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Andrew Lamb

(Christian)

(b Komáron, Hungary, April 30, 1870; d Bad Ischl, Oct 24, 1948). Austro-Hungarian composer and conductor. He was the leading operetta composer of the 20th century, being primarily responsible for giving the genre renewed vitality. His most successful operetta, Die lustige Witwe, has established a lasting place in the opera as well as the operetta repertory and, along with Offenbach and Johann Strauss II, Lehár has remained one of the most popular composers of light music.

The family came originally from the eastern Sudetenland. Lehár’s father, also Franz (1838–98), received his music education in Sternberg (now Šternberg), played the horn in the orchestra of the Theater an der Wien, and was for nearly 40 years a military bandmaster and composer of dances and marches. In 1869 he married the Hungarian Christine Neubrandt, and in the following years they moved between various Hungarian garrison towns. The mother-tongue of their offspring was Hungarian and the family name acquired the accent to indicate a long vowel (the stress being on the first syllable). In ...

Article

Daniele Buccio

(Henry )

(b Canton, OH, Aug 18, 1905; d West Redding, CT, July 31, 1978). American composer, violinist, bandleader, recording engineer, and producer. After graduating from Johns Hopkins University, he performed as a light classical violinist in the United States and Europe. During the 1930s he studied conducting with Maurice Frigara in Paris. After a near-fatal car accident in 1940, he organized his own dance band, the Light Brigade, which recorded for RCA and Columbia. After he disbanded it at the turn of the decade, Light devoted himself to management, working for several record companies before becoming president of Waldorf Music Hall Records in 1954. He founded his own label, Grand Award, in 1956 and had success with Dixieland and honky-tonk piano albums. In 1959, he founded Command Records on which he released Persuasive Percussion, the first in a successful series of high-fidelity albums that used stereo technology to great advantage. Over the next two decades, he continued to produce hit albums drawing on the latest technological savvy and packaged with covers usually designed by Josef Albers. Musicians who appeared on Light’s albums include the Free Design, Doc Severinsen, Dick Hyman, Bobby Byrne, and Bobby Hackett. In ...

Article

Andrew Lamb

(b Berlin, Nov 7, 1866; d Clausthal-Zellerfeld, Harz, Sept 3, 1946). German composer and conductor. He studied with Rudolf Kleinow in Wittenberge (1880–84) and learnt to play the bassoon, horn and percussion. He played in dance orchestras in Berlin and was occasional conductor and house composer at variety theatres. He enjoyed success with popular songs including Wenn die Blätter leise rauschen, Ach Schaffner, lieber Schaffner and Die Gigerlkönigin, and from 1893 to 1897 was conductor and resident composer at the main variety theatre in Berlin, the Apollo. After a period as conductor at the Folies-Bergère, Paris (1897–9), his revue-operetta Frau Luna made his name and also his fortune through his own publishing company, Apollo-Verlag. It was followed by further stage scores and orchestral pieces. Orchestral items such as the ‘Glühwürmchen-Idyll’ from Lysistrata (1902) achieved wide international popularity, while songs such as the march from ...

Article

Mark Tucker

[Gaetano] (Alberto)

(b London, ON, June 19, 1902; d Houston, Nov 5, 1977). Canadian bandleader of Italian descent. He organized his first group around 1917 in London, Ontario. By 1923 they had begun to play in the USA, and a year later made their first recordings for Gennett as Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians. After a successful engagement at the Granada Cafe, Chicago (1927–8), the group went to New York and in 1929 began a record-breaking engagement of more than 33 years at the Roosevelt Grill. From this time on Lombardo and his band prospered and their records sold well. They appeared on radio, in films and on television, and they toured extensively, always playing in major hotels, ballrooms and nightclubs. For years CBS broadcast the band’s New Year’s Eve performances nationwide from the Roosevelt Grill (later from the Waldorf-Astoria).

Lombardo’s band was among the most popular and long-lived dance orchestras in 20th-century American musical life. His music was always pleasant and accessible as Lombardo aimed for, and reached, the broadest possible audience. The fairly stable membership of his band over the years assured continuity of style and performance. This was partly due to the participation of family members: Lebert (trumpet), Victor (clarinet and saxophone), singer Rose Marie, and especially Carmen (...

Article

[Joshua] (Alexander)

(b London, June 22, 1909; d London, June 6, 1990). English bandleader. After studying music at Trinity College of Music and the London School of Music he led the Magnetic Dance Band (1926) and worked as a professional violinist and with dance bands in Blackpool and London. In 1930 he became the leader of a seven-piece band at the Astoria Ballroom, London, and after a short period as bandleader at the Kit-Cat Club (1931–4) he returned to the Astoria as leader of a 12-piece band, making frequent broadcasts and recordings, and annual tours. In 1940 he left the Astoria to make more extensive tours, and during the war his band, which included Chick Henderson and other notable singers, was one of the most popular in Britain. After the war his band took up a residency at the Hammersmith Palais, and he also started his own agency. He achieved chart success in the 1960s with such numbers as ...

Article

Andrew Lamb

( b Stargard, West Prussia, Jan 5, 1897; d Berlin, Jan 10, 1953). German composer and conductor . Proficient on the violin and the piano as a child, he appeared as a pianist at the age of 13 and studied at the Cologne Conservatory. He was a military bandsman in Warsaw (1917–18) where he look lessons in composition from Jules de Wertheim and in the piano from Joseph Weisz. From 1920 to 1922 he was accompanist to the violinist Leopold Przemislaw, after which, having settled in Berlin, he was active as a café and radio pianist. In 1928 he conducted the première of Weill's Die Dreigroschenoper, and his widest fame came as the arranger of the operetta Die Dubarry (after Millöcker, first performed at the Admiralspalast, Berlin, 17 August 1931). After 1930 he was concerned mainly with composing songs and other music for plays and some 55 films. From his theatre music came the songs ‘Komm auf die Schaukel, Luise’ for Molnar's ...

Article

Walter Aaron Clark and William Craig Krause

(b Madrid, March 3, 1891; d Madrid, Sept 12, 1982). Spanish composer, conductor and critic. He first studied music with his father, José Moreno Ballesteros, an organist and teacher at the Royal Conservatory in Madrid, and with whom he collaborated on his first zarzuela, Las decididas (1912). He later studied composition with Conrado del Campo at the Royal Conservatory, where his tone poem La ajorca de oro was first performed in 1918. In 1926 he married Pilar Larregla, the daughter of a Navarrese composer; the folk music of Navarra along with that of Castile was to serve as a major source of inspiration in his music. Although not a guitarist himself, in the 1920s his growing friendship with Segovia inspired him to begin writing for the guitar, and the resulting compositions such as Sonatina (1924) and Piezas características (1931) are among his finest works. He also established himself as a composer for the stage, and his zarzuela ...

Article

Oldřich Pukl

(b Tábor, March 26, 1874; d Zagreb, Dec 24, 1930). Czech composer, conductor and viola player. He studied the violin with the regens chori Endler in Tábor and then with Bennewitz at the Prague Conservatory (1885–92), where he was also a pupil of Filip Bláha (trumpet and percussion) and Dvořák (composition). With Vitezslav Novák and Suk he was one of Dvořák’s most successful pupils. He played the viola in the Czech Quartet (1891–1906), in which Suk was the second violinist, and was often also heard as the group’s pianist. This ensemble raised the standards of Czech chamber playing to an international level and appeared all over Europe in a repertory based, during Nedbal’s time, on Beethoven, Schumann, Brahms, Smetana and Dvořák.

Nedbal was equally successful as a conductor. With the Czech PO, which he conducted from 1896 to 1906, he undertook his first major tour outside Austro-Hungary, to England in ...

Article

Andrew Lamb

revised by Alyn Shipton

(b Brighton, Dec 17, 1903; d London, April 2, 1978). English bandleader, arranger and composer. He studied classical piano but became interested in dance music, serving as house conductor for HMV records from 1929 and attracting attention with the recordings of his New Mayfair Dance Orchestra (1930–34), particularly those with the singer Al Bowlly. He moved to the USA to direct his own band at the Rainbow Room in New York (1935–7), then went to Los Angeles and worked as a bandleader and radio personality into the 1950s. In the jazz field Noble’s significance was as a catalyst rather than as a performer. His own arrangements and performances were generally of ‘sweet’ dance music, and his major compositions were highly successful romantic ballads such as Goodnight, sweetheart (1931), Love is the sweetest thing (1932), The very thought of you (...

Article

Philip L. Scowcroft

(b Madras, 1887; d Belfast, Aug 20, 1939). English conductor and composer of Irish descent. He grew up with military bands; his father and brothers Percy and Rudolph all conducted them, embracing between them Army, Royal Marines and RAF. O'Donnell was in the Marines at Portsmouth (1917–23) and Deal, but most notably conducted the BBC (Wireless) Military Band, formed in August 1927 and which survived until 1943, latterly under his brother Percy. It inspired, besides his own and others' arrangements of classical works, some original music including Holst's Hammersmith (1931).

Curiously the band's programmes included little of O'Donnell's own music yet this was brilliantly inventive and, for its time, harmonically adventurous. The Two Irish Tone Sketches and Songs of the Gael draw upon his links with Ireland, while Three Humoresques may derive from Jane Austen. These, with Woodland Sketches, were later arranged for orchestra. Other pieces were originally orchestral, such as the modestly astringent ...