From the Publisher
Reginald Claude McMahon King, born at Hampstead on 5 October 1904, was another, like so many of the British light music composers of the inter-war period, who was "made" by the emergence of "the wireless" - which for him came indeed just at the right time, when he was in his late teens. His first broadcast - of over 1,400 - was not however until 9 March 1929 (the last was in 1964). Two years before the former date King had formed an orchestra to play regularly at Swan & Edgar's Restaurant in the West End which it did until 1939. After 1945 a new Reginald King orchestra played, first at the Spa Whitby, then at Bridlington's Floral Hall. His gramophone records for HMV, Regal Zonophone, Filmophone, Columbia and Sterno were legion. He was a fine pianist, appearing with Sir Henry Wood at the Proms. soon after his time at the Royal Academy where he studied with Harry Farjeon, and many of his pieces were published for that instrument: genre pieces like Beside the Lake, Evening Music, Passing Clouds, A Prayer at Eventide (1938), Polka Piquante (1949), Song of Paradise, Serenade for My Lady, Where Water-Lilies Dream (1948), the intermezzo Windflowers (1938), Pilgrim's Way, Rainbow Caprice, Al Fresco, Amourette and the "romantic serenade" Julia (1943), or more "absolute" movements like the early Sonata, the Four Preludes, Op. 5, (1923), the Five Preludes, Op. 7 and the Fantasy for two pianos. Several of the former were known in orchestral versions. His orchestral music, while not rivalling that of Eric Coates in individuality, had a pleasing tunefulness. The titles of some of his orchestral suites could almost be Coates': Country Life, Dreams in Exile, In the Chilterns (1938: the individual movements were Penn Woods in Spring, June Night on Marlow Reach and Hunting Days), Rural Characters (in four movements, depicting milkmaids, a shepherd, a harvester and a tinker) and Youthful Days. His overture The Immortals and the march Lime Grove - the very title has BBC connotations - were popular in their day; the caprice Winter Skies included a violin solo. Other single movement genre pieces included the intermezzi Daybreak, Take Me To Your Heart and Melody at Dusk, the latter composed in 1938, and Ketèlbey-like descriptive morsels with evocative titles: Dream Garden, Fair Star of Evening, Green Valleys, In the Shade of the Palms, Rising Tide, Sunset in Segovia (this includes a part for a guitar!), Tropical Moonlight, Lilacs in the Rain (1942), Spring Meadows, Summer Breezes (1936), Sunny Serenade, The Lingering Melody, Dresden Dream, Gavotte Grotesque, Whispering Violin, Carmina, If You But Knew, A Garden in Spain, and the "waltz serenade" Pierrette on the Balcony. Meditation and A Song of Paradise were arranged and published for violin (or cello) and piano, the latter, plus A Prayer at Eventide and Love Take Me To Your Heart, also as songs. His music is no longer fashionable but it was good to see him still composing right up to the time of his death in 1991 and that a few of his late pieces were published: Bardic Edition brought out an Elegy in 1989 and a Meditation (composed in 1990), for clarinet and piano, or piano solo, a little later. His last work was the quite extended Reverie for piano solo also published by Bardic Edition.
Difficulty level, roughly compared to ABRSM exam grades. 0 is beginner, 9 is advanced (beyond grade 8).