Release Date: 09/15/09
It All Seemed So Easy. It Wasn't
Noel Coward was born in 1899, in Teddington near London, to middle-class parents. His mother was fiercely ambitious for him. At nine, Noel secured his first professional part, when he was engaged for an 'all-children fairy play'. The play soon folded, but soon he got a part in 'Where The Rainbow Ends' which had a decent run. Before his teens, he was the family's main breadwinner. Through the 1920s, he established himself as a capable and witty leading man, who also wrote plays, songs and glittering revues. In 1923 he appeared in his own show, 'London Calling' with Gertrude Lawrence. It ran for nearly a year. This, as much as anything, heralded his arrival. 1924 saw the first staging of 'The Vortex', a play about a family disintegrating around an addicted son. It has had many revivals. Later in the twenties he toured 'The Vortex' in America, wrote and directed This Year of Grace', a revue and wrote and directed 'Bitter Sweet' also starring Gertrude Lawrence. It ran for 617 performances. By the time 'Bitter Sweet' had been staged, the first of the recordings featured here had been made. From the first track, A Room With A View, we're hearing a fully evolved Coward. The clipped diction, the languid air, the semi-spoken lyric are all in position. This collection traces Coward's progress from his first stage hit, through to his first postwar recordings. On the way we encounter songs like Mad Dogs and Englishmen, The Stately Homes Of England, Mrs Worthington and London Pride that are now such 'standards' that their origins are often forgotten. Also included is the dialogue from 'Private Lives' ('...very flat, Norfolk...strange how potent cheap music is...) that has entered the language. Also featured are extracts from the cycle of short plays, 'Tonight At 8.30'. Most famously, 'Still Life' evolved into the film 'Brief Encounter'. By the final (1951) recording here, Coward was as famous in the US as he was in Britain. It's easy to see why.
|Label: Jsp Records|
|Genre: Adult Contemporary/MOR|
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