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The Noël Coward Music Index

T, U & V - Titles

T

TAKING AFTER DEAR OLD DAD
See Appendix 1.c

TAMARAN
See Appendix 1.a

TAMARISK TOWN

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(around 1917) [BD]
London Calling! 1923 (Gertrude Lawrence)
Sep.Publ. (Keith Prowse & Co. (EMI), 1923)
From a musicological standpoint this is a much more interesting song than its lack of discography would seem to imply. Musicological considerations also support the suggestion that its composition was genuinely “early”: you would expect to find naive elements and, indeed, they are here, particularly in the introductory Verse section whose Eb major phrases with straightforward cordal accompaniment resonate strongly with the simple, open, major-key phrases of ‘Songs Of The Sea’ (q.v.) of 1916. However, the song also takes NC’s songwriting art several steps further down the path of individuality and a recognisable style, probably rather further than the generally-known “first completely integrated song he ever wrote”, ‘Forbidden Fruit’.
For a start, the Verse section ends with a remarkable five-bar phrase (possibly six-bar, depending upon one’s interpretation of a pause), which would seem to be a clear case of simultaneous composition of integrated lyric and melodic/harmonic setting. In the Refrain we get characteristic use of the dominant seventh chord with sharpened fifth (which was to become recognised as NC’s outstanding harmonic thumbprint), at the conclusion of the first eight-bar phrase and again at the centre of the 4-bar “middle” phrase. The Refrain main phrase itself possesses artful poise, achieved by pause notes on two upbeats giving way to a lilting phrase whose melodic shape is stated twice in faster notes and then twice more to a slower melodic riff.
Though undeniably on the “slight” side, this composition has an idiosyncracy of invention which makes it stand out both from NC’s own other early work and also from other people’s work of the same period.

TANGO

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(1963)
The Girl Who Came To Supper, 1963
MS VS
This is dance music without lyrics, and forms part of the 'Embassy Ball' sequence in Act II Scene 4, which started with THE STINGAREE (q.v.) and also included CURT, CLEAR AND CONCISE. Indeed, this pastiche tango contains considerable elements of the pastiche ragtime of ‘The Stingaree’ within it.
It is difficult to define from the documentary evidence exactly how much any or all of this sequence of music may be said to have been directly, newly “composed” (or deliberately pastiched) by Coward, or how much may have been completed and/or extended by competant musical assistants (such as Peter Matz).

TA-RA-RA BOOM-DE-AY

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DISCOGRAPHY:

(1928)
Bitter Sweet, 1929 ( Act III opening chorus number)
Publ. VS
The setting of the title words of this song are borrowed from a sort of music-hall standard rumbustious Victorian ‘let-your-hair-down’ number. NC was certainly not the only person to re-use this idea in his own work.
NC takes the theme and builds the idea into a type of revue-style chorus with bits for the men and bits for the ladies. The point is to introduce the new time-setting of Act III, and they take turns at commenting on elements of the Victorian aesthetic movement: “We merely spend out time preventing/ Some earnest stripling/ From liking Kipling instead of Wilde.”
ONR 01 is excellent - taken at quite a lick but crystal clear.
ONR 02: The Linden Singers (1961)
ONR 01: New Sadler's Wells ch. + orch (1988)

TE QUIERO
See JOURNEY'S END

TEACH ME TO DANCE LIKE GRANDMA

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DISCOGRAPHY:


(1927)
This Year of Grace 1928 (Jessie Matthews)
Sep.Publ.
(Sep.Publ. also of VALSE, also of NOVELTY DANCE)
NCG2
The whole construct and theme of this song is a kind of mini-forerunner of Bitter Sweet whose invention occupied much of the following year of NC’s life. It espouses an anti-modern-dance attitude with nostalgic sentiments for dances such as the polka and waltz, all expressed within the song itself and the additional variations that follow. The vocal score prints in full the POLKA and VALSE dance music on the same melodic theme which follows the song proper. The Sep. Publ. VALSE (arranged by H.M. Higgs) starts with a fragment of ‘Try To Learn To Love’ followed by the themes of ‘Teach Me To Dance’, ‘A Room With A View’ and then ‘Teach Me To Dance’ again.
The whole song reflects the rhythmic snappiness of much else within the score of TYOG, and contains within the Verse section typical passages of stressed cross-rhythms. The Refrain has something of the same built into the rhythm of its second and third bars. It also has a slightly unusual phrase-structure with five phrases A,A,A,B,A (instead of the more normal 4-phrase A,A,B,A). We can also observe notable use of NC’s “favourite” sharpened-fifth dominant seventh chord, with the sharp fifth being the resting melody note at the ends of both the second and fourth phrases.
OCR 04: (in medley) (& includes Waltz version) Orch. cond. Irving (1928)
ONR122: Ray Starita & orch. (May 1928)
NCR 40: (in medley) + orch. acc. Peter Matz (1956)

TELL ME IF YOU KNEW
See Appendix 1.b

TELL ME, WHAT IS LOVE?
See WHAT IS LOVE?

TEMPERAMENTAL HONEYMOON

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(1922)
London Calling! (“2nd edn.” Dec. 1923) (NC & Chorus)
Unpubl.MS
The unpubl. MS was prepared by the same hand as for 'SIX', 'WHEN WE WERE GIRLS TOGETHER' and 'ALL THE FUN OF THE FARM', and would seem to pre-date the advent of Elsie April as amanuensis. The MS is written out with a song-line but no lyrics are given. For this song BD quotes what he thinks is an early draft lyric, which is a duet (for NC and Joyce Barbour). The music MS shows no clear match for more than a bar or two to the rhythm of this known lyric, and the conclusion therefore is that the MS is for the adapted, later version of the song for NC and chorus. We have no matching lyric for it.

TEMPTATION

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1916?
unknown
Unpubl.MS
The words are by Esmé Wynne and the music by NC. The pencil MS indicates two 16-bar 'refrains' in 3/4 (for which only one set of words is given) with a little intro and ending, followed by a 8-bar 'coda' (marked verse 3) which is an adaptation of the same melody in 4/4 tempo. The sentiment is one of wistful brooding at the graveside by a forlorn lover. It is a bit unclear why this title is appropriate.
The piece is in Bb, and the song falls into four balanced short phrases. It has the static and open quality of other similarly-dated pieces such as ‘Songs of the Sea’ (q.v.) but also shows two important NC “fingerprints”, namely repeated use of the dominant seventh chord with sharpened fifth note, and one of NC’s characteristically bold keychanges (into Gb) for the third phrase in both 3/4 and 4/4 versions.

THANK YOU SO MUCH, MRS LOWSBOROUGH-GOODBY
See Appendix 1.a

THAT GIRL'S YOU
See Appendix 1.c

THAT IS THE END OF THE NEWS

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DISCOGRAPHY:

partly written o/b HMS Haydon [not HMS Charybdis] in the Mediterranean, August 5-6, 1943
[NCSB]
1st perf. At a concert in Malta, 9 August 1943
Sigh No More 1945 (Joyce Grenfell)
NCSB
STA
NCG2
This is a strong comedy point number in 6/8 tempo (or very fast waltz tempo) with more than a shade of pastiche Music-Hall about it. The Refrain is a sort of NC realisation of ‘Oh Dear, What Can The Matter Be?’ with very much the same sort of comic laughing at misfortune.
Again, it has been necessary to revise the generally-held “facts” of the song’s composition, which was based on comments in the NC autobiographies, in the light of greater precise detail emerging from unpublished parts of the Noel Coward Diaries
The origin of this song can be traced to June 14th 1943, in London, when he “got an idea for a new song ... which feels as though it might be good”, and the entry for June 28th reads: “Worked on ‘That Is The News’. A dreadfully difficult rhyming scheme.”  Then on August 6th, on board HMS Haydon, going from Algiers to Malta, “I have written two verses and an extra refrain for ‘End Of The News’ so it is now finished. I must rehearse it carefully, as it is extremely complicated.”  Comment about its first performance on the 9th follows.  Some lyric revision occurred in the lead-up to Sigh No More, on April 16th 1945.
The published sheet-music version is taken exactly from MS sources, but there are two MSS, one done by the same early-40s mystery hand as for ‘Touring Days’ (q.v.), the other by Norman Hackforth. These are identical in detail, which suggests that the original early 40's MS was copied wholesale by NH since it needed no great improvement.
This is almost a patter or list-song, but, like ‘Nina’, it absolutely needs to be melodically sung as it needs the tune throughout. The Verse section establishes quite long lyric lines in the form A,A,B,B, the second of which is identical to the first but which modulates harmonically. While the Verse “takes breaths” between phrases, these gaps quite disappear in the Refrain, which has an extended structure which could at its simplest be described as A,A,B,A, but which with its very long phrases comes out more as A,B; A,B; C,C; A,B. There are close musical similarities with ‘Regency Rakes’ (of 1933), particularly in the rhythmic setting of the start of the ‘C’ or "middle 8" phrases: compare the setting of “We’re delight-ed...” here with “Ev’ry or-gy...” in ‘Regency Rakes’.
Grenfell on OCR 12 is vocally rather uninflected and "flat" – despite being tied to its tune the song does need a little bit of lyric emphasis and "pulling around" for its full effect. Peter Greenwell gets close, athough Michael Law definitely has the edge for neatness and articulation.
OCR 12: Joyce Grenfell + Mantovani orch. (1945)
ONR 22: Hermione Gingold & Nancy Andrews (1968)
ONR 26: Barbara Cason, R.Cook (Oh Coward!, 1972)
ONR 30: Peter Greenwell (1995)
ONR 09a: Michael Law (2002)

THAT IS THE TIME TO GO
See Appendix 1.b

THAT WAS BEFORE YOUR DAY
See Appendix 1.b

THAT WONDERFUL MELODY
(PLAY SOMETHING ROMANTIC)

ORIGIN:
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DISCOGRAPHY:

(1928-29)
Opening number of Bitter Sweet, 1929
BS VS
The opening stage directions in the script are specific, that
"The singer with the band is crooning a banal song typical of the period". So, the piece is a modern (i.e. late ‘twenties) pastiche, and intended to be “banal”.
In fact it is a fast foxtrot. Its lyric defines the whole “shift” in NC’s musical writing, with this operetta, away from “modern”, jazz-influenced music back to a more Viennese, melodic style. It’s easy to imagine its theme tune as having been plucked from a comedy dance number in This Year Of Grace – short, syncopated phrases with formulaic elements, and a deliberately abrasive instrumentation (this is well done in ONR 01). It has a snappy, simple repeated 8-bar phrase structure with a blues-y ending. There is no verse section.
ONR 01: Tom Griffin + New Sadler's Wells orch. (1988)

THAT'LL BE VERY USEFUL LATER ON

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1923/24
Charlot's Revue, 1924 (1st Edn.Sept.24 Lond.) (Phyllis Monkman)
Unpubl.MS
Revue point-number, musically in its rhythm rather similar to ‘Forbidden Fruit’ of some 6-7 years earlier. Musically it is a bit of a hybrid and shows a comparatively undeveloped voice, for example in weak chord-settings or chord juxtapositions and a very undecided overall key-sense. For example, the opening bars (formulaic) are the end of the theme in the home key of D, but the Verse section immediately starts in F. There is the expected (almost formulaic) use of NC’s favourite dominant chord with a sharpened fifth, together with some unusually idiosyncratic progressions (e.g. in the first three beats of the opening).
It feels a bit dated today, mostly on account of its lyrics, though it is well to remember that a song about a wife who regrets marrying for money and who takes a decidedly ambiguous attitude towards adultery must have held considerable shock-value at the time.
It’s refrain passages of close-packed phrases in 4/4 tempo set to dotted quaver-semiquaver rhythm is an early form of the classic 6/8 tempo rum-te-tum of later Coward comedy song.

THEN

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DISCOGRAPHY:

1935 (?source)
Tonight at 8.30: Shadow Play 1936
Sep.Publ.
This is an exceptionally taut and effective piece of writing, full of structural and harmonic depth as well as setting a lyric which Kenneth Tynan thought “exquisite and bone-dry”. It is one of those little masterpieces of mood- and word-setting which gladdens the hearts of musicians and lifts the resulting song into something approaching the high-art of a Schubert or a Wolf. It is not too much to claim that there may even be musical subtext in the setting (in the same way that there is often subtext in the plays – the characters are saying one thing but we know they may be meaning something quite other). Not many NC songs will bear this sort of analytical spotlight, but this one certainly will, and others that I think might would include ‘I Travel Alone’ and ‘Never Again’.
For a start, there is lovely ambiguity of phrasing in the Verse section, the musical phrases falling effectively into seven-bar lengths and the start of the next musical phrase overlapping with the last word of the previous lyric line. The harmonic setting – we have started in F – rests on a pedal F and passes through F7, F7b, F6, F6b,F9,G7 and C7-with-sharpened-fifth in a dreamy sideways shifting which includes a whole string of descending semitones, from F to A, across this same 7+1-bar phrase.
Harmonically, you know the fun is starting with a most unexpected modulation from Dm through Gm7 and E7 into the A major of the Refrain. Here the phrases fall into much more usual 4-bar lengths, but they are packed with harmonic tensions. The first line establishes the rising two-note theme, at the start all nicely consonant and using the third and fifth of the tonic key. The phrase moves, powerfully, by repeating the theme at the interval of the fifth, and then for the third time at the interval of the seventh, while the chording gets progressively more layered and shifts into a gloriously bright F# minor on “Life rose to its feet for us”. The second half of the Refrain then introduces real harmonic doubt and tension, with the theme rising a minor 6th and being set to E7 and B7dim, the latter being (unlike the opening) very wildly dissonant in relation to E or A major. The words are; “Ah! Then we knew the best of it”, and the musical implication is that the best was never very comfortable. The following phrase (“our hearts stood the test of it”) throws the tension away by leaping the octave and moving straight into the even more-gloriously bright F# major. These harmonic relationships rock the piece backwards and forwards between feelings of mordency and feelings of glittering release, and are crucial to the impact of the lyric which lies above them.
There’s a precision about the chording of this piece which defies casual invention, and even the precise harmonies of the piano accompaniment “fill” given at the end of bar 2 of the Refrain defy “normality” and absolutely have to be the harmonies NC himself played when the song was composed and how he “fixed” it.
The song is a real piece of expressive music theatre and defies categorization of type. It is also worth bearing in mind that this sort of idiosyncratic romantic/nostalgic theatrical writing rather characterises this period of NC’s songwriting, and many of the pieces written for inclusion in collaborative presentations with Gertrude Lawrence (e.g. ‘Someday I’ll Find You’, ‘Play, Orchestra, Play’, ‘We Were Dancing’ and
‘You Were There’) are among his most effective. Sheridan Morley maintains that Gertrude Lawrence was the real, underlying love of NC’s life and the underlying model for the can’t-live-together-but-can’t-live-apart thread of Coward’s creative writing. It is not far-fetched to suggest this has a musical reflection in pieces such as these.
We need hardly say that we think this piece ought to be considerably better known and performed than it is.
OCR 09/NCR 15 & 16: Gertrude Lawrence & NC (1936)
ONR 05: Bobby Short (1972)

THERE ARE BAD TIMES JUST AROUND THE CORNER

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DISCOGRAPHY:

1952 (May?)
Globe Revue, 1952, as a quartet (Joan Heal, Dora Bryan,
Ian Carmichael, Graham Payn)
Later in cabaret performances by NC as a solo
Sep.Publ.1952
STA
VS CC
NCG2
This number was written into the show when 'The Lyric Revue' became 'The Globe Revue', and later had a reworked lyric for American audiences.
A song which rollicks along with macabre glee. One of the classic mature period list songs, well-constructed both musically and lyrically.
The song was certainly successful in its original setting and for NC’s own cabaret performances, and is a sort of halfway house between the gay recitation of disaster of ‘That Is The End Of The News’ (1945) and the morbid moralising of the much more American-orientated ‘What’s Going To Happen To The Tots?’ (1956). It is particularly close to the latter in terms of metre and word/melody rhythms as well as in its rather tub-thumping, cynical, almost waspish humour.
For what is effectively a comedy list song, the Refrain is unusual in that no musical phrases are repeated, but the melodic lines show continuous development – a sort of A,B,C,D form, if you like. This coupled with the long phraseology and a progressive but consonant key-structure engage and reward the anticipation of the listener.
The song pays a proportion of its royalty earnings to the publishers who own the rights to ‘Pack Up Your Troubles’, which NC shamelessly mis-quotes in the final musical line of the Refrain and which was also used for the original opening.
Perhaps rather surprisingly, this song is among the top thirty Coward numbers in terms of current royalties earning potential (see Appendix 3).
NCR 35: + C de P orch. cond. Simone acc. Hackforth (1951)
ONR 07: Peter Gale, etc. (Cowardy Custard, 1972)
ONR 15: King's Singers (1977)
ONR123: Redmond O'Colonies (1989)
ONR 123a: Dennis Olsen acc. Malcolm Tapscott (1998)
ONR 16a: Courtney Kenny (2001)

THERE ARE GOOD TIMES COMING
See Appendix 1.b

THERE HAVE BEEN SONGS IN ENGLAND

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DISCOGRAPHY:


July 1941 [CL, p.218]
Wartime troop concerts, etc.
Sep. Publ. (1941)
NCSB
Entries in unpublished bits of the Noel Coward Diaries refer to the genesis of this song on July 7th (a refrain written), the verse being worked on on July 14th, some further work on the 18th, the Verse section properly written and composed on the 19th, and the completed song dictated to a Mr Langdon at Chappells on the 21st.
The two NCRs below show an interesting development. The earlier recording with Carroll Gibbons presents the song in the key of C and in the structure Refrain-Verse-Refrain. Apart from this recording, there is no known use of or apparent purpose for the song beyond its gestation in a bout of partiotic determination. When put into his own wartime cabaret performances a little later, a bit of “tightening” was clearly required: the version recorded in Calcutta with Norman Hackforth lifts the song into the key of Eb and drops the rather sugary sentimental Verse section entirely in favour of a medley of well-known, quintessentially English folksongs, all or most of which would have been recognised by wartime forces audiences far away from home. When they revert to the refrain, after many keychanges, it is only to the last part of it, and in Db (saving NC the awkwardness of a long final note on high Eb, one supposes). This arrangement was first worked out with NH in India on June 4th 1944.
When printed the piece stayed in Eb (throughout) but the Verse section precedes the Refrain. (A similar printing modification happened with ‘I Travel Alone’ which appears in print as V-R but which was always performed R-V-R.) Also, one should beware of taking the NCSB printed version as sacrosanct: Hackforth’s attention as musical editor has clearly not penetrated to the detail of this song, and not only is the printed accompaniment for the third phrase (“Very soon the birds appeared…”) tritely simplistic, but the ending phrase (“songs there will always be”) is quite differently harmonised. It would be better for performers to be guided by the detail of NCR26 than by the printed sheet music. The folksong arrangements (which include ‘O Mistress Mine’, ‘Drink To Me Only’ and ‘Sigh No More, Ladies’) were done by Hackforth and were never written down, though their various keychanges and accompaniment figurations could I suppose be recreated by anyone with an acute ear.
The Refrain is one of NC’s truly melodic non-waltz compositions, with a gracefully arching melody that rises and falls through the octave span of the tonic Eb. The piece becomes a small but heartfelt ballad of open character and consonant, unforced simplicity.
NCR 23: Orch. cond. & pno. acc. Carroll Gibbons. (1941)
NCR 26: Pno. acc. & arr. Norman Hackforth (1944)

THERE MAY BE DAYS
See appendix 1.a

THERE WAS ONCE A LITTLE VILLAGE

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DISCOGRAPHY:

(1933)
Conversation Piece 1934
Publ. VS
This piece is sung by a quartet of fishermen who bemoan the disruption of their quiet fishing-village life (in Brighton) by the advent of Royal patronage, the Pavillion and the Regency Rakes.
The song starts in a dream-like haze of nostalgic sentiment, the setting of the simple little past-tense phrases combines lack of rhythmic movement, a very hazy sense of key and some quite extraordinary chordal shifts and juxtapositions (e.g. the first phrase is set to chords F-Fsharp-F). The Refrain, however, uses exactly the same music as that for 'Regency Rakes' (q.v.)
NCR 32: + orch. cond. Lehman Engel (1951)

THERE WILL ALWAYS BE

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DISCOGRAPHY:

January 1944
Unused by NC
First performed (Dominic Vlasto acc. Norman Hackforth) at The King’s School, Canterbury UK, July 1978
Sep.Publ. 1978
It is worth quoting in full Hackforth’s written introduction to the song which was printed with the 1978 publication: “In 1944 I was in South Africa, accompanying NC on a tour of service camps, hospitals, and some fund-raising public concerts. One day he played and sang for me this song, which, he said, he had recently written, and thought he would probably use in the next musical he did, after the War. I loved the song, and remembered it with affection throughout the next thirty years; although, sadly, he never seemed to find a place for it in any show. Now, five years after Noël’s death, I have written it down; firstly, because it is far too good a song not to be preserved, and secondly, because it has always seemed to me to be a true statement of his own philosophy and deep appreciation of the simple, unchanging, and most rewarding qualities in life.”
In later conversation, Norman added that it was his impression that the song had been created the previous year and maybe at home in England. In fact, entries in unpublished parts of the Noel Coward Diaries show that the song emerged during NC’s itinerant period between the USA and Jamaica: on January 12th 1944 he says that he “finished refrains of two songs I started in my head driving along in the car yesterday – ‘There Will Always Be’ and ‘Poor Uncle Harry’.”
Hackforth also remembered talking about the song again during his amanuensis work for NC on After The Ball (1953-54). In a letter to Coley not long before the song’s posthumous publication, NH explained that “a few weeks later he told me that, although the song, as it stood, wasn't right for 'Ball', he had used the main theme of it as the opening of the double aria in the original Act II … which informed musicologists (such as Mr Graham Payn and myself) will recognise as the same phrase...". This is the section now known as 'Go, I Beg You Go' (q.v.).
The publishers chose to make a small change to part of the song’s harmonic underlay: the original chord underlying the word “know” in bar 21 was exactly the same as that in bar 17 – basically a weak inversion of the tonic Eb – and was replaced by the quite differently-feeling D7, which imparts a strong forward progression to the music and shifts it inexorably through G7 which it never touched it the original. I believe the harmonic stasis of the original was exactly what NC required for the song, and that the D7-G7 alteration subtly and inappropriately changes the mood of the phrase.
The song falls into a very normal A,A,B,A pattern, with neat four-bar phrases, the second of which takes up and extends the rhythmic and melodic pattern of bar 3 (featuring the triplet rhythm of “e-/nough in the world for/me”). The “middle 8” phrase also has nice consistency of musical phraseology, with the setting of “know, deep down inside me” being a pitch-changed version of its opening “Though dark days may grieve me”. Its admirable concision, short phrases and un-dramatic harmonies give the whole song a gentle openness and sincerity which is rare in a slight little ballad.
ONR 28: Barbara Lea acc. Keith Ingham (1999)
ONR 05a: Dominic Vlasto acc.Steve Ross (2004)

THERE'S A PIXIE IN MY GARDEN
See Appendix 1.c

THERE'S ALWAYS SOMETHING FISHY ABOUT THE FRENCH

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DISCOGRAPHY:

(1933)
Conversation Piece 1934, Act I Sc.6 (Heather Thatcher and Moya Nugent)
Sep.Publ.
NCG2
This song was effectively written to cover a scene-change, and was performed “before the curtains” by the characters Sophie and Martha, who had also delivered the ‘Prologue’ at the start of the Act, and go on to deliver the ‘Prologue for Act II, in similar fashion.
Though written down in a con moto 4/4 tempo, it is effectively another rollicking 6/8 comedy number. It is a nice irony that the closest comparable NC song is another with a xenophobic theme, ‘Don’t Let’s Be Beastly To The Germans’. This one even includes the opening notes of ‘The Marseillese’ in it, which leads to some pleasingly varied lyric phrase-lengths and elision with the musical phrases, halfway through the refrain. The Refrain may have concentrated quality but for a fast comedy song lacks length and development.
OCR 08/NCR 12: Heather Thatcher & Moya Nugent (1934)
NCR 32: + orch. cond. Lehman Engel (1951)

THERE'S LIFE IN THE OLD GIRL YET

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DISCOGRAPHY:

(1923)
London Calling! 1923 (Maisie Gay & Chorus)
Sep.Publ. (Keith Prowse & Co.) (EMI) 1924
This is a classic solo-with-chorus revue number and clearly written with Maisie Gay’s performance personality in mind. Here she declares herself to be “a naughty little lady full of winsome girlish tricks” and she is said to have appeared “rather fat with metallic golden hair and her dress is extremely ‘bitty’ with rosebuds and small bows wherever they are humanly possible” [BD].
The song is written in a brisk and businesslike 2/4 tempo with simple-rhythm four-bar phrases in both Verse and Refrain, all of which is repeated to a second set of lyrics.
NC also wrote a private, personalised set of lyrics for MG which were perhaps delivered at some cast party along the way (see BD p.50).
OCR 01: Maisie Gay (1924)

THERE'S NO MORE TO SAY ABOUT LOVE
(subtitled LAST WALTZ)

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(1937?)
Unused
Unpubl. MS
This is one of three MSS, subtitled First, Second and Third/Last Waltzes, whose tentative dating derives from their being found in an archival envelope near material otherwise from an early draft for Operette [see BD]. The other two waltzes are titled JE T'AIME and I GAVE MY HEART AWAY. This one shows the most length and development of the three, and various additions and changes to the MS (the hand is Elsie April’s) show that the pieces were at a fairly early stage of committal of the principal ideas onto paper.
Though no performance directions are given, this would seem to be a medium-paced waltz. It is sung by a poet, who realises that although love is often expressed in poetry, it has its own wordless language which makes his craft redundant. The melody is pleasing enough without any great distinction or emotive features, and the lyrics and melody fall into regular four-bar phrases. It slightly smacks of melody having been found to match an existing lyric. This song among the three is distinguished by having an extended (32-bar) section – as it were, a central Verse – with a new pattern of lyric and melody, before a repeat of the Refrain, with new words, is indicated.

THIS COULD BE TRUE

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(1949)
Ace of Clubs, 1950 (Pat Kirkwood and Graham Payn)
Sep.Publ.
This is a ballad love-song for Pinkie and Harry, at their first meeting alone together, in Act I Sc.4. An 8-bar introduction – too slight to call it a Verse section – leads to a striking and strongly romantic Refrain of four eight-bar phrases in the pattern A,B,A,C, all in flowing 4/4 tempo. The main phrase builds well from its start, taking the pattern of the title words and repeating it twice, each time at a higher pitch. There is a lot of merit in all the melodic shapes and the harmonic setting is not without moments of originality and effectiveness; with lyrics, however, the piece is rendered unperformable today on account of NC’s double use in the first Refrain of a colloquialism now considered insulting. [see BD for details]
OCR 14: Pat Kirkwood & Graham Payn (1950)

THIS IS A CHANGING WORLD

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DISCOGRAPHY:

Verse section 1941. Otherwise 1944-45? [see BD p.223]
Pacific 1860, 1946 (Sylvia Cecil)
& also intended for Sail Away, 1961 but was cut before the show reached New York.
Sep.Publ (twice, 1946 and 1961 in US)
VS P1860
NCSB
NCG1
NCR
The entire Verse section of the song is re-used from the 1941 composition dedicated to NC’s songwriting idol, Jerome Kern, WE ARE LIVING IN A CHANGING WORLD (q.v.).
The 1961 Sep. Publ. printed only the Refrain and is therefore not complete. The P1860 VS setting was in the keys of Ab (verse) and Db (Refrain); all the other publications are a minor third lower (in F and Bb). (The original key of the Verse in its first song was G.)
This is a romantic ballad of considerable length and strength of purpose. The Verse section, in flowing 4/4 tempo, starts with simplicity and openness in F, but after 16 bars does an amazing keychange through Fsharp7 into B major and then on through B7 to E major, all within the space of 8 bars, before slipping back into F again. This central section sets the words “Each waning moon, All dawns that rise, all suns that set, Change like the tides that flow across the sands”, and the effect of the keychanges is to brighten these visions and emphasise their fleeting changeability.
The Refrain is a Viennese-style fast waltz whose first two bars must observe a big ritenuto and hold up the tempo completely on the third beat of the second bar, before hitting the rest of the phrase a tempo in the third bar. [I also remember Hackie, the first time we rehearsed this piece together, insisting on a pull-up and pause on the word “tear” in the final phrase, before a “big” delivery of the bar of quavers and last three notes of the piece in a grander, slower tempo.]
Given that, apart from its first four rising notes, the Refrain theme phrase consists merely of the same two melody notes falling through an open fifth, three times in succession, it is a surprisingly effective line. There is a delicious modulation in the “middle 8” passage, which passes through Eb, Ebminor7 and Ab5#7 to Db. The last two phrases build and extend very satisfactorily from a restatement of the principal theme.
OCR 13: Sylvia Cecil (1946)
NCR 29: + Drury Lane Orch. cond. Mantovani (Jan 1947)
NCR 30: + orch. cond. Mantovani (Jun 1947)
NCR 43: + pno. acc. Werner(?) (1961)
ONR 14: Joan Sutherland & orch. (1966)
ONR 05a: Steve Ross (2004)

THIS IS A NIGHT FOR LOVERS

ORIGIN:
USE:

SOURCE:
NOTES:













DISCOGRAPHY:

Early September 1946, Kent (NCD)
Pacific 1860, 1946 (Sylvia Cecil, Maria Perilli and Winifride Ingham)
and intended, in a reworked version, for Sail Away 1961, but dropped.
VS Pacific 1860
I believe this number must have been the replacement item for the drop 'Poor Lady In The Throes of Love' (q.v.), because it is also a trio for the same combination of the characters Rosa, Trudi and Solange.
The piece is very typical of the dreamy, atmospheric romantic writing which characterises much of the score of Pacific 1860. Lushly chordal, the introductory section overlaps the three vocal lines in what sounds at first as though it is going to be something fairly anodyne; but then we get one of those NC keychanges, and the music slips from F, through Bb, Cminor7 and B7, into E, then slips further through D7 into the sort of G major which starts the “refrain”, only to move into Bb a couple of bars later. Actually, it turns out eventually that the piece is “in” D major. All this reinforces the hazy, shifting, shadowed moonlight sentiments of the lyrics and the stage setting.
OCR 13 is a pretty convincing confirmation of this quality. The piece does not work well as a solo (NCR 43 was a demo recording), and merely gets ridiculous when the appropriate sentiment is ignored (NCR 44 was done, I think, as a cast party-piece).
OCR 13: Sylvia Cecil, Maris Pirelli, Win Ingham (1946)
NCR 43: + pno. acc. Werner(?) (Apr 1961)
NCR 44: NC & Joe Layton ("joke" version) (Oct 1961)

THIS IS THE NIGHT

ORIGIN:
USE:
SOURCE:
NOTES:

(1946)
Pacific 1860 1946
Publ. VS
Same music as INVITATION TO THE WALTZ (q.v.)

THIS MOMENT
See Appendix 1.c

THIS SEEMS TO BE THE M0MENT
See Appendix 1.e

THIS TIME IT'S TRUE LOVE
See COME BE MY TRUE LOVE

THIS YEAR, NEXT YEAR
See Appendix 1.c

THREE JUVENILE DELINQUENTS

ORIGIN:
USE:


SOURCE:

NOTES:








DISCOGRAPHY:

(1949)
Ace of Clubs, 1950 (Peter Tuddenham, Colin Kemball &
Norman Warwick)
Night of 100 Stars, 1953 (Olivier, Guilgud & Mills)
NCSB
STA
The piece is effectively a revue-type comedy point number, giving appropriate seedy-character colour to the show while having even less to do with the drama than any of the other revue-type numbers shoehorned into the show’s “club floorshow” setting.
It’s a very straightforward construction, only a Refrain with intro and ending, and the refrain of even phrase-lengths in form A,B,A with long and busy lyric lines. There are five verses of lyrics. As a musical construct it is fairly boring, and obviously depends upon the parodic talents of its performers for its effect.
A small percentage of the royalties for this song is paid to Boosey & Co. on account of the use of the well-known bit of 'Colonel Bogey' melody at the very end of the refrain.
OCR 14: Tuddenham, Kemble & Warwick (1950)

THREE LITTLE DEBUTANTES
See DEBUTANTES

THREE THEATRICAL DAMES

ORIGIN:
USE:


SOURCE:
NOTES:










DISCOGRAPHY:

(may be as early as 1923/24)
Cut from Ace of Clubs,1950 (In final typescript at Act II No.7)
Night of 100 Stars, June 28th 1956 (Paul Schofield, Lawrence Harvey and Peter Ustinov)
Unpubl. MSS
One of the MSS (originally in the London Estate archives) is Robb Stewart's, which confirms its preparation for Ace of Clubs. The other is in a slightly earlier but unknown hand which also prepared MSS of TOURING DAYS (1923) and JESSIE HOOPER (1924) for possible wartime cabaret work in around 1942. That this song had exactly the same MS treatment suggests that it is also likely to be a work resurrected from the early 20's. It was probably originally written for a charity show – there is no known intention for its use in any other musical production before 1950 – and its eventual use turned out to be just that.
This is a lovely three-verse comedy number, each Verse section being a solo and the jaunty Refrain for all three artists together. Both sections are relatively short, the Verse no more musically than a recitation to chords, the Refrain a brief 6/8 tempo rum-te-tum. All the delight rests in the ridiculous and witty lyrics, and the fact that it works so well as a deliberately camp cross-dressing number.
ONR124: Scofield, Harvey & Ustinov (1956)

THREE WHITE FEATHERS

ORIGIN:
USE:

SOURCE:


NOTES:















DISCOGRAPHY:

(1932)
Words and Music
1932 (Edward Underdown and Doris Hare)
Set to Music 1939 (USA) (Beatrice Lillie)
WAM VS
NCG1
NCR
Revue sketch point number. It grows out of a scene where a young married couple, he a Guardsman in uniform, she a Debutante elaborately dressed and jewelled, are queuing in a motor car for entry to a Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace, and being gawped at by bystanders. The girl reveals that she was until her marriage a stage performer, and from an extremely modest and low-class background. The song is her wondering at the abrupt change in her social status and fortunes: “I must admit/the Rolls in which I sit/is one up on the dear old tram”, she says. The point of the title is that “today it may be three white feathers [her elaborate headgear], But yesterday it was three brass balls [the family ran a pawnshop]”.
This is a modestly-constructed and concise piece, a 24-bar Verse followed by a 16-bar Refrain, very orientated to its lyrics. Its musical phraseology is neatly worked, but the piece works quite well as a piece of verse alone, without its music. The music is unusual only in its pace and tempo, which is a relaxed, almost indolent 4/4 with the same sort of suggestion of trudging travel that you get with the song ‘I Travel Alone’ (which comes from the same period). Is this sort of pacing NC’s instinct for setting a piece which is essentially about journeying through life?
OCR 07: Doris Hare (1932)
OCR 11: Beatrice Lillie (1939)
ONR 26: Barbara Cason, Roderick Cook (Oh Coward!,1972)

TIME AND AGAIN

ORIGIN:
USE:
SOURCE:

NOTES:





































DISCOGRAPHY:

Written Jamaica, 7 April 1952 [NCD,p.191]
Café de Paris Cabaret, June1952
Sep. publ.
VS CC (in medley)
An unusual song, and one difficult to categorise. In its lyric construction it is nothing short of masterly, and the melodic lines are a glove-fitting support with life and growth of their own; but it is the sustained, steady pacing of the song which is its chief characteristic and which imbues the whole with a laid-back and even slightly cynical “take”. This attitude is certainly there in the lyrics alone, but for once NC chose not to compose in the typical up-tempo comedy style, which the lyrics would probably have borne. Instead there is this relaxed, steady tempo in which the lyrics speak clearly and slowly. It shows NC’s detached attitude towards the subject matter – how strong sex/love emotions derail one from life’s even tracks and are much better avoided and/or resisted, with firm but gentle resignation at their passing. This, of course, is the “heigh-ho” theme of much of NC’s writing, but usually this comes in little romantic sighs, and nowhere else in NC’s output is it treated as deliberately and detachedly as in this song.
There are a total of two Verses and three long Refrains, but neither of the NCRs below give a full version, and for the US recording some refrain lyrics are scrambled together from two different original Refrains [refer to NCL]. The bredth and felicity of the rhyming scheme, in both Verse and Refrain sections (which are unusually integrated in character), is little short of remarkable. One could bang on about this much more, in terms of extended rhyming structure and internal rhymes, but there’s a risk of dessicating by over-analysis. You can recognise the song’s felicity by any cursory study of the written lyric alone, and then ice the cake by marvelling at the length of melody-line invention, without ever needing to acknowledge more detailed musical technicalities.
NCR 35 marks the brief appearance of the song in the Café de Paris cabaret shows, in which context Hackforth remembered that it “didn’t ever really work” and from which is was soon dropped. This may well be because in the 1952 version the orchestrations of the Verse section in particular are intrusive and untidy, and the pacing a breathless scramble; but I think the piece finds its true voice and definitive tempo with Matz's jazz combo accompaniment, which sets the song to the same steady beat from the very start, very slightly slower than originally performed and much more sparsely pointed in the accompaniment. The whole is delivered in a deliciously laid-back swing jazz style which offers maximum enjoyment of the clever cross-rhythmic stresses at the end of the “middle 8” passages. Certainly NCR 40 is a great accompaniment for a great song, and a realisation of its full potential.
It may be interesting and relevant to note that almost exactly at the same time as this song was being composed, NC was facing the harsh reality of giving up the trust and love he had invested in his relationship with Jack Wilson. Diaries entries speak several times of the bitter disillusionment he felt, and the realisation that “either someone has gone mad or Jack is lying”.
This is definitely among those little-known NC songs which ought to be far better known, performed and recorded.
NCR 35: + C de P orch. cond. Simone acc. Hackforth (1952)
NCR 40: + orch. / pno. acc. Peter Matz (1956)

TIME, GENTLEMEN, PLEASE
See Appendix 1.b

TIME WILL TELL

ORIGIN:

USE:
SOURCE:

NOTES:





DISCOGRAPHY:

Sept/Oct 1957 (Bermuda) [NCD]
(intended for Later Than Spring before it became Sail Away)
Then cut from The Girl Who Came To Supper, 1963
Unpubl. MS
NCR
Waltz ballad. This was originally the 7th item in the sequence of songs “from” The Coconut Girl, and thus a pastiche of a typical American-musical waltz theme of the period (1910). It is a simple Waltz refrain only, with straightforward short phrases and simple note-rhythms, but not without some elegance of melodic shape and development. The melody contains a classic NC element of the falling interval of the seventh.
NCR 46: acc. Unknown (1963)

TIT WILLOW
See Appendix 1.a

TOAST MUSIC

ORIGIN:
USE:
SOURCE:
NOTES:


DISCOGRAPHY:

(1946)
Pacific 1860, 1946 (Act III Sc.2) (Graham Payn)
Publ.VS (music No.33)
Not to be confused with BIRTHDAY TOAST (music No. 13 in the same score, q.v.). This piece is instrumental with dialogue over, and the music is that of the song THIS IS A NIGHT FOR LOVERS.
OCR 13: Graham Payn (1946)

TOGETHER WITH MUSIC

ORIGIN:
USE:
SOURCE:


NOTES:











DISCOGRAPHY:

Jamaica, 1955
Together With Music, 1955 (CBS TV)
Sep.Publ (USA)
NCG2
NCR
What we know is the second of two versions; the original song was composed in early September, but summarily ditched on September 14 after Peter Matz and NC demonstrated the song to Mary Martin, who “to my horror took against ‘Together With Music’ very firmly indeed. I admired her honesty, but it was dreadfully irritating and disappointing. Actually I am afraid she’s right, and so I am now in the throes of rewriting the entire number and making it more romantic … ‘Together With Music’, second version, is finished. It is better than the first really but it was bloody hell to do …[and] Mary’s delighted”. [NCD, 14 & 15 Sept. 1955]. Only the lyric survives of the first version [see BD]. The replacement lyric seems to retain exactly the same structure in the Verse, but the Refrain shares only some of the original one's rhythmical structure. So it looks as though the main re-write was the Refrain section.
This replacement is an up-tempo, lighthearted piece which is an ideal curtain-raiser for this particular duet show usage, but without much scope for performance outside its context.
OCR 16: NC & Mary Martin (1955)
ONR 30a: June Bronhill & Dennis Olsen + orch. (1981)
ONR 19: Valerie Anastasio etc., with duo pno. acc. (2000)

TOKAY

ORIGIN:
USE:
SOURCE:


NOTES:
























DISCOGRAPHY:

(1928-29)
Bitter Sweet, 1929 (Gerald Nodin + chorus)
Sep.Publ
VS BS
VS CC (in medley)
Mock-Viennese drinking song. This is a well-crafted and effective musical mise-en-scene with much colour and energy, from the café scene in Act II Sc.2. It follows hard on the heels of the Officers’ entrance and chorus song, ‘We Wish To Order Wine’. There is also a complete French version of this song, published in the wake of the French production of Bitter Sweet, ‘Au Temps des Valses’ (see Appendix 2b, item 8e).
There is a slow recitative-like introductory section, but the piece is memorable only for its Refrain, a strong, fast 6/8 tempo piece which is almost a military march. The tune has much originality, starting on a long held 2nd note on the ‘kay’ of ‘Tokay’, which drives the song forward despite no melodic movement, as it wants to resolve to the tonic, which it does with a skip in the third bar. The main phrase is a perfect combination of rhythms, with a fast little scurry in the middle sandwiched between two static “holding” notes. The second phrase exactly copies the first but with its ending harmonisation modulating neatly to the dominant key for the following “middle 8” section. The “middle 8” section repeats in the minor key, before the first theme returns and extends to a rising, full-chorus ending. This combination of musical details gives the song originality and structure, as well as it having all the necessary characteristics for its purpose of stylistic pastiche.
A taste for Tokay was popular enough in 1880's Vienna, and the wine was well-known abroad, but its popularity had waned rather in England by 1929. The song's success in Bitter Sweet sent sales soaring. In more recent years, the production and distribution of Tokay (more properly Tokaji) suffered from Hungary's post-war communist domination, but at the turn of the century the wine is again taking its rightful place among the very best sweet wines of the world.
Fyson brings an odd nasal quality to ONR 04 but proves the
point of it being a rousing chorus number. Donald Maxwell on ONR 01 has better vocal quality, and this interpretation shows a good slow introduction with a refrain of greater precision.
ONR125: Nelson Eddy + orch. (1940)
ONR 02: James Pease + orch (1961)
ONR 03: John Hauxwell + orch (1962)
ONR 04: Leslie Fyson + orch (1969)
ONR 01: Donald Maxwell + New Sadler's Wells orch (1988)

TOOT-TOOT - See:
FINALE (This Year of Grace)

TOP OF THE MORNING

ORIGIN:
USE:
SOURCE:
NOTES:

(1949-50)
Ace of Clubs, 1950 (Jean Carson)
Unpubl. MS
This was the opening number of the show, and an introduction to the whole mise-en-scene: the eight ‘Ace Of Clubs Girls’ come vivaciously onto the club stage doing an untidy but determined dance routine. This is mercifully brief and at the end of it they arrange themselves and gesture towards the stage, where the character Baby Belgrave comes on dressed as a Covent Garden porter and sings this song.
It is a vivacious, spirited 6/8 tempo number in both Verse and Refrain, speaking of the essential jollity of life. It is clever and neat, and, for what is a sort of pastiche, it is rather better structured and melodised with more originality than most of its models.

TOUCH OF A WOMAN'S HAND (THE)

ORIGIN:


USE:
SOURCE:


NOTES:















1922? (this is a more accurate dating than BD/NCL)
Included in draft script of On With The Dance, 1925
(dated 1925 in NCL)
Unused
CPA1
NCG2
NCR
A revue-type point number. Obviously NC himself thought highly enough of this number to weed it out of the “unused drawer” for inclusion in the first Concert Party Album, published in late 1938. We believe its dating to be earlier than given by other sources on account of it being one of six NC manuscripts held in the Coward Estate archives in the hand of a mystery amanuensis who pre-dated the advent of Elsie April in 1923. It is a very neatly-drawn and fully-worked music only MS whose piano part does not always include the song-line and which may be said to have touches of real pianistic “partnership” accompaniment to it. The original accompaniment was much reduced - “simplified” - for CPA1 and that irritating doubling song-line inserted throughout, which is very far from being any sort of improvement. (Its key was also changed from C to D).
It is a clever song in its lyrics, detailing in three Refrains the ways in which womankind has left her mark on history, from the fall of Eve through Lucretia Borgia to Marie Stopes. There are facets of the composition which reflect the established Coward voice, including an abrupt keychange (D7–Bb7) and obvious use of the 5#7 dominant chord. The snappy little melody of the refrain jumps around all over the place and frequently rests on unexpected notes. This is early Coward at his most obviously idiosyncratic.
The number is said in M&M (p.375) to have been recorded by NC, but we have not been able to confirm this.

TOURING DAYS

ORIGIN:


USE:

SOURCE:

NOTES:












DISCOGRAPHY:

Written 1923 (for sketch "Customs House Dover" )
(intended for but unused in London Calling!)
[There is a false ascription to Operette in GP, p.17]
Cowardy Custard 1972 (closing medley)
Noël & Gertie 1988/97
Unpubl. MS
VS CC (in medley)
This was written as a duet. It is a genuine case of a good item having been literally forgotten. At the time of preparing Cowardy Custard, Alan Strachan went to raid the archives and “found it at the bottom of a trunk … this rather ragged piece of sheet-music … the memory of it had totally left him”. The copyright was assigned by Cole Lesley to Chappel & Co. early in 1973 at the time of publication of the CC VS, not long before NC’s death.
This is a gentle and intimate song, reminiscing about the seedier side of life on tour with “theatrical landladies”. There are obvious links here with NC’s own early life, and despite the uncomfortable horrors descibed it is told with something almost amounting to nostalgic affection.
The fact that NC was able totally to forget something as strong as this, which had progressed to the point of having a sketch built round it, reflects only how much more must have been forgotten (and never written down).
It was used in a much abbreviated form for CC.
ONR 07: Patricia Routledge &c. (Cowardy Custard, 1972)
ONR 20: Patricia Hodge & Lewis Fiander (1986)
ONR 09a: Michael Law (2002)

TRAVEL IN A TRAIN WITH ME
See Appendix 1.c

TRY TO LEARN TO LOVE

ORIGIN:
USE:
SOURCE:

NOTES:










DISCOGRAPHY:

(1927)
This Year of Grace 1928 (Jessie Matthews & Sonnie Hale)
Sep.Publ. - also Sep.publ as 'Novelty Dance'
VS CC (in medley)
A very neat and coherent revue dance-number, the song has a verse section really integrated with its overall style, and in all sections shows long phrases with harmonic direction and development. It is in a very obvious swing style, and the music transferred easily from its original setting to dance band arrangements for foxtrotting.
The Verse section phrases follow the pattern A,A,B,B, the subsequent phrases passing through the relative minor, mediant minor and supertonic minor keys. The Refrain has the “normal” phrase pattern A,A,B,A, with delightful passages of syncopated rhythmic cross-stressing in the ‘B’ section. This is done well, twice differently, in the Gibbons orchestration for NCR 02, which also features a sparse little solo piano break and an extended ending.
It is one of the few non-waltz NC numbers of the period which works really well as a piece of music in its own right, without lyrics.
NCR 02: +orch./acc. Carroll Gibbons (Apr 1928)
ONR 08: Ambrose + Mayfair Orch. (Jun 1928)
OCR 04: (in medley) orch.cond. Ernest Irving(1928)
ONR126: Joyce Grenfell, Graham Payn (1945)

TWENTIETH CENTURY BLUES

ORIGIN:
USE:
SOURCE:





NOTES:























DISCOGRAPHY:

(1931)
Cavalcade, 1931, Act III Sc.2 (Binnie Barnes)
Sep.Publ.
AES
NCSB
VS CC
NCG2
NCR
In NCSB NC describes this song as “ironic in theme and musically rather untidy. It is also exceedingly difficult to sing, but in the play ... it struck the required note of harsh discordancy and typified, within its frame, the curious, hectic desperation I wished to convey”. The stage directions call for decoration which is “angular and strange”, and describes the music as “oddly dischordant”.
It is a very effective stylisation of the blues, the “bluesy” quality being an inbuilt melodic feature from the point in the Verse second phrase where the top note of the phrase is modified from a flattened to a natural 6th. The piece is all really in F minor, but at the end of the Verse it has got to Eb and launches straight into the Refrain in D. It does work back to F minor, via a second phrase in C, but there’s always this violent shift back to restart in D again. The juxtaposition of D major’s F# with the preceding Fnatural harmony is certainly angular and strange, if not oddly dischordant.
A little touch of angularity, often forgotten in modern performances, is the “breaking out” or doubling of the tempo, with little jazzy syncopations in the accompaniment, for the “hold” bars at the ends of the first and third refrain phrases. This was a point picked up by Peter Matz, who does it better than anyone on NCR 40.
In fact, NCR 40 is a small miracle (on both Matz and Coward's parts) which transforms the song from something "rather untidy" into a piece of classic moody jazz-blues, and proves incidentally that even this style was not beyond NC's range as a performer. NC is also in spectacularly good voice on this recording.
Elton John (ONR 31) is surprisingly OK in this piece, with a nice hint of savagery behind his delivery of the lyrics.
This song is among the top thirty Coward numbers in terms of current royalties earning potential (see Appendix 3).
ONR127: Al Bowlly + New Mayfair Orch. (1931)
NCR 09: (in medley) orch.cond. Ray Noble (1932)
NCR 40: + orch. cond./pno. acc. Peter Matz (1956)
ONR 25: Louise Gold & Liz Robertson acc. Carr (1994)
ONR128: Marianne Faithful (1996)
ONR 31: Elton John (1998)
ONR 28: Barbara Lea acc. Keith Ingham (1999)
ONR 12: Twiggy + combo. acc. Tom Fay (1999)

TWILIGHT
See Appendix 1.c

U and V

UNCLE HARRY

ORIGIN:
USE:

SOURCE:


NOTES:




















DISCOGRAPHY:

January 1944, Jamaica
Wartime troop concerts, etc;
Then interpolated into Pacific 1860, 1946 (to liven the show up a bit)
VS P1860
SA2
NCG2
NC had had a real Uncle Harry. He tells the story of the song’s emergence during his first, convalescent, visit to Jamaica: “The creative urge, seldom long in abeyance, reared its sprightly head again and I wrote a song called ‘Uncle Harry’. It was a gay song and I hammered it out interminably on Florence [Reed]’s piano until it was so firmly stamped on my memory that I knew I couldn’t forget it. I don’t suppose … the staff have forgotten it either.” (NCA p.461) In fact, reference to unpublished bits of the Noel Coward Diaries shows that idea of the song first emerged during a car journey before he had even left the USA, on January 11th; but that on Jan. 14th, in Jamaica, he “finished both music and words and typed it.” Norman Hackforth had a clear recollection of this song having been new and needing to be written down, early on during his time with NC in March 1944 in South Africa.
This is a mature narrative comedy song, so well known, and so typical of the Coward comedy style, that it seems superfluous to describe it. I suppose that in its subject-matter it may now feel a little dated; but the lack of recommended modern performances (see below) is not so much due to lack of recordings as due to lack of quality in the majority. Is it really such a difficult song to perform well?
The printed sheet-music is not to be relied on for performance. Apart from anything else it omits the repeated final refrain sections (“Poor Uncle Harry, after a chat with dear Aunt Mary…” and “Poor dear Aunt Mary, though it was revolutionary…”), without which the song is nonsensical. NCR 27 preserves some early alternative lyrics.
The song is currently among the top thirty Coward numbers in terms of royalties (see Appendix 3).
NCR 27: pno. acc. Norman Hackforth (1944)
OCR 13: Graham Payn + orch. (1946)
NCR 29: + Drury Lane orch. cond. Mantovani (Jan 1947)
NCR 30: + orch. cond. Mantovani (Jun 1947)
NCR 37: + Wally Stott orch. acc. Hackforth (1954)
NCR 38: + C. Hayes Orch., acc. Peter Matz (Jun 1955)
OCR 16: NC+orch. acc.Matz (Together With Music Oct1955)
ONR 30: Peter Grenwell (1995)

UP GIRLS AND AT 'EM
See BRITANNIA RULES THE WAVES

URSULINE
See Appendix 1.b

USEFUL PHRASES
(USELESS USEFUL PHRASES)

ORIGIN:
USE:
SOURCE:
NOTES:















DISCOGRAPHY:

1960
Sail Away 1961 (Elaine Stritch)
VS CC
A lyric fragment of this song survives among the notes of numbers intended for Later Than Spring. A strange forerunner to this piece, perhaps an unconscious inspiration, is 'English Lesson', Music No.8 from Conversation Piece (1934).
This is an unusual and idiosyncratic comedy song whose refrain breaks all the rules. The Verse section is a complex and entertaining jumble of elegant interior and line-end rhymes in a sort of parlando style. (I particularly enjoy “The gutteral wheeze of the Potugese/ Filled the brains of the Danes with horror/ And verbs, not lust, caused the final bust/ In Sodom and Gomorrah”.) You need something elegantly rhyming to go in front of the Refrain, which makes a feature of juxtaposing unrelated phrases of language as if from a phrase-book, while hanging onto the vestiges of form by making sure the main two pairs of lines have rhyming end words.
Rather like ‘Marvellous Party’, this is a song where the refrain, at least, requires an emphatically spoken approach, and the accompaniment is little more than a chordal prop for the words. It is very much an actor’s song, and some of the nonsensical ‘phrases’ are made funny only by fine “businesss” such as a suggestive pout or raised eyebrow. Peter Greenwell (ONR 25) is very good in this, and Stritch wonderfully acerbic on OCR 18.
NCR 43: + pno.acc. ?Werner (Apr 1961)
OCR 18: Elaine Stritch (Oct 1961)
NCR 45: + orch./acc. Peter Matz (Dec 1961)
OCR 19: Elaine Stritch (1962)
ONR 25: Peter Greenwell (1994)

VALSE (also POLKA)
See TEACH ME TO DANCE LIKE GRANDMA

VELASQUEZ
(PORTRAIT OF A LADY?)

ORIGIN:
USE:
SOURCE:

(possible origins in the 1920's)
Set To Music, 1938 (USA)
MUSIC LOST
M&M (p.114) tell us that this was a musical item, and a review in the New Yorker referred to this item as "a long song introducing a pretty but tedious dance". BD (p.198) thinks It is likely that the original title of this song was PORTRAIT OF A LADY, by which title NC himself referred to it on a lyric MS. As Velazquez was a portrait painter, the connection seems obvious. No lyric under the title 'Velazquez' exists in any archive.

VENICE
See Appendix 1.c

VICARAGE DANCE (THE)
See Appendix 1.e

VIOLET SELLER'S SONG
See Appendix 1.e

VIOLETS
See Appendix 1.b

 

 

 

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