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. On the last night of the 2009 Proms season the orchestra performed his In a Monastery Garden, marking 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 9, 1875 (Birmingham), Died November 26, 1959 (Cowes)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1907 - 1950

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

Notes: Pseudonym for Albert Ketèlbey,

= Recordings are available for online listening.
= Recordings were issued from this master. No recordings issued from other masters.

Recordings (Results 301-311 of 311 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Edison 10564 10-in. 9/9/1925 In a Chinese temple-garden American Concert Orchestra Orchestra composer  
Edison 18614 10-in. 7/13/1928 In a monastery garden Edison Concert Orchestra [Giammatteo's Orchestra] Orchestra, with male vocal chorus lyricist, composer  
Edison N-326 12-in. 7/13/1928 In a monastery garden Edison Concert Orchestra [Giammatteo's Orchestra] Orchestra, with male vocal chorus composer, lyricist  
Gramophone CR651 12-in. 8/29/1926 In a Persian market Reginald Foort Organ solo composer  
Gramophone CR652 12-in. 8/29/1926 In a monastery garden Reginald Foort Organ solo composer  
Gramophone 0EA1018 10-in. 2/28/1935 In a monastery garden Lennington H. Shewell Theremin, with piano and organ composer  
Gramophone 0EA2944 10-in. 5/26/1936 Japanese carnival Richard Crean ; London Palladium Orchestra Orchestra composer  
Gramophone 2B2005 12-in. 10/2/1931 Wedgwood blue Richard Crean ; London Palladium Orchestra Orchestra composer  
Gramophone 2B2006 12-in. 10/2/1931 In the moonlight Richard Crean ; London Palladium Orchestra Orchestra composer  
Columbia (U.K.) WAX3320 12-in. between January and March 1928 By the blue Hawaiian waters Band of the Grenadier Guards [U.K] Band composer  
Columbia (U.K.) WAX3321 12-in. between January and March 1928 Jungle drums Band of the Grenadier Guards [U.K] Band composer  
(Results 301-311 of 311 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Ketèlbey, Albert W.," accessed April 21, 2024, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/103225.

Ketèlbey, Albert W.. (2024). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved April 21, 2024, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/103225.

"Ketèlbey, Albert W.." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2024. Web. 21 April 2024.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

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

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