Swann, Donald Ibrahim
b Llanelli, Carmarthens, S Wales 1923; d Clapham, S London, 1994. Westminster Sch and Christ Ch Oxford (BA, Russian and Modern Gk). In the second world war he served as a noncombatant with the Friends Ambulance Unit in Greece. He first wrote for London revues 1953–54; while largely self-taught, he became a prolific composer and went on to write music for works by JRR Tolkien, Henry Reed, Jn Betjeman and Cecil Day Lewis, and an opera Perelandra (1964) based on C S Lewis’s popular novel. A gifted stage entertainer, notably with his wheelchair-bound friend, singer Michael Flanders, who shared in the 1956–57 revue At the Drop of a Hat, its 1963 successor At the Drop of Another Hat, and many successful recordings and published song-books. The ‘hat’ shows toured in Scotland, USA and Australia. Song cycles, comedy and many works for children were part of his wide repertoire. A peace-loving member of the Society of Friends (Quakers) he wrote a part-meditation, part-autobiography, The Space between the Bars, and retired to London, listing his recreations as travelling in Greece and going to the launderette. No.150.