Archibald Joyce

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Archibald Joyce (25 May 1873 – 22 March 1963) was an English light music composer known for his early waltzes.

He first came to prominence with the publication of his Songe d'Automne Waltz (1908) which fast became a hit. The piece is in a minor key. The melody is in a relatively low tenor register.

The following year he repeated this success with his Visions of Salome Waltz (1909) also in the same low-pitched minor-key style. He was billed by his publishers Ascherberg Hopwood and Crew as the "English Waltz King".

His music was immensely popular with dance orchestras of the period together with amateur pianists. The piano solo sheet music for his waltzes sold in very large quantities in the UK. He continued primarily with his distinctive waltzes until the start of the WW1 period. His other principal hits during this period were Dreaming waltz (1911), Charming and The Passing of Salome waltzes (1912), 1000 Kisses and Always Gay waltzes (1913) and Remembrance waltz (1914).

He co-wrote the musical Toto with Merlin Morgan (musical director of Daly's Theatre in London). After a try-out in Plymouth it opened at London's Duke of York's Theatre on 19 April 1916. Despite good initial reviews it did not take off and was withdrawn after only 77 performances.

He continued conducting his own orchestra for a number of years until the early 1920s. During the early 1920s, his orchestras recorded material for the Aeolian Company's Vocalion Records label in London. He had recorded for the Gramophone Company HMV-label in London as early as 1912 previously.

His music was familiar worldwide during its period. He was credited as conducting "the first modern dance band in Britain"[1] His waltz "Dreaming" was provided with lyrics by Earl Carroll and introduced in the US by Miss Kitty Gordon in Oliver Morosco's comedy with music, Pretty Mrs Smith (1913). ("The Sensation Waltz Song of Two Continents: Dreaming" (sheet music)). "Songe d'Automne" ("Autumn Dream") and "1000 Kisses" were incorporated into Charlie Chaplin's latter-daysound track added to his The Gold Rush.[2] In the US a conventional method of gaining public exposure for a song was to arrange to have it included a revue: in this way Joyce's "Vision of Salome" (1909) was included in Florenz Ziegfeld Jr's Follies of 1910.[3]

Harold Bride's recollection that the orchestra was playing "Autumn" as the Titanic foundered in 1912 has led to speculation by Walter Lord that he was in fact referring to Songe d'Automne, which was part of the repertory of the White Star Line orchestras and with which he would undoubtedly been familiar.[4]

After the early 1920s, there was a small trickle of material for many years. His last composition of any note is his Bohemia - concert waltz for piano (1942) which finishes off his career with a hefty hat-tip to both the waltz and to the piano which effectively made him.


  1. ^ D.B. Scott, "Other mainstreams: light music and easy listening, 1920-70" in The Cambridge history of twentieth-century music, 2004
  2. ^ (Naxos) Philip Lane, "Archibald Joyce" 2006
  3. ^ "Vision of Salome"
  4. ^ Encyclopedia Titanica: "Songe d'Automne"