I wish this thread brings to light a neglected but extremely enjoyable genre.
So what exactly is light music, a.k.a. mood music? Let me quote a definition by the Light music Society:
The waltzes of Strauss can be regarded as earliest examples light music, and so could be salon music and novelty songs of the 20’s and 30’s. We already have threads for these styles. The golden age of light music took place between 1940 and 1960. While light music was predominantly performed by large orchestras, especially in the late 50’s, the piano arrangements of the hits were popular back in the days.Light Music bridges the gap between classical and popular music, although its boundaries are often blurred. It is music with an immediate appeal, music to entertain and to enjoy. It has a strong emphasis on melody, and as such, it is designed to appeal to a wider audience than more serious forms of the Western classical music tradition.
But who are the names behind light music? The Robert Farnon Society, named after one of the light music giants, has a long albeit not full list of composers who at some point of their career produced music than can be considered “light music”:
David Ades, Ronnie Aldrich, Leroy Anderson, John Barry, Les Baxter, Ronald Binge, Stanley Black, Howard Blake, Leslie Bridgewater, Frederick Charrosin, Frank Chacksfield, Francis Chagrin, Eric Coates, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Frederic Curzon, Harry Parr Davies, Trevor Duncan, Vivian Ellis, Joseph Engleman, , Percy Faith, Robert Farnon, Percy Fletcher, John Fox, Greg Francis, Ron Goodwin, Morton Gould, Philip Green, Johnny Gregory, Ronnie Hazlehurst, John Holliday, Roberto Inglez, Albert Ketelbey, Andre Kostelanetz, Gordon Langford, Philip Lane, Dolf van der Linden, Monia Liter, William Lloyd Webber, Leighton Lucas, , Mantovani, Ray Martin, Billy Mayerl, George Melachrino, Mitch Miller, Cecil Milner, Angela Morley, Norrie Paramor, Cyril Ornadel, Tony Osborne, Helen Perkin, Donald Phillips, Franck Pourcel, Clive Richardson, Neil Richardson, Roger Roger, David Rose, Edmundo Ros, Conrad Salinger, , Raymond Scott, Edrich Siebert, Cyril Stapleton, James Stevens, Frank Tapp, Phyllis Tate, Billy Ternent, Ernest Tomlinson, Sidney Torch, Cyril Watters, Paul Weston, Lou Whiteson, Charles Williams, Roger Williams, John Wilson, Haydn Wood, Peter Yorke, Leon Young, Victor Young.
Some of the names are more associated with easy listening genre (Les Baxter, Mantovani, Frank Chacksfield), while some (for example Dolf van der Linden and Cyril Watters) were more prolific for composing production music for music libraries such as Chappell, Boosey & Hawkes and Bosworth. Some like Billy Mayerl and Raymond Scott are better known for the piano novelties, and thus their scores belong to the School of Syncopation thread.
I’d like to start by posting a couple of examples from the legends mentioned above. Sadly it’s very difficult to find light music scores in Finland, hence my scanned collection is very limited.