M Titles

M

MAD ABOUT THE BOY

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(1931)
Words And Music, 1932 (Joyce Barbour, Norah Howard, Steffi Dunn, Doris Hare)
Sep.Publ.
Vocal Score Words And Music
NCSB
NCG1
Vocal Score Cowardy Custard
Note: with the exception of the Vocal Score, all the above published the Society Woman/Street Walker’s verses and refrains only; the vocal score is the only source for 1) the music accompanying the Society Woman’s conversation with her friend before her Verse begins, 2) the Schoolgirl’s ‘Homework’ Verse, 3) the Cockney Woman’s Verse.
Blues-y Torch Song. The Society Woman’s verse and refrain is the part of this which has become the ‘standard’ song.
Long before its emergence as the pre-eminently known and performed song in the Coward catalogue, critical musicians were apt to consider this among his finest songs. CP, for example, called it “... a very powerful and personal statement, shot through with a raw intensity of emotion and with that kind of despairing eloquence characteristic of the best blues of Harold Arlen.” BG said "Neither Hart nor Porter would have been ashamed to own to the skill of ‘Mad About The Boy’. NC himself commented, “I have always been very attached to this number. The refrain remains constant, with different lyrics, but the verses vary and are, I think, musically interesting, particularly the “schoolgirl” verse which is begun against an accompaniment of five-finger exercises.” [NCSB]
Part of the song’s appeal and effect lies in its unusual harmonic setting. At the start of the refrain, for example, NC persistently delays the establishing of the home key: you expect it, if not at the beginning then at least in bar 3, instead of which the opening phrase is repeated, and you are given no resolution until the fifth bar. As soon as this is given, the ascending scale notes in the melody cut right through the sinews of the minor tonality on a major sixth and major seventh, and this anguished effect is strengthened by the blues-y ambiguity of major-minor with the phrase’s resolution in bars 6-7. The main climax is particularly taut, throbbing with an almost unresolvable agony, it seems, effected by the three repeated high minor thirds over chromatically-shifting harmonies. A satisfactory sense of forward movement through the refrain can be explained by the fact that the three similar refrain phrases each end on a different, higher note than the one before. The song’s “middle 8” section is built from phrases of falling notes, each phrase running lower than the one before. Not only do the first two have unexpected ending notes, but the third, providing perfect balance, extends its ending as we approach the dominant cadence leading back to the main tune. These are all little things in themselves, but they add up to contribute to a great whole.
Bea Lillie's recordings (OCR 11, two separate recordings), are of the Cockney and Schoolgirl verses respectively, and both include the only known recorded uses of their long introductory sections (see Source notes above). Peter Greenwell's (ONR 30) is the only commercial recording to include the extra fifth refrain, as sung by a pin-stripe-suited businessman: "When I told my wife,/ She said, 'I've never heard such nonsense in my life!'/ Her lack of sympathy embarassed me/ And made me frankly glad about the boy." Intended for inclusion in Set To Music, it was suppressed on account of being thought "too daring" at the time. The same sort of thing applied a few years later with I WONDER WHAT HAPPENED TO HIM? (q.v.).
The recent recording by Marianne Faithfull (ONR 31) is in many ways a more comfortable interpretation than Cleo Laine's (ONR 32), and Joyce Grenfell’s cockneyisms (ONR 24) are really rather embarassing and better avoided altogether. The vocal style of Dinah Shore's blues-y 1947 performance (ONR 83a) is a remarkable foretaste of another Dinah (Washington) of thirty+ years later. DS is certainly less wayward than DW in her treatment of the melodic line, and some would consider DS’s “straighter” rendition the superior. (ONR 83a would in fact be my own personal choice over all other recordings of this number.)
Despite having averred that he never performed it himself [NCD, 10 Nov.1955], an archival recording of NC singing this song was recently discovered, which was a test pressing for HMV but which was rejected for release on the grounds of the voice being "too weak". [see Alan Farley in Home Chat, Dec. 2002.] It is now commercially available on NCR 10 (2003). It sounds probable that NC here provides his own piano accompaniment - if so, it is the only known available example of Coward the pianist.
At the time of compiling this index, this title qualifies as the pre-eminent royalties earner in the Coward repertoire, mostly on account of ONR 86’s recent wide use in various TV commercials across Europe. Dinah Washington takes, it may be said, some liberties with putting together the lyric with the melody, but one can forgive her almost anything for the taut aptness of her performance, and she has doubtless been forgiven by the Coward Estate on account of the song's subsequent rocketing to a previously unheard-of pinnacle of general popularity. At the moment it has a substantial lead in earnings over 'I'll See You Again', which is probably still over time NC’s “top” number (see Appendix 3). The song was recently (summer 2004) featured as the subject of the lead programme in the BBC Radio 4 series Soul Music – that’s how ubiquitous it has become!
NCR 10: NC with (own?) piano accompt. (Sept 1932)
ONR 82: Cecile Petrie + Carroll Gibbons band (Sept 1932)
ONR 83: Gertrude Lawrence acc. Claude Ivy (Oct 1932)
ONR 08: Elsie Carlisle + Rudy Starita band (Nov 1932)
OCR 11: Beatrice Lillie, pno. acc. Will Irwin (1939)
ONR 24: Joyce Grenfell + Harry Acres orch. (Mar 1947)
ONR 83a: Dinah Shore + Sonny Burke orch. (Aug 1947)
ONR 29: Georges Tzipine orch. (1954?)
ONR 32: Cleo Laine + orch. (1965)
ONR 07: (various artists) (Cowardy Custard, 1972)
ONR 84: Irene Krall + Loonis McGlohon Trio (1977)
ONR 85: Julie London + orch. (date unknown)
ONR 86: Dinah Washington + orch. (date unknown)
ONR 30: Peter Greenwell (1995)
ONR 31: Marianne Faithful (1998)
ONR 12: Twiggy/Harry Groener (1999)
ONR 28: Barbara Lea acc. Keith Ingham (1999)

MAD DOGS AND ENGLISHMEN

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DISCOGRAPHY:

(March-April) 1930 during car journey from Haiphong to Saigon (Vietnam) [NCA]
Intended for Cochran's 1931 Revue, but kept back for...
The Third Little Show (Broadway) 1931 (Bea Lillie)
Words and Music, 1932
Sep.Publ. (1931)
NCSB
SA2
STA
NCG1
Vocal Score Cowardy Custard
NCR (in Eb)
Possibly this is the most tautly-constructed high-speed comedy list-song ever composed. The Opening Chorus for the number as presented in Words and Music was PLANTERS' WIVES (q.v.)
The song was composed almost immediately after the creation of Private Lives, which presumably included at least the idea for 'Someday I'll Find You’, so it was quite a musically-fertile as well as dramatically-fertile period of travel. This complex song is all the more remarkable for having been composed entirely in his head possibly without pen and paper, and certainly without a piano.
It is obviously, gloriously lyrically special, from the first words onwards, with a tumble of interior and end-of-line rhymes which often overlap or come together, sometimes repeating themselves (and always with their own little rhythmic/melodic tags). Among other things which make it musically original are the sudden keychange in the Verse from C minor into E and back again just as precipitously, the “lift” provided by the varied ending given to the second eight-bar section of the refrain (“...But Englishmen detest a / Siesta”), and the further variation and extension of this main phrase at the conclusion of each Refrain (“...and no further work is done,/ But mad dogs...”).
NCR 37 has a better – i.e. plainer - accompaniment than some other options, and also shows how the entire first phrase was originally in the minor key - later recordings go into the major tonality on “day”, the last word of the first line. Kenneth Williams is surprisingly good on ONR 32 despite needlessly fussy orchestrations - but then he was a great fan of NC, was hugely flattered and excited to be asked to do it and approached the recordings with reverence [see The Kenneth Williams Diaries, Ed. Davies, HarperCollins, 1993]. The recording by another “funny man”, Danny Kaye, is probably better avoided: while it is not quite as mannered as some of his recordings, many will find his vocal arabesques irritating. To be dazzled by verbal dexterity at amazing speed NCR 38 cannot be bettered, and there is no clearer demonstration than this of how an excellent sense of rhythm is essential: NC and his accompanist Peter Matz each know exactly where the beat is, however much the accompaniment may be drowned by gales of audience laughter, and it allows NC to take wonderful liberties with placing of lyrics, because he always anticipates exactly where he can re-join the beat. In the final refrain, listen to how he delays the words “...there is peace from twelve till two/ Even caribous lie around and snooze/ For there’s nothing else to do,”. The final ending, where “out in the midday” is repeated five times over differently-pitched Bb7/9 chords, was an early and apt addition to NC’s own performances, though never printed, and most performers now copy this model.
Cole Porter remarked to NC after one of the Las Vegas performances that it was the only time he had ever heard anyone sing a song straight through in one breath. He was joking, of course, but you see the point of the joke.
This song ranks third in the list of top Coward royalty earners today (see Appendix 3).
NCR 10: acc. Ray Noble (1932)
ONR 87: Rudy Vallee & His Connecticut Yankees (1937)
NCR 30: + orch. Mantovani (1947)
ONR 88: Danny Kaye + orch. (1947)
NCR 36: acc. Norman Hackforth (June, 1954)
NCR 37: acc. Norman Hackforth + orch. (July, 1954)
NCR 38: + orch/pno. acc. Peter Matz (Las Vegas, Jun 1955)
OCR 16: NC + P. Matz orch.(Together With Music Oct 1955)
NCR 40: (in medley) pno. acc. Peter Matz (1956)
ONR 32: Kenneth Williams + orch. (1965)
ONR 30a: Dennis Olsen + orch. (1981)
ONR 88a: Dennis Olsen acc. Malcolm Tapscott (1998)
ONR 18: Michael Law (1999)

MADELINE
See Appendix 1.c

MAGGIE
See OPENING CHORUS (Words And Music)

MAKE WAY FOR THEIR EXCELLENCIES

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(1946)
Pacific 1860, 1946
Publ. Vocal Score
Short 4-part chorus number in simple four-bar phrases, a sort of vocal fanfare sung at the arrival of the Governor of Samolo and his wife. The music is more than a simple fanfare, being fairly richly-harmonised and with much use of “dominant seventh” chords which at times give a sense of ambiguity about where the home key lies.

MALTA

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(1937-ish)
unused
Unpubl. MS (no lyrics)
The MS for this was discovered in an envelope of material otherwise specified for Tonight at 8.30 and Operette, hence the rough dating above. No lyrics are given on the MS and BD in his researches found no trace of any lyrics to match the music.
The music (Elsie April’s MS) is a well-finished jaunty, syncopated 32-bar refrain in D, which clearly had a light-hearted or comedy lyric attached.

MAN WHO CAUGHT THE BIGGEST SHRIMP, THE

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(1932)
Words And Music, 1932
Publ. Vocal Score
(Part of THE HALL OF FAME, q.v.) The music is a very marked 16-bar moderato.

MAN WHO ROWED ACROSS LAKE WINDERMERE IN AN INDIARUBBER BATH, THE

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(1932)
Words And Music, 1932
Publ. Vocal Score
(Part of THE HALL OF FAME, q.v.) There are three quick verses of lyrics set to a jaunty 16-bar 6/8 melody with a slightly peculiar sense of key.

MARIE ANTOINETTE
See MIDNIGHT MATINEE

MARQUISE
See BALLET- THE LEGEND OF THE LILY

MARRIAGE IS A FATAL CURSE
See Appendix 1.c

MARRIAGE IS THE GAME FOR ME
See Appendix 1.c

MARY MAKE BELIEVE

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DISCOGRAPHY:

1927: in plans for abortive musical play Star Dust [see BD]
This Year Of Grace, 1928 (Jessie Matthews + chorus)
Sep.Publ. 1928
Vocal Score TYOG
NCG2
Second musical item in the Act I opening sketch 'The Tube', which starts with the number WAITING IN A QUEUE (q.v.)
The version printed in NCG2 changes the key from Db to Eb, and fails to make explicit that the fast chorus counterpoint and the refrain were designed to be combined.
This well-written song’s verse section demonstrates some subtleties of enharmonic modulation, principally at “She had such terribly pedantic dreams/ That her romantic schemes - went all awry”, and the slow-note refrain nicely mirrors the dreamy attitude of the song’s subject. It is only when the refrain is repeated that the syncopated Gershwinesque counterpoint is introduced, adding a sort of frantic explanatory commentary to the otherwise wistful melody. It’s an inspired and engaging invention, especially since NC seldom attempted anything similar.
NCR 02: Orch. cond./acc. Carroll Gibbons (Apr 1928)
OCR 04: (in medley) Orch.cond. Ernest Irving (1928)
ONR 23: Ian Bostridge acc. Jeffrey Tate (2002)

MATADOR
See Appendix 1.c

MATELOT

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London, 20-24 June 1945 [NCD]
Sigh No More, 1945 (Graham Payn)
also included in The Lyric and Globe Revue, Royal Court Theatre, Liverpool, 6 Apr. 53 for one week.
Sep.Publ.
NCSB
NCG1
Ballad. This number replaced Norman Hackforth's 'It Couldn't Matter Less' during rehearsals. Graham Payn gives an account of this in GP [pp.31-32]. NCD shows that composition started in the evening of 20 June (“Bed early with a new idea for a song for Graham in my head”), was still continuing on the 23rd when he “worked with Lorn on the lyric of ‘Matelot’” and later “worked on the verse”, and was finished the next day “just before lunch”. The original stage concept included a dance, which lasted all of three days before being cut.
So it is clear that, for some of his songs including this one, work and effort was needed before everything fell into place. It was only rarely the case that things fell fully-formed into his lap. But in the end, the song sounds so “natural” that it is hard to imagine it being melded and worked together from disparate pieces.
The start of the refrain melody has a simple openness which is reminiscent of an old folksong. Its second phrase, in the course of modulating to the relative minor key, introduces harmonic tensions (e.g. an Eb sung briefly above a chord containing E natural) and is formed from two beautifully-balanced half-phrases; a new third phrase stays in the minor key and wafts the melody to new heights for the emotional climax of the song, a short, high descending scale passage, briefly repeated with a single note changed by a semitone, which is also the moment of integrated confusion between the length of lyric lines, their rhymes and resolutions. It leads back to a re-statement of the main melody in the tonic minor key, whose final return to the major in its closing notes is well-judged. The verse section of the song is pretty good too, with beautiful internal rhymes, and melodic lines with considerable range and a natural sense of cadence.
While there is no doubt that it is a remarkable composition, it is likely that NC’s attitude to this song was coloured by the fact that it was composed for and sung by Graham Payn, and therefore particularly special to him. On the opening night, 11th July, he noted that “Graham’s singing of ‘Matelot’ was the high spot of the evening”, and when the show closed in February 1956 he commented that “apart from ‘Matelot’, [I] said goodbye to [Sigh No More] without a pang.”[NCD]. He also called his dog Matelot, and was devastated when it died the following year. Norman Hackforth, with some of his own material in the show, also remembered clearly how NC had reacted unusually temperamentally “as a result of hearing on the radio a vocal rendering of ‘Matelot’ at a tempo to which he took exception. It seems that he picked up the telephone, called Teddy Holmes (the Director of Light Music at Chappell’s), pulverized him for several minutes ... and ended by saying: ...“I absolutely forbid any further performance on the radio of my songs from the revue, without my express permission.” [NH] Perhaps an idiotic thing to do, since radio was the only possible means of exploitation for the songs in the show; but even Chappell’s couldn’t argue with NC, and NH suffered too, because it was more than Holmes’s life was worth to plug NH’s songs when the rest of the score was banned.
This explains why there are no contemporaneous recordings of this or any other pieces from SNM other than GP’s and NC’s own. We do not think GP’s vocal quality is in terribly good form in ONR 24, and personally I cringe at ONR 32. Why, I ask, is the ONR Discographical list for this song so limited? It seems to me to be a piece which cries out to be performed by seriously good singers! (And it certainly should not be attempted by anyone of unsure vocal tone.)
OCR 12: Graham Payn + Mantovani Orch. (14 Sep. 1945)
NCR 28: Piccadilly Th. Orch. cond. Mantovani (14 Sep.1945)
ONR 24: Graham Payn + Harry Acres Orch. (1947)
NCR 38: + C. Hayes orch./acc. Peter Matz (1955)
ONR 32: Cleo Laine + orch. (1965)
ONR 05: Bobby Short (1972)
ONR 15: King's Singers (1977)
ONR 25: David Kernan acc. Jason Carr (1994)

MAUDIE
See Appendix 1.b

MAUDIE GOLIGHTLY
See Appendix 1.c

MAY I HAVE THE PLEASURE?

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(1953)
After The Ball, 1954 (Graham Payn, Irene Browne, Patricia Cree)
Unpubl. MS
extract in publ. pno. sel. (arr. Felton Rapley)
The LADY AGATHA POLKA is a further part of the same dramatic sequence, the actual dance which this song sets up. Mr Hopper, smitten with the young Lady Agatha, asks to dance with her, while her mother (the Duchess) makes ironic interspersions.
It is a clever and concise piece of musical setting. Mr Hopper’s passages convey his sense of boyish eagerness using melodies which keep tumbling into rushing quavers, compacting the lyric rhymes and making rhythmic play with the lyric of “one two three, one two three, one two three” syncopated across a 4/4 beat. The Duchess’s little interspersions demand a parlando style, and introduce a typical wry Cowardian note of pleasantry. The result is that this piece is rather more effective and memorable than the restrained emotion of most of the arias and soliloquies that surround it. Graham Payn was very charming in this.
OCR 15: Graham Payn & Irene Brown (1954)
ONR 22: Laurence Harvey (1968)
ONR 00: Greg Mills & Kathleen Widdoes (2005)

MEDLEY
See:
1. BITTER SWEET BAND MEDLEY (Hylton) ONR 08
2. CABARET MEDLEY (Hackforth) separate entry
3. COWARDY CUSTARD MEDLEY/CLOSING MEDLEY ONR 07
4. EPILOGUE AND MEDLEY (CAVALCADE) NCR 09
5. HMV 1932 MEDLEY (Noble) NCR 09
6. LAS VEGAS MEDLEY (Matz) NCR 38
7. NEW YORK MEDLEY 1933 (Reisman) NCR 11
8. NEW YORK MEDLEY (Matz) NCR 40
9. PROLOGUE AND MEDLEY (CAVALCADE) NCR 07
10. THIS YEAR OF GRACE MEDLEY OCR 04
11. TOGETHER WITH MUSIC MEDLEY OCR 16
12. WALTZ MEDLEY NCR 26 & 30
13. WORDS AND MUSIC MEDLEY (Noble) ONR 08

MELANIE'S ARIA
(PLUS DE COEUR DISCRET)

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(1933)
Conversation Piece, 1934 (Yvonne Printemps)
Publ. Vocal Score
The aria at the end of Act II in which Melanie reveals the truth that her secret heart yearns for Paul.
Apart from displaying NC’s wonderful command of the French language, this is an exquisite and lyrical operatic aria. Musically it contains many of NC’s hallmarks - the sideways slip into a mediant key, unexpected intervals and ending-notes at the ends of phrases, dominant chords with added chromatic harmonies - and he also engineers an effective counter-melody in the accompaniment for the second singing of the refrain theme.
It is a piece which could not be further away in style from lyric comedy pieces for which NC is most well-known, and is therefore an excellent example of his compositional range.
OCR 08/NCR 12: Yvonne Printemps & NC (1934)
ONR 06: L. Pons & R. Burton + orch. cond. Engel (1951)
ONR 14: Joan Sutherland + orch. (1966)
ONR 30a: June Bronhill + orch. (1981)

MELANGE
See SWEET DAY

MELOS

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(1937)
Operette, 1938 (incidental Music: Nos. 8a, 10a in Act I & Nos. 16, 18 in Act II)
Publ. Vocal Score
We list these for the sake of completeness. Do not go rushing off to the vocal score in pursuit of forgotten musical gems. They are all more or less short, innocuous and unremarkable.

MEME LES ANGES

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(1922?)
Fallen Angels (play), 1923 (Julia's song)
Unpubl. MS
The song comes quite early in Act I, just after the departure of Fred and Willy; there is the stage direction: "Julia begins to sing lightly". It also recurs right at the end of the play - there is the sound of music in the apartment above, and Maurice's voice can be heard singing the last phrase of the song, "Je t'aime, je t'aime, je t'aime".
The song may well have preceded and provided the play’s title, since its opening lyrics are: “Meme les Anges succombent a l’amour” - ‘Even angels fall in love’. Personally I find it hard to believe that the play somehow came to be titled ‘Fallen Angels’ and that the song’s French lyrics were later designed to tie in with this title. But now there is no certainty which was the chicken and which the egg. We do not know who wrote down the MS, but it is certainly not in Elsie April’s hand, and may therefore be earlier than 1923. However, doubt as to the early origins of the song start to creep into ones mind on account of moments of quite “advanced” chromatic harmonisations and an unusually (for that period of NC’s work) neat and pianistic accompaniment.
An odd situation exists with this song, as NC's own music for the song has not been heard in recent years. The Estate archives apparently lost the song for a time, and it was then rediscovered in the early 1990’s and carefully noted and filed by Joan Hirst. However, by then various people had obviously got fed up with the non-appearance of the original and had decided to compose new music, and there is at least one version with music by someone else which also ended up in the Coward Estate archives. Even for the recent successful "centenary" London production of Fallen Angels (starring Felicity Kendal and Frances de la Tour), the song had new music composed by Ewan Anderson.
Coward's original is neat, gentle and romantic, and has some stylistic similarities with ‘Melanie’s Aria’ from Conversation Piece, particularly the fact that the melody rests on the sharpened fifth of the dominant seventh chord in its second bar.

MEMORIES
See Appendix 1.c

MEN ABOUT TOWN

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(1935)
Tonight At 8.30: Red Peppers (UK Mar.36; USA Nov.36)
(NC & Gertrude Lawrence)
Sep.publ.
NCG1
Vocal Score Cowardy Custard (in medley)
NCR
Pastiche music-hall “swells” number. The stage ending of this number (and of the play itself), where the music goes too fast for their complicated tap dance and leads to the Peppers’ complete collapse, was inspired by NC's stepping into the breach at short notice to conduct the orchestra for a performance of Words and Music in 1932, when his choice of an inappropriately fast tempo for SOMETHING TO DO WITH SPRING meant that the performers, Joyce Barbour and John Mills, "staggered off the stage cursing and exhausted." [NCA]
It is a very convincing pastiche and also in itself a very well-constructed little song. And, remarkably, both this song and its partner from the show, HAS ANYBODY SEEN OUR SHIP?, rank among the top thirty Coward royalty earners today (see Appendix 3).
OCR 09/NCR 15 & 16: Gertrude Lawrence & NC (1936)
ONR 20: Patricia Hodge & Lewis Fiander (1986)
ONR 12: Twiggy & Harry Groener (1999)

MEN'S GOODNIGHT SONG
See GOOD EVENING, LADY WINDERMERE

MERMAN'S SONG
See SONGS OF THE SEA

MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR, THE

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DISCOGRAPHY:

Probably 1945. It appeared shortly before Sigh No More opened in London (it replaced a non-Coward item that played at Manchester)
Sigh No More, 1945 (Madge Elliot & other ladies)
Extract only in publ. Pno.Sel. (arr. Robb Stewart)
Complete song unpubl.MS
This is a varied, lengthy and well-worked comedy song of some substance, whose theme is a favourite of NC’s: “charming ladies secretly yearning” for more thrills of an amorous nature than their genteel (and married!) English life generally allows. NC describes it as “a Victorian number” on his brief spoken introduction to ONR 89.
We say the song is “probably” 1945. I would say this certainly applies to the lyrics but not necessarily to the music. The archive MS is in an unknown hand which is not Robb Stewart’s or Norman Hackforth’s (who wrote down the other Sigh No More material), but with the lyrics and indications of casting (lines shared between ‘Mrs Macadoo’ and ‘All’) added in Hackforth’s hand. The unknown MS hand also produced FRENCH SONG, which we guess to originate c.1943. The piece opens with a 32-bar andante in 6/8 in which the ladies abandon their facades in passages of arpeggiaic quavers and much interior rhyming; a 20-bar allegretto follows, sharing the material between solo and others, leading to the refrain (44 bars), which is a polka. There are two verses of refrain lyrics.
The recording below, for solo voice, cuts out the allegretto section. It is the only known recording ever made of this song, and is sadly not generally available (see note in Discography Appendix 4.c).
ONR 89: Joyce Grenfell + Mantovani orch. (1947)

MEXICO

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(1928) Cut from TYOG before London
In Manchester by Sonnie Hale (Act II, No.17)
MUSIC LOST
Lyrics in published script of Cochran's 1928 Revue (TYOG’s title before London)
On being cut, it was replaced by CABALLERO, but ‘Caballero’ itself was then dropped, before later being reinstated (q.v.).

MIDDLE AGE
See HOW DO YOU DO, MIDDLE AGE

MIDNIGHT MATINÉE
(Words And Music, 1932)
See separate Entries for:
1. OPENING CHORUS
2. PAGEANT OF BYGONE ENCHANTRESSES

MIRABELLE WALTZ
See LOVER OF MY DREAMS

MISS MOUSE

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DISCOGRAPHY:

(1960)
Waiting In The Wings (1960) (Norah Blaney)
WW folio of songs (1962)
All the WW songs were pastiches of one sort or another (c.1900 popular/theatre songs). This occurs as part of a sequence of short songs in Act III Sc.1, when the aged theatrical residents of ‘The Wings’ have an impromptu celebration of some good news, and champagne is broached. Maud, at the piano, plays and sings this 16-bar point-number refrain, “Won’t you come and live in my house, Miss Mouse?”.
ONR 07: Una Stubbs (Cowardy Custard, 1972)

MODEL MAID, THE
See OPENING CHORUS (Operette)

MONKEYS
See Appendix 1.b

MORGANATIC WIFE
See Appendix 1.a under IF YOU WILL BE MY MORGANATIC WIFE

MOST OF EV'RY DAY

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1934
not linked to any show.
Sep. Publ. (1934)
A sort of torch song. A declaration of love, certainly, for a desperately-missed ex-lover. And, thereby, an unusual song in the NC catalogue. It is also unusual in achieving publication as sheet-music despite not being linked to any exposure beyond ONR 08 and NCR 13. Clearly, it is a song which meant something to NC himself and which he made efforts to expose. Brian Rust notes in his The Complete Entertainment Discography from 1897 to 1942, Second Edition that Coward recorded it on 26 Oct 1934 (rejected) and then again on 29 October 1934 (issued).
It’s a song with quite a sad, modal feeling, using some of the same whole-tone harmonic relationships which give a similar moody, shifting character to ‘Half Caste Woman’. This shifting harmonic sense starts right at the beginning of the verse section (“Time makes a mess of things”) and is also echoed in the very closing phrase of the whole piece. Indeed, overall it is a piece which seems to have some trouble fixing on a home key. The verse starts in Ab, shifts into Bb and then makes Bb the dominant lead to the refrain in Eb, which moves into Gb halfway through its second phrase. The “middle eight” phrase starts in Ab minor, and what it does after that forms an extraordinary chromatic modulation back to Eb for the last phrase. All this means that there is an air of bewilderment and directionlessness, which carries and illuminates the lyrics very well. A sprightly little whole-tone “fill” between phrases in the verse section and a bar of consecutive semitonal chords are very precisely notated. (NC uses the latter also in the verse section of ‘World Weary’ on “buildings seem to grow so high”.)
ONR 08: Fred Lathom + Jack Jackson orch. (25 Oct 1934)
NCR 13: acc. Carroll Gibbons (29 Oct 1934)
ONR 90: Steve Ross (1987)
ONR 22: Ann Hampton Callaway (1990)
ONR 05a: Steve Ross (2004)

MOTHER AND DAUGHTER

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London, March/April 1945__
Sigh No More, 1945 (Gwen Bateman and Jay O’Neill)
MUSIC LOST
Although this number came into the programme after the start of the run [at Act I No.5, replacing Norman Hackforth's 'Loch Lomond' (see Appendix 1.e), which was transposed to Act I No.10], unpublished Diaries extracts clearly imply that the song pre-dated some reworking on the tune on April 8th-9th and its completion on the 11th.
The setting of the piece is a reproduction of a full page in the Illustrated London News, c.1905, which suggests that the piece may be a period pastiche. It has a legthy duet lyric (see BD), parts of which would seem to suggest a 6/8 tempo. An odd loss.

MOTHER'S COMPLAINT

ORIGIN:
USE:

SOURCE:

NOTES:

(1927)
This Year Of Grace, 1928 (Joan Clarkson, Madge Aubrey, Betty Shale & Ann Codrington)
(Words Publ. NCSL 1931)
Vocal Score TYOG
Revue quartet. A further part of the sketch THE ENGLISH LIDO (q.v.)
Two 20-bar refrains in 6/8 (in Eb, what a surprise) about the horrors of an English seaside holiday (frightful weather, disgusting food and sand in the bed). The punchline is, “And if this is pleasure, we’d rather be dead”.

MOTHER'S LAMENT

ORIGIN:
USE:
SOURCE:
NOTES:



DISCOGRAPHY:

(1946)
Pacific 1860, 1946 (Maidie Andrews, Gwen Bateman & Rose Hignell)
Vocal Score P1860
3 verses of lyrics to a short 12-bar refrain in 4/4, which is almost in the straightforward melodic and harmonic style of a Madrigal from a Gilbert & Sullivan operetta. The ladies are as a matter of fact pissed off with increasing age and a sense of uselessness.
OCR 13: Rose Hignell, Maidie Andrews, Gwen Bateman (1946)

MOTHERS AND WIVES

ORIGIN:
USE:

SOURCE:
NOTES:

(1933)
Cut from Conversation Piece, 1934 (Act III, Sc.1, originally after THERE’S ALWAYS SOMETHNG FISHY ABOUT THE FRENCH)
MUSIC LOST. For lyrics see BD.
Quartet. Still in text, though not in the score (or the production).
[Ref. M&M p.268]

MR HOPPER'S CHANTY

ORIGIN:
USE:
SOURCE:
NOTES:








DISCOGRAPHY:

ORIGIN: October? 1953
USE: After The Ball, 1954 (Act I No.4) (Graham Payn, Tom Gill, Dennis Bowen)
SOURCE: Unpubl. MS
Extract in publ. Pno. Sel. (arr. Felton Rapley)
NOTES: Sea-shanty style witty point number that only almost works. Snatches of the setting are reminiscent of bits of the ‘Helston Floral Dance’. Now very politically incorrect, it’s all about Mr Hopper's wild aboriginal background, which he tells interspersed with interjections (“Haul away”, “Steady, old man, fair play!”) from the other men. However, it is a piece with considerable lyric strength (and, incidentally, five keychanges in the course of its first 40 bars).
OCR 15: Graham Payn, Dennis Bowen & Tom Gill (1954)
ONR 00: Greg Mills &c. (2005)

MRS 'ARRIS

ORIGIN:
USE:
SOURCE:
NOTES:

(1922) included on an early draft for London Calling!
Unused
Unpubl. MS. Refrain lyrics in BD.
This is the final title of a piece originally called IT'S ALL VERY PRETTY (taken from some of the lyrics), intended for Maisie Gay. It is by no means an isolated example of a song being referred to by two different names at two different times.
The music MS was preserved without lyrics (quite common), which were found elsewhere and which are a perfect match for what the MS presents as the refrain. Lyrics for the verse section have not been found. From the (three quick 32-bar verses of) Refrain lyrics the subject and point of the number are a little obscure - they present three different “punchlines” for topics which were, clearly, set up in the Verse section. The point in all cases seems to be puncturing some idealised scenario, and the refrains all start “It was all very pretty” and end “So I don’t think I liked it after all.”
The piece is an up-tempo 3/4, really one of those rum-te-tum 6/8 comedy numbers.

MRS ERLYNNE'S ARIA
See WHAT CAN IT MEAN?

MRS ERLYNNE'S ENTRANCE
See GOOD EVENING, LADY WINDERMERE

MRS ERLYNNE'S MELOS

ORIGIN:
USE:
SOURCE:
NOTES:

(late-1953)
After the Ball, 1954 (Act II, No.14)
MS Vocal Score Unpubl.
Voices over music. It is not clear whether the music survived the reorganisation of the show.

MRS WORTHINGTON
(DON'T PUT YOUR DAUGHTER ON THE STAGE, MRS. WORTHINGTON)

ORIGIN:







USE:
SOURCE:







NOTES:










































DISCOGRAPHY:

ORIGIN: SM1, p.175 places the composition to late-1933, England, but this is not altogether reliable.
As the song was copyrighted and recorded in 1935, we are unfortunately unable to rely on Coward's own observations about the origins of this song [written 1943 in MED], that it was inspired on board a boat sailing from Singapore in 1936. One doesn't doubt that it was a boat, but there were several such trips before 1935 and it is difficult to assume any particular one.
Troop concerts, etc.
Sep.Publ. 1935
CPA1
SA1
NCSB
SA2
STA
NCG1
Vocal Score Cowardy Custard
Angela Fox, née Worthington [d. December 1999] always claimed that she had been NC's model for the song; but Fox's sister Yvonne Crichton said that their mother "never met Noël Coward, and he did not know of the existence of Angela Worthington". The story was, she said, merely "one of the many untruths that my sister repeated so many times that she ended up believing it herself." [Daily Telegraph, 14 Dec. 99]
This is such a good comedy song it is hardly surprising that it succeeded in becoming a 'standard' on the strength only of Coward's own recording (NCR 14), publication of the sheet-music and various concert performances. It is also so well-known that too much description seems superfluous. However, it is worth noting that the musical construction is certainly no simplistic rhythmic 'peg' for the lyrics.
Each of the four 8-bar phrases of the Refrain is musically distinct, while varying and extending the same rhythmic patterns. The many interior rhymes within phrases all have their own melodic/rhythmic “tags”, while the strength of the extended structure is provided by rhymes for ‘stage’ at the ends of phrases three and four. The third phrase of the Refrain does pass briefly through F and G minors before coming home again to Eb, but most of the song stays pretty close to the home key, apart from a glorious shift into Gb in the third phrase of the Verse.
It is also a good example of a song which starts with a refrain before a verse section is "inserted" (the more conventional song construction being to open with a verse section which leads up to the refrain), the Verse being no lame duck but an integral part of the song's whole dynamic and tautness. It is a shame that public sensibilities for a very long time kept the fourth refrain ("That sufficed, Mrs Worthington, CHRIST! Mrs Worthington!") unknown, since the song's whole psychology, explicitly expounded by Norman Hackforth (and one assumes from the horse's mouth) is for there to be a gradual increase in exasperation throughout the song, from genuine politeness at the start to clenched teeth and "tearing bloody rage" by the end of the fourth refrain. This is well-demonstrated by Dennis Olsen on ONR 90a.
Hermione Gingold recorded a song called TIT FOR TAT (written by Robb Stewart and Neville Phillips, probably in the 1950’s) couched as a response from Mrs Worthington to Noël Coward. It is on the Lp La Gingold, issued by drg Records in 1983, MRS 902.
NC is chatty and the spoken voicings are very well judged on NCR 37 - the best of his own recordings. Kenneth Williams on ONR 32 is (maybe surprisingly) the best since Coward himself. We list briefly here only the really worthwhile interpretations - there are quite a few more not as worthwhile.
This song ranks about ninth in the list of top Coward royalty earners today (see Appendix 3).
NCR 14: + orch. cond. Clifford Greenwood (1935)
NCR 30: + orch. cond. Mantovani (1947)
NCR 37: + orch, acc. Norman Hackforth (1954)
ONR 32: Kenneth Williams + orch. (1965)
ONR 20: Lewis Fiander acc. Blezard (1986)
ONR 30: Peter Greenwell (1995)
ONR 90a: Dennis Olsen acc. Malcolm Tapscott (1998)
ONR 12: Harry Groener acc. Tom Fay (1999)
ONR 09a: Michael Law (2002)
ONR 05a: Steve Ross (2004)

MUSIC BOX
see LET THE ANGELS GUIDE YOU

MUSICAL MEMORIES
See Appendix 1.c

MY DEAR MISS DALE
Also known as LETTER SCENE

ORIGIN:
USE:
SOURCE:
NOTES:

(1937)
Operette, 1938 (Muriel Barron & chorus)
Publ. Vocal Score
The scene depicts the arrival of the Duchess of Trenton with a letter to Mary Dale (one of the cast of ‘The Model Maid’) from her son, breaking their planned elopement. The music starts behind the voices (a few bars of ‘Dearest Love’), continues with a sort of recitative as Mary reads out some of the letter, and finishes with a five-part humming chorus. At least, that is all that is given in the vocal score. The text says firmly: “The chorus softly sings a melody, bouche fermée - Mary sings against it”, and shows a further ten lines of lyrics.

MY DEAR MISS DALE
Also known as LETTER SCENE

ORIGIN:
USE:
SOURCE:
NOTES:
DISCOGRAPHY:

(1937)
Operette, 1938 (Muriel Barron & chorus)
Publ. Vocal Score
The scene depicts the arrival of the Duchess of Trenton with a letter to Mary Dale (one of the cast of ‘The Model Maid’) from her son, breaking their planned elopement. The music starts behind the voices (a few bars of ‘Dearest Love’), continues with a sort of recitative as Mary reads out some of the letter, and finishes with a five-part humming chorus. At least, that is all that is given in the vocal score. The text says firmly: “The chorus softly sings a melody, bouche fermée - Mary sings against it”, and shows a further ten lines of lyrics.

MY FAMILY TREE
(MY SHADY FAMILY TREE)

ORIGIN:

USE:
SOURCE:
NOTES:









DISCOGRAPHY:

(1963) but the introductory Verse section of this piece is lifted bodily from the much earlier COUNTESS MITZI (q.v.)
cut from The Girl Who Came To Supper, 1963 (José Ferrer)
Unpubl. MS
The piece replaced 'LONG LIVE THE KING' (which had to be cut after Kennedy's assassination) but was itself cut after the New York premiere of TG and replaced by CURT, CLEAR AND CONCISE' - which is unquestionably the better musical number. The number’s slot was originally near the start of Act I at the Grand Duke's entrance, but soon transferred to the middle of the 'Embassy Ball' scene in Act II between the two dances TANGO and THE STINGAREE.
The new refrains have naughty lyric wit in which the Regent regales Northbrook with tales of his rorty or dotty forebears, swinging along in a fast 2/2 in Bb.
OCR 20: José Ferrer and Roderick Cook (1963)

MY HORSE HAS CAST A SHOE

ORIGIN:
USE:
SOURCE:
NOTES:







DISCOGRAPHY:

(1946)
Pacific 1860, 1946 (Mary Martin & Graham Payn)
Publ. Vocal Score
Duet, where Elena just happens to break down outside Kerry’s house and he chivalrously offers to drive her home in his father’s wagonette. They love each other at first sight, of course.
The piece has some charm, particularly at the start which takes its rhythmic character from the steady “clip-clop” of its opening; but the later rising-and-falling scale melodies of the main solos and duet do not have much intrinsic interest, and the language and specificosity of its setting do not allow much scope for exposure beyond its origin.
OCR 13: Mary Martin (1946)

MY KIND OF MAN

ORIGIN:
USE:
SOURCE:

NOTES:














DISCOGRAPHY:

(1949-50)
Ace of Clubs, 1950 (Pat Kirkwood)
Sep. Publ.
Orig. version (see below) Unpubl.MS
Slow rhythmic soliloque ballad. Part of Club Floorshow - the opening (starring) number for Pinkie, the nightclub hostess.
The song started life as I WANT A MAN ABOUT THE HOUSE. Both versions have a slightly ineffectual short Verse section, followed by the Refrain which is the same as the revised song until its eleventh bar. The new version extends and improves the refrain ending, giving it a high, blues-y ending instead of a less interesting drop down back to the keynote Eb. The original lyrics were slightly different.
This is a fairly straightforward blues pastiche, whose tension and character derives from the three notes which lead into the refrain, forming a sort of diminished D minor arpeggio finishing on a C# held against the D major keychord. (It was originally scored in Eb.) It is not a particularly long or developed theme even in its revised version, though three verses of lyrics and Pat Kirkwood’s style of delivery were more than enough to let it hold its head up in public.
OCR 14: Pat Kirkwood (1950)

MY LIFE STORY

ORIGIN:
USE:
SOURCE:
NOTES:


DISCOGRAPHY:

(1932)
Words And Music, 1932
Publ. Vocal Score
Part of THE HALL OF FAME (q.v.) A 24-bar sort of patter-song refrain in which a nobody girl explains how she married into the aristocracy and became famous for nothing of particular importance.
see HALL OF FAME on ONR 22: Myvanwy Jenn acc. Arthur Siegel (1990)

MYSTERIOSO
See Appendix 1.d