Wilhelm Grosz's operetta for children, words by Rose Fyleman, orchestrated by Roy Douglas.
Red-Riding-Hood is a small, witty children's operetta written by Wilhelm Grosz (under the pen name Will Grant), in partnership with the English children's author, Rose Fyleman. Having fled to London from his native Vienna in 1934, Grosz found it impossible to obtain work under his real name, because of the ban on foreign composers and performers instituted by the British Musicians Union. Recognising the talent that the Austrian composer had for writing popular tunes, the recording company Peter Maurice (later EMI) agreed for him to adopt the pseudonym Will Grant (and two other pseudonyms: André Milos and Hugh Williams). He worked closely with the lyricist Jimmy Kennedy on over two dozen successful hits of the 1930s, including Isle of Capri, Harbor Lights, Red Sails in the Sunset and others.
Grosz completed piano sketches for Red-Riding-Hood in 1938, and submitted them to a new publisher, Oxford Music (having been forced out of contractual arrangements with Universal Editions after the Aryanisation of the firm in 1938). In 1939 he and his wife Elisabeth (Else) accepted an invitation from Warner Brothers studios to go to Hollywood. The couple arrived in New York in April, and the composer began work on the score for the movie Santa Fe Trail (starring Errol Flynn, Olivia De Havillland, Raymond Massey and Ronald Reagan). After the outbreak of war in September, the couple were stranded in the United States, separated from their nine-year old daughter Eva (who had remained in the UK with her grandmother). This situation placed a terrible strain on the composer's already precarious health, and he died on December 10, 1939.
Ten years after his death, with considerable lobbying from his widow, daughter and the lyricist, the work was orchestrated by Roy Douglas (one of Oxford Music's in-house composers) and published. The first performance was a broadcast organised by the BBC on January 29, 1950, performed by the Hogarth Puppets. Red-Riding-Hood received 123 performances (mostly by schools) up to 1980, and then fell into neglect. The work has been revived by Performing the Jewish Archive project in two festivals: Sydney and Cape Town.