Percy Eastman Fletcher was born on 12 December 1879 in Derby. His father was a professor of music and his mother was competent on the violin, piano and church organ. Fletcher earnt much from his parents and continued with a private musical education before moving to London. There he worked at a variety of theatres including the Savoy, Drury Lane and The Prince of Wales. For seventeen years he was musical director at His Majesty’s Theatre in the Haymarket. Works composed at this time included completing the score of Frederic Norton’s Chu Chin Chow, writing a sequel called Cairo and then The Good Old Days which ran at the Gaiety Theatre during 1926.
Other works included a variety choral music including interesting sounding pieces such as The Walrus and the Carpenter, The Enchanted Island and The Shafts of Cupid. The library catalogue shows many songs and ballads. The Epic Symphony and Labour and Love were once popular works for brass band.
Percy Fletcher wrote more ‘light’ orchestral suites than the better-known Eric Coates and there is much to explore amongst such titles as Six Cameos for a Costume Comedy, Rustic Revels, Sylvan Scenes, Woodland Pictures, Three Frivolities and At Gretna Green. Some were also issued in piano arrangements.
Percy Fletcher, although working on London, lived in Farnborough in Hampshire for many years. He died from of a cerebral haemorrhage in Holloway Sanatorium, Virginia Water on 10 September 1932.
The following works are available on the Guild’s Golden Age of Light Music series. I have not included links to each CD, however further information can be found on the record company’s webpages:-
At The Court Of Cleopatra - Queen's Hall Light Orchestra / Charles Williams (GLCD 5107)
Dancing on the Green - Queen's Hall Light Orchestra / Charles Williams (GLCD 5107)
Folie Bergere - Richard Crean & His Orchestra (GLCD 5128)
My Love to You - Reginald King & His Orchestra (GLCD 5120)
Pearl O' Mine - Lyrical Melody - Plaza Theatre Orchestra / Frank Tours (GLCD 5134)
Three Light Pieces Suite: Fifinette - Intermezzo Gavotte - Prince of Wales Playhouse Orchestra / Frank Westfield (GLCD 5108)
Two Parisian Sketches: Bal Masque - Valse Caprice - Plaza Theatre Orchestra / Frank Tours (GLCD 5108)
Two Parisian Sketches: Bal Masque - Valse Caprice - Richard Crean & His Orchestra (GLCD 5137)
Vanity Fair (Overture) -The New Concert Orchestra / Jay Wilbur (GLCD 5169)