sissle and Charlie Barnet, and appeared in the Broadway musical Blackbirds of 1939. In 1941 she began a singing engagement at Café Society Downtown, New York, where she worked with the bandleaders Teddy Wilson and Sid Catlett. She then went to Hollywood to sing at the Little Troc and shortly afterwards became the first black performer to sign a contract with a major studio (MGM). Her roles in a number of films, which included Panama Hattie (1942), Cabin in the Sky (1943), Stormy Weather (1943), Swing Fever (1943...

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...