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 51-75 of 311 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Columbia 6883 12-in. approximately 1916 Sing joyous bird Albert W. Ketelbey ; Elsa Stralia Female vocal solo, with orchestra conductor  
Columbia 6953 12-in. approximately 1916 Liebestod Rosina Buckman ; Albert W. Ketelbey Soprano vocal solo, with orchestra conductor  
Columbia 6981 12-in. approximately 1916 May laurels crown Rosina Buckman ; Albert W. Ketelbey Soprano vocal solo, with orchestra conductor  
Columbia 26667 10-in. approximately 1909 Funeral march Albert W. Ketèlbey instrumentalist, organ  
Columbia 26668 10-in. approximately 1909 Saul : Dead march Albert W. Ketèlbey instrumentalist, organ  
Columbia 26696 10-in. approximately 1909 Tannhäuser : Pilgrim’s chorus Albert W. Ketèlbey instrumentalist, organ  
Columbia 26697 10-in. approximately 1909 Tannhäuser : Grand march Albert W. Ketèlbey instrumentalist, organ  
Columbia 26742 10-in. approximately 1909 Scipio : March Albert W. Ketèlbey instrumentalist, organ  
Columbia 26743 10-in. approximately 1909 Messiah : Hallelujah chorus Albert W. Ketèlbey instrumentalist, organ  
Columbia 27978 10-in. approximately 1912 The phantom melody Jean Schwiller instrumentalist, piano  
Columbia 28121 10-in. approximately 1912 Good King Wenceslas Albert W. Ketèlbey ; Corporal Morgan instrumentalist, organ  
Columbia 28910 10-in. approximately 1914 Tangled tunes Casino Orchestra Orchestra arranger, conductor  
Columbia 28946 10-in. approximately 1914 Tangled tunes, part 2 Casino Orchestra arranger, conductor  
Columbia 28965 10-in. approximately 1914 Tangled tunes Casino Orchestra Orchestra arranger, conductor  
Columbia 28966 10-in. approximately 1914 Tangled tunes, part 4 Casino Orchestra conductor  
Columbia 29754 10-in. approximately 1915 Zampa : Overture Albert W. Ketelbey ; Silver Stars Band [National Military Band] conductor  
Columbia 29755 10-in. approximately 1915 Poet and Peasant : Overture Albert W. Ketelbey ; Silver Stars Band [National Military Band] conductor  
Columbia 29756 10-in. approximately 1915 El capitan : March Albert W. Ketelbey ; Silver Stars Band [National Military Band] conductor  
Columbia 29758 10-in. approximately 1915 Liberty bell : March Albert W. Ketelbey ; Silver Stars Band [National Military Band] conductor  
Columbia 29759 10-in. approximately 1915 The Bohemian girl : Overture Albert W. Ketelbey ; Silver Stars Band [National Military Band] conductor  
Columbia 29898 10-in. approximately 1915 Jolly coppersmith Albert W. Ketelbey ; Silver Stars Band [National Military Band] conductor  
Columbia 29899 10-in. approximately 1915 Washington Post march Albert W. Ketelbey ; Silver Stars Band [National Military Band] conductor  
Columbia 29976 10-in. approximately 1915 Shell out : Selection, part 1 : I want loving ; Flag day ; Twelve little girls per year Albert W. Ketelbey ; Silver Stars Band [National Military Band] conductor  
Columbia 29977 10-in. approximately 1915 Shell Out : Selection, part 2. Little Miss Lancashire ; Girls, girls, girls ; British artillery ; Pom-tiddley-om-pom Albert W. Ketelbey ; Silver Stars Band [National Military Band] conductor  
Columbia 29978 10-in. approximately 1915 Till the boys come home : March Albert W. Ketelbey ; Silver Stars Band [National Military Band] conductor  
(Results 51-75 of 311 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Ketèlbey, Albert W.," accessed April 23, 2024, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/103225.

Ketèlbey, Albert W.. (2024). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved April 23, 2024, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/103225.

"Ketèlbey, Albert W.." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2024. Web. 23 April 2024.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

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

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