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The Noël Coward Music Index

F - Titles

F

FAIRIES
See BALLET- THE LEGEND OF THE LILY

FAIRY WHISPERS

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(1932)
Words and Music, 1932
VS (Music No.12)
The scene in which this piece features is little more than a lampoon on mawkish kiddie sentimentality of the bunnies-and-baby-talk variety. A real-time suburban family listens to a new record called 'Fairy Whispers' and the scene then cuts to the recording studio where a party of disagreeable artistes (attempting to be the dear little baby-talking kiddies in question) are making the recording to the accompaniment of a piano quartet. The stage directions include a description of a sequence of "gay dance music interspersed with childish laughter".
Which is a pretty good description of a tripping little piece in 4/4 tempo which has elements of a light Billy Mayerl piano solo about it. There is no clear indication either in script or score as to how exactly the printed music combines with the script, and a curious anomaly in the score of an abrupt keychange from one/two flats into two sharps three bars before the "end", and the end left dangling on a dominant chord, with no completion indicated either by a double-bar or from written directions.

FAIRYLAND
See Appendix 1.a

FAITH

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1919, for the play
I'll Leave it to You (Gaity Theatre, Manchester, 3rd May 1920 for two weeks) New Theatre, 21 July 1920. (sung by NC)
Publ. in original playscript
Publ. in playscript of Marvellous Party (1989) (Jon Wynne-Tyson/John Calder Ltd.) [Samuel French]
Original MS (whose?) [Birmingham University Special Collections]
Music by Noël Coward/Words by Esme Wynne
The song is sung by the male character Bobbie in Act 1. Faith - Faith Crombie - is the name of the female character who was originally played by Esmé Wynne
The song is a very simple refrain only with two verses of lyrics, portending to be a love-offering from Bobbie to Faith [see BD]. Faith ignores the proffered song in favour of some other song which is altogether more topical and hackneyed.
This is the first example of Coward writing his own music into one of his own plays. Not really very notable apart from that.

FAMILY ALBUM
(From Tonight at 8.30)
For further details see separate entries for the following titles:
1. PRELUDE (9 bars, repeated) [no separate entry]
2. DRINKING SONG:

 

Here's a Toast
Harriet Married...
Emily Married...
You, Love, For Ever a Part...
Here's a Toast...

3. PRINCES AND PRINCESSES
4/5/6. INTERLUDE/ENTRANCE OF BURROWS/INTERLUDE
7. MUSIC BOX:


- LET THE ANGELS GUIDE YOU
- LOOK WELL BEFORE THE LEAPING

8. HEARTS AND FLOWERS
9. FINALE - (reprise) LET THE ANGELS GUIDE YOU [no separate entry]

FAMILY DIRGE

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DISCOGRAPHY:

(1959/60) (for Later than Spring before it became Sail Away)
unused
Unpubl. MSS (Keys Bb & Db)
The piece changed its key from Bb up a third to Db along the way, before being abandoned in the process of changing LTS into SA.
The original story took the character of Mrs Wentworth-Brewster (from the song 'A Bar On The Piccola Marina') and gave her a central role following her widowhood. This song, from near the start of the story, is a reaction by assorted aged relatives to the last will and testament of the late Mr Wentworth-Brewster, who has left none of them "so much as a photograph frame", before Mrs Wentworth-Brewster lightens the tone a bit with the following number, 'Now I'm a Widow'.
The number has good, witty lyrics, but it is a bit of a nothing song, being neither funny nor soulful, nor with a particularly strong or memorable melody.
NCR 42: Acc. ?Douglas Gamley (1959/60)

FAMILY GRACE

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(1946)
Pacific 1860, 1946 (Tudor Evans)
VS
The first vocal number in Act I, in which the Stirling family gives thanks for various vegetables "fortunately edible,/ And also for the boon/ Of most delicious fish from the lagoon." It has a repetitive melodic motif which is also used in the same score in the intro. to BIRTHDAY TOAST, and which recurs some years later in the verse section of WHERE SHALL I FIND HIM from Sail Away.

FARAWAY LAND

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DISCOGRAPHY:

Late September 1953 [NCD]
After the Ball, 1954 (Graham Payn)
Sep.Publ.
A ballad sung by Mr Hopper to Lady Agatha in Act III, praising the beauties of his native Australia in the two refrain sections, which sandwich a verse section of different characteristics neatly illustrating various English contasts. It is, ultimately, a song which romanticizes British imperialism: "The journey's long and the seas are wide/ But it's sweet to know that there's English pride/ On the other side of the world."
The main theme tune, a lilting barcarolle in 6/8 time, is somewhat echoed in the first phrase of COME THE WILD, WILD WEATHER, which may itself have been composed around this time (q.v.). The harmonization of the 'pause' notes towards the end of the refrain, together with certain 'crunchy' progressions in the verse section, may owe something to Norman Hackforth, who had a big part in the original scoring, and who used this sort of chording in his own music from at least 1944 onwards.
OCR 15: Graham Payn & Patricia Cree (1954)
ONR 00: Greg Mills acc. Mark Hartman (2005)

FETE GALANTE
See Appendix 1.e

FINALE
See BALLET - THE LEGEND OF THE LILY

FINALE (BITTER SWEET)

ORIGIN:
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DISCOGRAPHY:

(1928/29)
Bitter Sweet , 1929 (Act III Finale)
VS
The music is that of I'LL SEE YOU AGAIN. The stage directions for this closing sequence of the show demand that Vincent, the young bandleader loved by Dolly, be transfixed by Lady Shayne's singing of her main love-theme, with the exclamation: "What a melody - my God, what a melody!" (Only Coward could get away with such hubris - because of course it is indeed a great melody.) Vincent then begins to play 'I'll See You Again' softly as a syncopated fox-trot in 4/4 tempo. The orchestra joins in, everyone gets up Charlestoning and finally they all go jazzing out, leaving Lady Shane alone with the now-forgotten Dolly. A few closing bars are played, and an echo of the "goodbye!" sung by Lady Shayne, back in the original waltz tempo, to conclude the show.
Avoid ONR 04, which is a sort of rehash of the show's principal numbers by soloists accompanied by wordless choruses straight out of a Disney film and with an orchestral intro of surpassing awfulness.
(Included on ONR's 01, 02, 03 and 04)

FINALE (CAVALCADE)

NOTES:

The 'Refrain' section of this is the start of another setting of LOVER OF MY DREAMS, which gets interrupted by the announcement of the siege of Mafeking; but it is preceeded by a 'Verse' section sung by Mirabelle, Edgar and the chorus. MUSIC LOST.

FINALE (CONVERSATION PIECE)
1. FINALE Act II
2. FINALE Act III

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DISCOGRAPHY:

(1933)
Conversation Piece, 1934
VS
1. Leads into MELANIE'S ARIA
2. a reprise of I'LL FOLLOW MY SECRET HEART
ONR 06

FINALE (LONDON MORNING)
See LONDON PRIDE

FINALE (ON WITH THE DANCE)

ORIGIN:
USE:
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NOTES:

(1925)
On With the Dance, 1925 (Finale to Act I)
MUSIC LOST
Known performance, and one assumes that this number had music by NC as the programme credits (mostly very thorough) give no contrary indication.
Barry Day believes that it was a sort of combination of Mr Cochran's Young Ladies and the Tiller Girls, and that whatever NC wrote 'would have had to compete with any number of flashing limbs'. The Scene (staged by Marc Henri) was simply titled 'On with the Dance', and lists six dance sections followed by Sybil Wise and the Sterling Saxophone Four, and then 'Finale - The Entire Company'.

FINALE (OPERETTE)
See WHERE ARE THE SONGS WE SUNG

FINALE (PACIFIC 1860)
(Finale, Act III)
See BRIGHT WAS THE DAY'
[for Finale Act II see SHIP SCENE MUSIC]

FINALE (THIS YEAR OF GRACE!)
(Finale of the London Production)
(Has sometimes been known as WE'RE TWO STAGE-HANDS or TOOT-TOOT or WE'RE ALL STAGE-HANDS)

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DISCOGRAPHY:

(1927)
This Year of Grace, 1928 (chorus)
VS
The piece is played as the entire company dismisses itself section by section, each one engaging in a catchy little ritornello. When they are all on stage they chorus jollily about being 'the cause of all the traffic jams in Piccadilly'. [The title TOOT-TOOT comes from some of the chorus words in part of this ensemble.] Finally, there is a reprise of A ROOM WITH A VIEW to new lyrics that are nothing more nor less than shameless propaganda for the show itself.
A strong feature of this music is the syncopated cross-stressing which is also characteristic of many other pieces in the show.
The finale of the USA production was a new item which was called PLAYING THE GAME (qv).
OCR 04: (in medley) Orch. cond. Ernest Irving (1928)

FIRST LOVE

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DISCOGRAPHY:

(1925)
On With the Dance, 1925 (Lance Lister & Sybil Wise)
Sep.Publ. (Asherberg, Hopwood & Crew) 1925
Revue duet with a gentle foxtrot refrain, growing out of a sketch in which an Eton-suited schoolboy declares his passion for his French governess.
An interesting little song which has much the same jerky dotted-note rhythms of I'M MAD ABOUT YOU (q.v.), whose origin itself may date from this time. It also features the syncopated cross-rhythms which became so characteristic of numbers is the score of This Year Of Grace! of 1928.
ONR 08: Included as interlude in POOR LITTLE RICH GIRL

FLOTILLA
See IN WHICH WE SERVE

FOLLOW A STAR

ORIGIN:
USE:
SOURCE:

NOTES:

(1923)
London Calling!, 1923 (Gertrude Lawrence & Company)
MUSIC LOST
[Lyrics in BD]
At the start of the run of London Calling! this item was at '26th Call' - the final item of show, but by early 1924 it had been dropped entirely and LITTLE BAGGY MAGGY (originally the first-half closer) took its place. It is inconceivable that either of these items would not have had music, and a strange coincidence that is has been lost for both.

FOOLISH VIRGINS

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USE:
SOURCE:


NOTES:

(Goldenhurst, Christmas 1930)
Written for Cochran's 1931 Revue but dropped in Manchester before the London opening.
Completely rewritten for Operette,1938
Lyrics for both [BD]
MUSIC LOST for the 1931 form
Publ. VS (Operette)
In its Operette form it is a double sextette.
There are several sections of musical dialogue between the groups of men and girls preceeding the main refrain, which is sung by only the girls, and a dance and final chorus ending complete the sequence.
The girls could be said to be being extremely suggestive while professing their innocence. The lyrics are rather pleasing throughout, but there are one or two moments during the exchanges when, due to too many words being "squeezed into" a musical phrase, one wonders whether the lyrics were written before being set to music. The refrain does not have such insecurities, being a confident allegretto in a standard 32-bar structure whose ending is a slightly extended form of the original pattern of 6-note descending scales, this time making a feature of inherent rhythmic cross-stresses
Judging from the disparity of their lyrics, it is unlikely that there was much if any musical similarity between the original and the Operette versions of this title.

FOOTMEN QUARTETTE

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DISCOGRAPHY:

(1928/29)
Bitter Sweet, 1929 (Act I Finale)
VS
This piece introduces an episode of Cowardesque lyric badinage into a deeply romantic whole, as the Millick household footmen arrive in the throes of Carl and Sarah's elopement to put out the lights, and briefly comment on the foibles of their grand employers. It has been criticised on the grounds that it breaks the romantic mood of the finale. In fact, with its rhythmic cross-stressing it would fit nicely in the score of This Year of Grace! The acting libretto (and BD) records more lyrics than are printed in the vocal score.
ONR 01: New Sadler's Wells Chorus (1988)

FOOTMEN'S SEXTET
See WHEN FOREIGN PRINCES COME TO VISIT US

FOR YOU I'M PINING
See Appendix 1.c

FORBIDDEN FRUIT
(Also known as IT'S THE PEACH and EVERY PEACH)

ORIGIN:
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DISCOGRAPHY:

1916
First as an audition piece by NC 1917-18
Yoiks! (revue), Kingsway Theatre London, June 1924
NCSB
song album for Star!, 1968
The start of the refrain lyric is also echoed in a surviving lyric fragment dating from some time during the 1920's, recently unearthed by Barry Day, entitled IT ISN'T WHAT YOU DO (qv).
In the archives, Elsie April's MS, presumably prepared around the time of Yoiks!, is subtitled 'Every Peach'. It is assumed, from the existence of another later MS (also subtitled 'Every Peach'), that the song was also re-prepared if not actually resurrected during the war years.
NC himself claims the date of origin of this song in NCSB. "'Forbidden Fruit' was the first completely integrated song I ever wrote and for this reason it is included in this book." it is a remarkable achievement for a sixteen-year-old, and it also happens to be a more tightly constructed song than most of the rest that can be dated from 1916 to 1921. In fact, all its phrases are musically terse, and there is not much room for development of musical ideas.
ONR 07: Ensemble (Cowardy Custard, 1972)
ONR 05a: Steve Ross (2004)

FORTUNE TELLING DUET
See I'D LIKE TO SEE YOU TRY

FRAGONARD IMPRESSION, A

ORIGIN:
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NOTES:

(1938)
Set to Music, 1938 (Eva Ortega & cast)
MUSIC LOST
Lyrics in BD
This sketch was the Opening Scene of the revue.
Fragonard typifies a style of painting exemplified by idealised pastoral tableaux in which young ladies in billowing lacy costumes disport themselves with their swains amid verdant arbours and bits of statuary. NC's musical sketch presents a levée, with servants and the Marquise tiptoeing around trying not to wake the Princess on her wedding morn. After a good deal of gooey sentiment set to music, 'they pull the bed curtains aside disclosing Giselle dressed as one of the Valkyrie carrying a spear, sitting on a white horse, and singing at the top of her lungs.'

FREE SPEECH

ORIGIN:
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The date 28.11.62 is noted on an archive MS (Jamaica?)
Intended for The Girl Who Came To Supper 1963
Unpubl. MS
The number was dropped at a fairly early stage, but both the lyric sentiment of the whole number and the almost complete lyric and melody of its 36-bar verse (middle) section were transmuted into IF ONLY MRS APPLEJOHN WERE HERE (qv). It is not entirely surprising that the refrain section was dropped, on account of it being a bit dull. The verse section, however, has its merits. The original "Let's drink a toast to Thomas Jefferson" turns into "Let's drink a toast to Mrs Applejohn".

FRENCH SONG
(PARIS EST TOI)
(Original title was CHANSON)
(Also See MEME LES ANGES (from Fallen Angels) which has been referred to by this title)

ORIGIN:
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(1943?)
Café de Paris cabaret shows, 1951 (unconfirmed)
Unpubl. MS
One of the half-dozen MSS which seems to have been prepared by the same amanuensis around 1943 for some purpose, which may have been the then imminent wartime tours. The lyric was then added to this MS by Norman Hackforth, who then prepared another complete MS, all of which indicates at least its rehearsal for CdeP.
The piece is deliberately witty but quite esoteric, being entirely in French and at its punchline rhyming 'Bock, Fernet Branca' with 'Hook, line et sanka', suggesting that its humour would have been inappropriate for a forces audience. Indeed, it could be considered almost over the heads of the average early-50's London cabaret audience. It lists the appealing characteristics and places of Paris in an allegro interlude, and is clearly a sort of lyrical lament for the occupied city.

FRESH AS A DAISY
See Appendix 1.a

FUMFUMBOLO

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DISCOGRAPHY:

1946 (July onwards)
Pacific 1860, 1946 (Graham Payn + chorus)
VS
The Samolan lyrics for this number were only completed on 8th November at White Cliffs [NCD]
A complex and extended solo-and-chorus number which outlines the fire-and-water volcano-and-island mythology of Samolo, but is really just a dramatic excuse for a rousing chorus number with loads of local colour. Kerry starts with a verse which is a poor relation of what he sings in the verse section of 'Bright WasThe Day' earlier in the show. Then we get a brief and rather unnecessary keychange from Db to E before the music reverts to Db for the main theme, which is a repeated pattern of four strongly syncopated notes. This pattern is then repeated in the accompaniment while a new vocal melody is added above. Vocal lines for both rhythmic pattern and melody combine as the chorus of natives join in, and later there's even a sort of descant line for sopranos and tenors, and some four-part chorus writing.
One of the Samolan words sung by the chorus, 'klabonga', means something to do with copulation [CL, p.242]. It would be fascinating to have a translation.
OCR 13: Graham Payn (1946)
ONR 47: Graham Payn + Mantovani orch. (1947)

FUN ON THE FARM
See ALL THE FUN OF THE FARM

 

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