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Albert W. Ketèlbey

Albert William Ketèlbey (; born Ketelbey; 9 August 1875 – 26 November 1959) was an English composer, conductor and pianist, best known for his short pieces of light orchestral music. He was born in Birmingham and moved to London in 1889 to study at Trinity College of Music. After a brilliant studentship he did not pursue the classical career predicted for him, becoming musical director of the Vaudeville Theatre before gaining fame as a composer of light music and as a conductor of his own works.

For many years Ketèlbey worked for a series of music publishers, including Chappell & Co and the Columbia Graphophone Company, making arrangements for smaller orchestras, a period in which he learned to write fluent and popular music. He also found great success writing music for silent films until the advent of talking films in the late 1920s.

The composer's early works in conventional classical style were well received, but it was for his light orchestral pieces that he became best known. One of his earliest works in the genre, In a Monastery Garden (1915), sold over a million copies and brought him to widespread notice; his later musical depictions of exotic scenes caught the public imagination and established his fortune. Such works as In a Persian Market (1920), In a Chinese Temple Garden (1923), and In the Mystic Land of Egypt (1931) became best-sellers in print and on records; by the late 1920s he was Britain's first millionaire composer. His celebrations of British scenes were equally popular: examples include Cockney Suite (1924) with its scenes of London life, and his ceremonial music for royal events. His works were frequently recorded during his heyday, and a substantial part of his output has been put on CD in more recent years.

Ketèlbey's popularity began to wane during the Second World War and his originality also declined; many of his post-war works were re-workings of older pieces and he increasingly found his music ignored by the BBC. In 1949 he moved to the Isle of Wight, where he spent his retirement, and he died at home in obscurity. His work has been reappraised since his death; in a 2003 poll by the BBC radio programme Your Hundred Best Tunes, Bells Across the Meadows was voted the 36th most popular tune of all time and the last night of the 2009 Proms season marked the fiftieth anniversary of Ketèlbey's death—the first time his music had been included in the festival's finale.

Birth and Death Data: Born August 9th, 1875 (Birmingham), Died Cowes

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1917 - 1950

Roles Represented in DAHR: composer, lyricist, arranger, pipe organ, piano, conductor

Notes: Pseudonym for Albert Ketèlbey,

Recordings (Results 1-25 of 31 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor C-25387 12-in. 7/8/1921 In a monastery garden Victor Concert Orchestra Orchestra, with male vocal quartet composer  
Victor CVE-35381 12-in. 5/7/1926 In a Persian market International Concert Orchestra Orchestra composer  
Victor CVE-35735 12-in. 7/1/1926 In a Chinese temple garden International Concert Orchestra Orchestra composer  
Victor CVE-35842 12-in. 8/20/1926 In a monastery garden Victor Concert Orchestra Orchestra, with male vocal chorus composer  
Victor BVE-35843 10-in. 8/20/1926 In a monastery garden Victor Concert Orchestra Orchestra, with male vocal chorus composer  
Victor MVE-47691 16-in. 10/20/1928 In a Persian garden Motion Picture Orchestra Motion picture soundtrack : Orchestra, with female vocal solo and male vocal chorus composer  
Victor BS-102857 10-in. 7/1/1936 In a Persian market Boston Pops Orchestra ; Arthur Fiedler Orchestra composer  
Victor BS-102858 10-in. 7/1/1936 In a Persian market Boston Pops Orchestra ; Arthur Fiedler Orchestra composer  
Victor CS-011479 12-in. 8/13/1937 In a monastery garden Lew White Organ solo, with harp and vocal ensemble composer  
Victor BS-037603 10-in. 6/7/1939 In a Persian market Larry Clinton Orchestra Jazz/dance band composer  
Victor BS-057048 10-in. 10/29/1940 In a Chinese temple garden Collins H. Driggs Novachord solo composer  
Victor BS-066866 10-in. 7/18/1941 In a Persian market Collins H. Driggs Novachord solo composer  
Victor E0RB-4844 10-in. 6/20/1950 In a Persian market Boston Pops Orchestra ; Arthur Fiedler Orchestra composer  
Victor E0RB-4845 10-in. 6/20/1950 In a Persian market Boston Pops Orchestra ; Arthur Fiedler Orchestra composer  
Victor PBS-Test-1364 10-in. 10/10/1934 In a monastery garden The Singing Guardsmen Male vocal quartet composer, lyricist  
Columbia 49063 12-in. 1/4/1917 In a monastery garden Columbia Symphony Orchestra ; Sibyl Sanderson Fagan Orchestra, with male vocal chorus and bird imitations lyricist, composer  
Columbia 49997 12-in. 11/14/1921 In a Persian market Prince's Orchestra Orchestra, with male vocal quartet composer, lyricist  
Columbia W152583 10-in. 12/7/1933 In a monastery garden Emil Velazco and his Organ Melodists Organ band composer  
OKeh S-7811 10-in. Mar. 1921 In a monastery garden Hager's Concert Orchestra Orchestra, with male vocal quartet and whistling (bird voices) composer, lyricist  
Brunswick 9527 10-in. approximately Dec. 1922 In a monastery garden Capitol Grand Orchestra Orchestra composer  
Brunswick XE27356 12-in. 4/16/1928 In a Persian market Brunswick Concert Orchestra Orchestra, with male vocal trio composer, lyricist  
Brunswick XE27371 12-in. 4/18/1928 In a monastery garden Brunswick Concert Orchestra Orchestra, with male vocal quartet composer, lyricist  
Edison 7868 10-in. 3/24/1921 In a monastery garden Peerless Orchestra Instrumental ensemble composer, lyricist  
Edison 10563 10-in. 9/9/1925 In a Persian market American Concert Orchestra Orchestra composer  
Edison 10564 10-in. 9/9/1925 In a Chinese temple-garden American Concert Orchestra Orchestra composer  
(Results 1-25 of 31 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Ketèlbey, Albert W.," accessed October 27, 2020, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/103225.

Ketèlbey, Albert W.. (2020). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved October 27, 2020, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/103225.

"Ketèlbey, Albert W.." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2020. Web. 27 October 2020.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/103225

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