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The Noël Coward Music Index

APPENDIX 1e  (Subsidiary Musical Index)

MISATTRIBUTED AND UNATTRIBUTABLE PERFORMED WORKS

FETE GALANTE (On With the Dance 1925)
(A Vicarage Tea Party - sketch and songs)
Lyrics for all the sections of this sequential number are by Coward.  It is also clear from the sheet-music credit that the music for No.4 - 'Church Parade - is by Braham.  However, none of the other numbers 1-3 is known of in the records and archives of Warner/Chappell, and none was held as sheet music anywhere in the Coward Estate archives. 
The lyrics of Nos. 1 and 3 in particular smack of typical Coward comedy, and one might possibly expect them also to have had his music.  But it should also be borne in mind that this was the show for which Coward ended up, "to everyone's surprise but his own", composing the majority of the musical numbers on account of the sketches leading naturally to a musical conclusion for which he just happened to have the perfect song, and it is said that Braham ended up writing "only three numbers". Two of them are COULDN'T WE KEEP ON DANCING and COME A LITTLE CLOSER.  No.4 of this sequence could be the "third number".  Equally, there are grounds for considering the whole of the sequence Nos. 1-4 as the third 'music by Braham' number.
The Estate's archives also preserve another lyric - two choruses titled 'SPINSTER QUARTETTE', which may have been an earlier version of 'Spinsters' Song'.  The end of the VICARAGE DANCE lyric was changed at the insistence of the Lord Chamberlain.

Contents:
1. Opening Chorus (Raspberry Time in Runcorn) (Spinsters' Song) (Choir Boys' Song) leading into
2. The Vicarage Dance (sung by "Nellie")
3.  Even Clergymen are Naughty Now and Then (Duet - Curate and Vicar)
4.  Finale - Church Parade  (Music by PHILIP BRAHAM - see entry in Appendix 1a. above)

GEORGIE (On With the Dance 1925)
A contemporary music publisher's magazine says in its commentary on the show: "...whilst the orchestra strikes up a pleasantly reminiscent tune.  It is "Georgie" as sung by Vanoni at the Empire Theatre of 1890, and now impersonated by Delysia for the edification of the offsprings of those who heard the original artiste."  So it would seem that  this was an altogether older piece of music.  According to programme records, the number was out of the running for a while, then put back in again.

GOLDFISH (London Calling, 1923)
It is unclear whether this is a sketch or a song, and if a song, who the composer is.  A photograph inThe Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News of March 8th 1924 shows Mr A. W. Baskcomb "singing his droll song" to a goldfish bowl.  However, the playbills/programmes of London Calling!  do not seem to contain any mention of such a song or sketch.

LITTLE BAGGY MAGGY (Finale for London Calling, 1923)
'Little Baggy Maggy' is listed in some programmes at 23rd/24th "Call" - the closing item of the show, but there are also programmes which indicate that early in the run it was the first half closer.  It is inconceivable that this final item would not have had music.  No alternative composer to Coward receives credit for the number on the programme, which leads one to suppose that at least the lyric writing if not also the music, whatever it was, was Coward's work. 
It is a burlesque of Little Nelly Kelly, a musical play by the American George M. Cohan (also the composer of the show Yankee Doodle Dandy and the song 'Give My Regards to Broadway').  Little Nelly Kelly was a Cochran production in early 1923 at the New Oxford Theatre, which played for six months and had Sonnie Hale in one of the leading roles.  George M. Cohan was a popular but hugely egotistical writer/actor/director, whose productions had by the 20's become thoroughly stereotypical. 
It is possible that some 'American musical-style' lyrics found recently among archive material for London Calling!  by Barry Day may be connected to this burlesque, one of which, THE SAGGIE BOO, seems to owe its inspiration to an earlier 'American musical-style' lyric from 1919, EVERYBODY'S JAZZING MAD (qv Appendix 1b above).  There may also be some connection to PARK YOUR FANNY (Appendix 1b above).  Any music Coward wrote for this burlesque must have been a close parody of Cohan's original(s), if not actually copying it.

LOCH LOMOND (1944)
The version performed by NC (and claimed by him on the Las Vegas recording [NCR 38] to be "my own personal version", and included, unaccountably, in NCL, was actually written and composed by Norman Hackforth, at the Nelson Hotel, Cape Town [this from NH himself in about 1980], not long before the genesis of Coward's NINA.  The song was recorded by NC and Hackforth in a test pressing made at the Calcutta studios of HMV during their 1944 tours [NCR 27], when the other then-new NC songs were also laid down.  Also recorded in this session was NH's MUSIC HATH CHARMS.  Both it and LOCH LOMOND were included in NC's post-war revue Sigh No More, where the programme credit to NH for LOCH LOMOND is unambiguous.  (There was to have been a third NH number in the revue, IT COULDN'T MATTER LESS, but it was dropped during rehearsals and replaced by MATELOT.) Sigh No More is the only example of NC using material by other composers in one of his own productions, and is certainly testimony to the close musical respect between the two of them at the time - although NH was not himself much involved with the show beyond early planning and some help with rehearsals.
NH remained blithely unaware of LOCH LOMOND's later use by NC at Las Vegas; after the disappointment of not himself being able to go (as accompanist) he did not find it difficult to avoid hearing the Las Vegas recording, which he did not own.  Had he done so, he would doubtless have formally registered the work as his own with the Performing Right Society rather earlier than in fact he did, in 1978.  When he did hear the recording, he was inclined to describe NC's recorded introduction of the song as artistic licence.
DISCOGRAPHY:     
NCR 27: Pno.acc. Norman Hackforth (Calcutta, 1944)
NCR 38: Carlton Hayes Orch./acc. Peter Matz (Jun 1955)
OCR16: NC+orch.cond.Camerata/acc.Peter Matz (Oct 1955)
ONR 05a: Dominic Vlasto acc. Steve Ross (2004)

THIS SEEMS TO BE THE MOMENT
Words by Cole Lesley, Music by Graham Payn
A well-ordered typewritten lyric sheet in the Jamaican archives (illustrated on p.108 of CS&AB) has led to assumptions that the song was Coward's; but GP p.214 reveals the truth.

VIOLET SELLER'S SONG (On With the Dance 1925)
This number appears in the opening of the scene 'Cafe de la Paix', of which the main song was COSMOPOLITAN LADY.  The whole tone of the sketch is pastiche, and NC originally called the song a "parody".
The lyric (in French) was first printed with the sketch in NCSL, from which it seems doubtful whether this was much more than a street-song.  NC could even have lifted a French equivalent of "Who Will Buy", and the piece may therefore be traditional.  

WHAT AM I TO DO?
Words and music by COLE PORTER
This song was written to be played and sung by a “Noël Coward”-type character called Beverley Carlton, in Hart & Kaufman’s 1939 show, The Man Who Came To Dinner.  He “demonstrates” his new song to the show’s hero.  On the published sheet-music, the composer’s name was even given as Noël Porter.  It is a very clever and almost wicked parody of the more shifting, moody type of Noël Coward ballad, and Porter manages with his parody to emphasise exactly those sort of points which make NC’s music distinctive, such as shifting key-sense, chromatically descending passages, the dominant 5#7 chord, and so forth.  It gets very close to the sort of thing NC does for real in ‘Most Of Ev’ry Day’.
DISCOGRAPHY:      ONR 05a: Steve Ross (2004)

 

 

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