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Chapter Sixteen: The Post-War Years: 1945–1960

In the late 1940s and in the 1950s, light music was dominated by the big bands and the light orchestras such as those of George Melachrino and Mantovani. These latter groups were often of near-symphonic proportions. Those who directed them or wrote for them were coming from a wider spectrum of musical background than their predecessors had done. From the 1930s onwards, the BBC had become by far the most powerful force for music in the country. By 1950, the post-war Labour Government, with its associated austerity, was in terminal decline. Aware of its electoral unpopularity, in 1951 it seized on the fortunate chance of the centenary of the 1851 Great Exhibition to promote a Festival of Britain. By 1950, the post-war Labour Government, with its associated austerity, was in terminal decline. Aware of its electoral unpopularity, in 1951 it seized on the fortunate chance of the centenary of the 1851 Great Exhibition to promote a Festival of Britain.