Obituary

Obituary for Mr. Ernest Reeves from Musical Opinion, June 1940

Ernest Reeves obituary in the magazines Musical Opinion and The Strad, written in June 1940 following his death, note his involvement with the Performing Rights Society of which he was a founder member.

We should like to add our deep regret to those of many in the trade at the death of Mr. Ernest Reeves, which occurred suddenly on May 22nd at Falmouth whilst on holiday. He was sixty-seven, and had for many years been musical editor and adviser to Messrs. Walsh Holmes & Co., Ltd., becoming during more recent years a director of the company.

Mr. Reeves was a Londoner born but a sojourn in Norfolk as a lad led to his entry into the music business of Mr. Wainwright at Fakenham; where he learned all the arts of the music assistant — selling music, tuning and selling pianos — intermingled with appearances as first violin in a quadrille band, with engagements for hunt balls and routs of the “quality.” From Fakenham he migrated to a firm of more importance at Reading. During these years of probation, he was practising the gentle art of musical composition; and in the age — full forty years ago—when magazines offered prizes for songs and pianoforte pieces young Reeves would pick out a work from his sheaf of completed pieces, and submit it: and what is more, was on one occasion successful in securing a really big cash prize. The fact was that he had the gift of melody and could write it down with ease and facility. These successes led to his sending manuscripts to publishers, including John Blockley and W. H. Broome. They were issued under so many noms de guerre that in after years he had to look at the music to be sure whether it was his own work or not. One of Mr. Reeves’s pianoforte solos, entitled Hobo-Moko,” sold in thousands during the last war; it was published by Hawkes & Son.

We like to think that Mr. Reeves’s own character was reflected in his music, very simple and direct; but always bearing signs of that shrewdness which avoids difficulties and unnecessary obstacles. This quality of seeing ahead is borne out by the fact that he was one of the original members of the Performing Right Society, and was present at the preliminary meeting that led to its foundation.