Jablonski, Marek (Michael)

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Jones, (James) Sidney

(b London, 17 June 1861; d London, 29 Jan 1946). English composer. His father, J. Sidney Jones (1838–1914), studied at Kneller Hall and was a military bandmaster before settling in Leeds and becoming musical director at the Grand Theatre and, from 1887 to 1902, conductor of the Harrogate Municipal Orchestra. The younger Sidney assisted his father in Leeds, played the clarinet in his orchestras and later took to conducting. He was spotted by the theatre producer George Edwardes, and first made his name as a composer with the song ‘Linger longer, Loo’ for the burlesque Don Juan (1893). As conductor at the Prince of Wales Theatre he wrote the music for A Gaiety Girl (1893), an early musical comedy; it was followed by other stage works, of which The Geisha (1896) achieved enormous success not only in Britain but throughout Europe, where its popularity exceeded that of any other British operetta, including The Mikado.

Later works could not rival this success, although San Toy (1899) almost did so in London. Belonging to the older comic-opera school, Jones resented the extraneous interpolations that were increasingly a feature of London musical productions of the time and struck out on his own. The musical comedy The Medal and the Maid (1903) and the comic opera My Lady Molly (1902) were agreeably free from such interpolations but achieved less success. The latter especially showed Jones’s substantial abilities in the light-opera tradition of Sullivan, German and Liza Lehmann, and Jones was sufficiently fond of the work to revise it later. In 1905 he became conductor at the Empire Theatre, London, and composed some ballets. He also composed music for further musical plays, but after The Happy Day (1916) he went into retirement, feeling out of tune with changing tastes in the popular theatre. His unassuming nature was reflected in his works, particularly The Geisha, which is full of charming numbers, its opening chorus in particular being worthy of Sullivan. His works as a whole contain admirably crafted ensembles and concerted finales, offsetting the music-hall-style numbers that the taste of the time demanded. Jones’s brother Guy (1874–1959) wrote music for the musical play The Gay Gordons (1907) as well as songs and arrangements.


(selective list)


all published in vocal score in London around time of original production

A Gaiety Girl (musical comedy, 2, O. Hall and H. Greenbank), London, Prince of Wales, 14 Oct 1893; An Artist’s Model (comedy with music, 2, Hall and Greenbank), London, Daly’s, 2 Feb 1895; The Geisha (musical play, 2, Hall and Greenbank), London, Daly’s, 25 April 1896; A Greek Slave (musical comedy, 2, Hall, Greenbank and A. Ross), London, Daly’s, 8 June 1898; San Toy (musical comedy, 2, E. Morton, Greenbank and Ross), London, Daly’s, 21 Oct 1899; My Lady Molly (comedy op, 2, G.H. Jessop, P. Greenbank and C.H. Taylor), Brighton, Royal, 11 Aug 1902; London, Terry’s, 14 March 1903; The Medal and the Maid (musical comedy, 2, Hall, Taylor, G. Rollitt and P. Rubens), London, Lyric, 25 April 1903

See, See (comic op, 2, C.H. Brookfield and Ross, after F. de Grésac and P. Ferrier: La troisième lune), London, Prince of Wales, 20 June 1906, collab. F.E. Tours; King of Cadonia (musical play, 2, F. Lonsdale and Ross), London, Prince of Wales, 3 Sept 1908, collab. F. Rosse; A Persian Princess (musical play, 2, L. Bantock, P.J. Barrow and P. Greenbank), London, Queen’s, 27 April 1909, collab. M. Horne; The Girl from Utah (musical play, 2, J.T. Tanner, Ross, P. Greenbank and Rubens), London, Adelphi, 18 Oct 1913, collab. Rubens; The Happy Day (musical play, 2, S. Hicks, Ross and Rubens), London, Daly’s, 13 May 1916, collab. Rubens

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