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Noel COWARD (1899-1973)
I’ll See You Again (1929)
Noel Coward with Wally Stott and his Orchestra plus Norman Hackforth (piano) singing his own songs: A Room with a view; Don’t put your daughter on the stage Mrs Worthingon; World Weary; Alice; Someday I’ll find you; Mad dogs and Englishmen; Poor little rich girl; Uncle Henry; I’ll see you again.
World Weary (1928)
Harry Noble, with Stuart Ross (piano), sings further songs by Noel Coward: Nina; I’ll follow my secret heart; Imagine the duchess’s feelings; Something to do with spring; Parisian pierrot; and Where are the songs we sung; plus Poor little rich girl; A room with a view and World weary.
From two LP recordings both from 1954 and restored and re-mastered by Alan Bunting
Here we have a delectable collection of nine Noel Coward songs. They are delivered by the old master himself in his own unmistakable laid-back manner, the voice languid, wittily cynical and world-weary.
The CD’s notes tell us that this original Philips recording comprised ‘the last Coward ever undertook in the UK’ and that ‘…it is doubtful whether the original LP made much impact at all; perhaps it was a bit slow coming out and then suffered in competition with the following year’s release of the LP made from the Las Vegas performances, failing to compete with the vigour and vim of live audience reaction, increased tempi and - the young accompanist and arranger Peter - Matz’s more zappy arrangements … Here we can hear Coward … with the polish of three seasons performing at the Café de Paris under his belt and the comfort of his most experienced and sympathetic accompanist (Norman Hackforth), but with new orchestrations by Wally Stott …’
Coward’s songs are mostly too well known to need comment: the oh so ironical – Don’t put your daughter on the stage Mrs Worthington ‘… please, I beg you on my knees Mrs Worthington, don’t put your daughter on the stage.’; and Mad Dogs and Englishmen ‘… go out in the mid-day sun …’ Then there is the wicked irony of Alice ‘… as to whether or not her intentions were pure, opinions were sharply divided …’, the languid tone of World Weary in which one wishes to get back to nature and relax, then there is the warning given to Poor Little Rich Girl – ‘… better beware the life you lead leaves your nerves a–jangle, your love affairs are in a hopeless tangle ...’. Then there is the warning about the temptations that beset Uncle Harry who ‘… is not a missionary now …’. The love songs A Room With A View and I’ll See you Again are delivered with Coward’s relaxed urbanity such that their sincerity is threatened.
Harry Noble, a keen admirer of Noel Coward, does not imitate the master but retains the spirit of the nine songs performed here with Stuart Ross’s accompaniment. Noble clearly enjoys the more skittish numbers. In Nina, who ‘knew all the answers’ he bends his voice to the Latin-American rhythms that lace this amusing number. Left wing politics are gently lampooned in Imagine the Duchess’s feelings ‘… when her youngest (son) turned Red … liked Lenin and sold The Daily Worker near the House of Lords.’ His rendering of the love songs follows Coward’s languid manner.
A delight for keen Coward fans.
Ian Lace
A delight for keen Coward fans.

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