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 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 26-50 of 310 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Columbia 6172 12-in. approximately 1911 1912 pantomime pot-pourri, part 1 Regt. Band of H. M. Scots Guards ; Frederick. W. Wood Band arranger  
Columbia 6173 12-in. approximately 1911 1912 pantomime pot-pourri, part 2 Regt. Band of H. M. Scots Guards ; Frederick. W. Wood Band arranger  
Columbia 6255 12-in. approximately 1912 When all was young Carrie Herwin Female vocal solo, with orchestra conductor  
Columbia 6256 12-in. approximately 1912 Softly awakes my heart Carrie Herwin Female vocal solo, with orchestra conductor  
Columbia 6294 12-in. approximately 1912 I call you from the shadows Morgan Kingston Male vocal solo, with orchestra composer  
Columbia 6332 12-in. approximately 1913 Fragments of Wagnerian opera Jean Schwiller Cello solo, with piano arranger  
Columbia 6333 12-in. approximately 1913 Fragments of Italian opera Jean Schwiller Cello solo, with piano arranger  
Columbia 6388 12-in. approximately 1913 O flower of all the world Thorpe Bates Male vocal solo, with orchestra conductor  
Columbia 6389 12-in. approximately 1914 Sincerity Thorpe Bates Male vocal solo, with orchestra conductor  
Columbia 6401 12-in. approximately 1914 My heart still clings to you Thorpe Bates Male vocal solo, with orchestra composer  
Columbia 6525 12-in. approximately 1915 In a monastery garden Court Symphony Orchestra [U.K.] Chorus, with orchestra composer, conductor  
Columbia 6651 12-in. approximately 1915 Goodbye Elsa Stralia Soprano vocal solo, with orchestra conductor  
Columbia 6655 12-in. approximately 1915 Ombra mai fu Clara Butt Female vocal solo, with orchestra conductor  
Columbia 6724 12-in. approximately 1916 Fairy butterfly Albert W. Ketelbey ; Florence Smithson Female vocal solo, with orchestra conductor, composer  
Columbia 6725 12-in. approximately 1916 King Cupid Albert W. Ketelbey ; Florence Smithson Female vocal solo, with orchestra conductor, composer  
Columbia 6775 12-in. approximately 1916 Rend' il sereno Clara Butt Contralto vocal solo, with orchestra conductor  
Columbia 6868 12-in. approximately July 1916 Some : Selections, part 1 Albert W. Ketelbey ; Vaudeville Theatre Orchestra Orchestra conductor  
Columbia 6869 12-in. approximately July 1916 Some : Selections, part 2 Albert W. Ketelbey ; Vaudeville Theatre Orchestra Orchestra conductor  
Columbia 6870 12-in. approximately July 1916 Oh, those naughty eyes! Albert W. Ketelbey ; Clay Smith ; Lee White Vocal duet, with orchestra conductor  
Columbia 6871 12-in. approximately July 1916 And they called it Dixieland Albert W. Ketelbey ; Clay Smith ; Lee White Vocal duet, with orchestra conductor  
Columbia 6872 12-in. approximately July 1916 Every little while Albert W. Ketelbey ; Vaudeville Theatre Orchestra ; Lee White Female vocal solo, with orchestra conductor  
Columbia 6873 12-in. approximately July 1916 Jingle Johnnie Albert W. Ketelbey ; Clay Smith ; Vaudeville Theatre Orchestra Female vocal solo, with orchestra and chorus conductor  
Columbia 6874 12-in. approximately July 1916 Have you seen the ducks? Albert W. Ketelbey ; Vaudeville Theatre Orchestra ; Lee White Female vocal solo, with orchestra and chorus conductor  
Columbia 6875 12-in. approximately July 1916 When Maud put her new bathing costume on Albert W. Ketelbey ; Lee White Female vocal solo, with orchestra conductor  
Columbia 6883 12-in. approximately 1916 Sing joyous bird Albert W. Ketelbey ; Elsa Stralia Female vocal solo, with orchestra conductor  
(Results 26-50 of 310 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Ketèlbey, Albert W.," accessed May 27, 2023, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/103225.

Ketèlbey, Albert W.. (2023). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved May 27, 2023, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/103225.

"Ketèlbey, Albert W.." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2023. Web. 27 May 2023.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

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

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