S Titles

S

SAGGIE BOO, THE
See Appendix 1.b

SAIL AWAY

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DISCOGRAPHY:

Jamaica, 2 April 1949? (ref. in NCD – see Notes below)
Ace Of Clubs, 1950 (Graham Payn)
Sail Away, 1961 (James Hurst)
Sep.Publ.1950 and 1961
NCSB
NCG1
[NCD, 2 Apr.1949]: Coward was working at the piano on ‘Josephine’ and wondering about what next big project to concentrate on, when “suddenly a new and lovely tune appeared. Felt the authentic thrill. All right, the musical [Ace Of Clubs] it shall be." The (introductory) Verse section of the song was completely rewritten for the song’s later reappearance as the title song for Sail Away, where both lyrics and music have an altogether broader, more expansive horizon-seeking quality. The change is, I think, a definite improvement to the overall song, but the Ace Of Clubs original Verse section isn’t of itself sub-standard, merely different
Graham Payn thought that in Ace Of Clubs "there was something awkward about the placing of [the song], which is a critical factor in any musical show. Perhaps the song never really belonged in that show, but it was clearly too good to be allowed to die..." The song was exceptional in Ace Of Clubs for being the outstanding “straight” melodic piece; but by the time of Sail Away there are other most attractive "straight" numbers in the score (not least ‘Something Very Strange’), even if some of its other point numbers now seem a bit dated on account of lyric or musical over-topicality.
The Refrain of ‘Sail Away’ has been described as “haunting”, which presumably means memorable; which it certainly is: that persistent falling fourth on 'sail away' is unusual and catchy, and it is a lovely touch that when this riff returns at the end of the second line, it is voiced a step higher. A soaring middle eight section starts with slow-moving high repeated notes and is beautifully balanced by a lovely rhythmic catch in the melody as it leaves the high notes to trip downwards on “When you feel your song is or-chestrated wrong”; and then in the last phrase the two title words are repeated three times in succession through a falling third (rather than a fourth), back at the top of the song’s tessitura. Such meticulous attention to harmonic and melodic detail gives the song an unusual and definite personality.
Coward’s biographer, Philip Hoare, described the song as “yearning, romantic [and] escapist”, and got as far as he ever got towards autobiographical analysis of Coward’s music: “It is perhaps the story of it's writer's life."
Personally, I never really cared for Graham Payn’s interpretation (OCR14), but the original Verse version is attractively presented by NC himself in NCR33. For the re-versed version, Peter Matz’s small-scale jazz combo (NCR 40) gives a surprisingly lush treatment to the song despite sparse instrumentation, with richly chordal piano figurations, and we feel that performance to be fairly definitive. The Pet Shop Boys on ONR 31 are rather unimaginative and a bit on the slow side, but at least the piece is accurately presented and the singing is beautifully in tune. This song ranks about twelfth in the list of top Coward royalty earners today (see Appendix 3).
OCR 14: Graham Payn (1950)
NCR 33: + C de P orch./pno. acc. Norman Hackforth (1951)
NCR 40: + orch./pno. acc. Peter Matz (1956)
ONR111: Mabel Mercer + orch. (1958)
NCR 43: unknown accomp. (Apr 1961)
NCR 45: pno. acc. Peter Matz (Dec 1961)
OCR 18: James Hurst (1961)
OCR 19: David Holliday (1962)
ONR112: Judy Garland + Mort Lindsey orch. (1962)
ONR 30: Peter Greenwell (1995)
ONR 31: Pet Shop Boys (1998)
ONR 28: Barbara Lea acc. Keith Ingham (1999)
ONR 09a: Michael Law (2002)

SAILOR
See ALLEGRO VIVACE and HORNPIPE (London Morning ballet numbers)

SALOME
See MIDNIGHT MATINEE

SAMOLAN SONG
also known as KA TAHUA

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(1944-5) [see BD p.223]
1946, Pacific 1860
Publ. Vocal Score (music No.8)
This is a short, gently Hawaiian-style barcarolle for 4-part chorus, sung by four Samolan maids and four houseboys towards the end of Act 1. Its main feature is that it swings backwards and forwards between Bb and Gb major keys in a dreamy sort of way, for most of its length. Following the 'Samolan Song', Elena and Kerry have a short love-scene in which Elena also remarks, in song, about the relentless and public musicality of the Austrians. (This short number had originally been marked down as the Opening Chorus for Operette (1938) but was dropped in favour of new material.) Its music is now lost.

SATURDAY NIGHT
See Appendix 1.c

SATURDAY NIGHT AT THE ROSE AND CROWN

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DISCOGRAPHY:

(1963)
1963, The Girl Who Came To Supper (Tessa O’Shea)
Vocal Score Cowardy Custard (in medley)
NCG2
This is a perfect pastiche of an Edwardian Music Hall-type number - a sing-along chorus waltz. As far as we know only one Refrain exists, but that was quite enough for its purpose and setting, which was the London fish-and-chips seller Ada Cockle’s homely philosophy expressed to the young King Nicholas of Carpathia on the streets of the West End. Her four “London” songs are such convincing pastiches of their type that a later BBC radio production actually turned Ada Cockle into a music hall artiste and had her belting out the songs on a stage. We challenge anyone hearing this refrain for the first time to twig that the piece is not an Edwardian original, or indeed that it could be Coward. Of the four “London” songs, this seems to us to be the most naturally convincing and unforced. It is also not entirely without musical originality, with its third-line modulation from the home key (C) into the subdominant (F) minor giving the piece memorability and individuality which is beyond most originals in the genre.
NCR 46: + unknown pianist (Apr 1963)
OCR 20: Tessa O’Shea, Sean Scully, Ensemble (Dec 1963)
ONR113: Steve Ross (1990)

SCENE IN TAMARINDA'S SUITE
See WHEN DID YOU FIRST DISCOVER YOU WERE DIFFERENT?

SCHOOLGIRLS AND NUNS
See ALLEGRO

SENTIMENT
See Appendix 1.a

SENTRIES
See ALLA MARCIA 1

SENTRIES’ DUET
See POLKA ALLA MARCIA

SHAKE YOUR FEET

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(1923)
London Calling! 1923 (Teddie Gerard & Company)
MUSIC LOST
Lyric in BD
Lyrics for this number were found among archive material for London Calling! It was registered with the Lord Chamberlain's office but not at first used. However, when early in 1924 FOLLOW A STAR was dropped and LITTLE BAGGY MAGGY took its place as the show closer, SHAKE YOUR FEET moved into the first-half closer position. It is a woeful coincidence that the music for none of these three finale numbers survives.

SHE SHALL HAVE MUSIC
See Appendix 1.c

SHE WAS A GOOD GIRL THEN

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In original script for On With the Dance (1925) as 'I WAS A GOOD GIRL THEN', but not included in the revue.
(dated 1926 in NCSL)
apparently unused
CPA1
NCG2
The subject of this song is one "Mary", and she may well have been the forerunner of ‘Mary Make-Believe’. This Mary was an unbelievable innocent, unaware of her charms, and devout while being winsome. The song was only copyrighted in 1938 with the publication of CPA1, which quite clearly seems to have been a deliberate attempt by NC to get into print some well-written songs which were in danger of falling by the wayside because of previous non-use (see Appendix 2a).
Lyrically there are two Verses and no fewer that four Refrains, each of which follows the girl’s “innocent” progress.
The song is certainly not without lyrical and musical quality, let alone quantity, and we feel NC was entirely justified in wishing it preserved; but despite two airings in print the song is still almost unknown and is seldom (if ever) performed.

SHIP SCENE MUSIC

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(1946)
1946, Pacific 1860
Publ.Vocal Score (Opening music of Act II Finale)
This is an extended piece of incidental music which is utterly characteristic of the harmonic style of the rest of this score. The main theme is a pleasant and airy allegro in C major, with rapid restatements in Gb, Bb, Eb and Ab. The scene is Elena’s departure from the island, and the ship is being seen off in Samolan fashion with music and song and the casting of leis of coloured flowers into the water. The piece is followed by the Finale proper, the chorus song ‘Come Back To The Island’.

SHIP THEME
See IN WHICH WE SERVE

SHIPYARD MUSIC
See IN WHICH WE SERVE

SHORTIE & FREDA
See IN WHICH WE SERVE

SHOULD HAPPINESS FORSAKE ME

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DISCOGRAPHY:

(1929)
1929, Bitter Sweet
Publ. Vocal Score (part of Act I Finale)
The piece forms Carl and Sarah's first open love-duet after finding themselves in each others arms. The reason we pick this out of the generality of the Finale as a separately-listed number is because this theme is musically the two-year forerunner of SOMEDAY I'LL FIND YOU, with which it shares significantly similar phrase-lengths as well as harmonic and melodic elements. Carl's interlude (originally sung on a counter-melody) includes the phrase "look well before the leaping", but there is no musical connection between this and a later setting of the words in ‘Let The Angels Guide You’ (Family Album).
Masterson is not well-matched by Smith on ONR 01, but shows appropriate relaxed expansiveness.
ONR 01: Valerie Masterson & Martin Smith + orch. (1988)

SIBERIA
See Appendix 1.a

SIGH NO MORE

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(1944-5)
Sigh No More, 1945
Sep. Publ.
NCSB
Vocal Score Cowardy Custard (in medley)
NCG2
The title piece of the show, NC himself was “very attached to it in spite of the fact that it is a devil to sing” [NCSB]. Elsewhere he has also stated that he thought the title was the best bit of the show, which rather ignores the inherent quality of this and other fine songs included in it. Of ‘Matelot’, for example, NC said it was “one of the best songs I ever wrote; and about this number Kenneth Tynan opined that the song was "at once joyful and elegiac".
It is this wistfully mournful yet positive, lifting quality which one remembers with this song. Musically this is achieved by combining little touches of bluesiness (melodic notes B natural and Fb in the key of Ab) with a simple, open melody which soars at its climax beyond anything expected. The Verse section makes a feature of ‘pedal notes’ in the accompaniment combined with elegantly drooping intervals in the melody, giving the piece a relaxed and static quality with a touch of “heigh-ho” feeling. The Refrain’s strength lies in its consistent melodic development from its three opening notes on ‘Sigh no more’, which start at the interval of a semitone and at their peak fall through a major 6th from the highest note of the piece on the word ‘joy’.
It is a really melodic piece which demands all a singer’s resources – and considerable vocal quality across a very wide pitch range – to do it justice. It’s clear from NCR 27 why NC found it a devil to sing, since he is clearly at the very limit of his vocal capacity though (as ever) he gets the style and mood exactly right. None of the others listed below really express the song lyrically and vocally enough to do it full justice, though none are critically off the mark.
OCR12: Graham Payn + Mantovani orch. (1945)
NCR 27: +Piccadilly Th. Orch. Cond. Mantovani (1945)
ONR 24: Graham Payn + Harry Acres Orchestra (1947)
NCR 38: pno. acc. Peter Matz (1956)
ONR114: Bobby Short + orch. (1982)
ONR 27: Richard Conrad (1998)
ONR 28: Barbara Lea acc. Keith Ingham (1999)
ONR 13: Dominic Alldis + combo (2000)

SING FOR JOY

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(1937)
Operette, 1938 (Peggy Wood & Chorus)
Publ. Vocal Score
Titled SONG OF JOY on the published Pno. Sel. which included a bit of it.
This number opens Act II Sc.3, and purports to be the finale
of the second Act of the ‘play within a play’, The Model Maid. Mary Dale sings a waltz love-song for her absent lover, punctuated by chorus support and encouragement. The theme is a fine Viennese waltz pastiche in Db which has rhythmic and melodic touches of ‘The Blue Danube’ about it.

SIR OR MA'AM

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DISCOGRAPHY:

(1963)
The Girl Who Came to Supper, 1963 (Roderick Cook)
Unpubl. MS
The song was originally placed in in Act I Sc.2 (backstage dressing-room) but later transposed to the Regent’s apartment at the Carpathian Embassy in Sc.4.
This song is very tied to its context – a Foreign Office functionary explaining to the ingenue American girl the protocol which should be observed when meeting and conversing with royalty – and thus it does not ‘travel’ well beyond its dramatic setting.
Having said that, it is a song with considerable craft and delightfully clever lyrics. There is not much musical depth or development to it, though that makes the music sound poor when it is no worse than merely slight. It is one of those songs which depends so much on lyric that it can almost be spoken rather than sung. The Verse section in particular grows organically out of the script which preceeds it and demands a parlando treatment. There are two refrains of equal quality. Well worth getting to know.
NCR 46: unknown acc. (Apr 1963)
OCR 20: Roderick Cook & Florence Henderson (Dec 1963)

SIX
See A LITTLE SLUT OF SIX

SIX LILLIES OF THE VALLEY

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DISCOGRAPHY:

(1963)
The Girl Who Came to Supper
Unpubl.
This forms part of 'The Coconut Girl' sequence of songs in Act II Sc.5, where the showgirl Mary demonstrates numbers from the musical she is playing in to the young King Nicholas. The piece is thus a pastiche of a 1911 American musical comedy number, for girls’ chorus. Only one shortish refrain exists – no more was needed for the purpose.
NCR 46: unknown pianist (1963)

SLOW WALTZ
(THE STREATHAM FAMILY)

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(Late 1958)
London Morning (Ballet)
Publ. pno. score. No. 15
This is a fine, simple, long-breathed slow waltz in Bb with a short section in Gb, which would not have disgraced the scores of either Conversation Piece or Operette. The whole is over 100 bars long though there is some restatement of material. The quality of the main melody is such that you feel it somehow a lack, for Coward, that there were never words set to it.
OCR 17: LPO Cond. Corbett (1959)
ONR 11: Prague Phil. Cond. Robin White (1995)

SO IN LOVE
See I'M SO IN LOVE

SOLILOQUES

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(1963)
The Girl Who Came to Supper 1963 (Act I Sc.6)
Unpubl. MS
This is a series of private thoughts being expressed not very long into their first proper encounter by the Prince Regent and the showgirl Mary, who react quite differently to what passes between them. The music is also reprised at very end of Act I, immediately after Mary has been swept up into attending the coronation in the Queen Mother’s retinue and been invested with a decoration by the Regent.
The music is dreamy, slow and episodic, which is very fitting, and features a couple of short passages of descending semitones in the melody which are characteristic of NC’s style of the time; but it is not much of a “song” in the classic sense of the word.
OCR 20: Florence Henderson & José Ferrer (1963)

SOLO VIOLIN
See LONELY

SOME DAY SOON

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(1923, +period 1926-1930 likely)
Unused?
Unpubl. MS
The manuscript (Elsie April’s) specifies a “Slow Foxtrot Tempo". Also written on the MS is the name ‘Laddie Cliff’ – a comedy artist active in the 20s and 30s who died in 1937 aged 46. No lyric is given with the song-line on this MS, and no lyric with this title was found by Coward scholar Barry Day so the item does not appear at all as a song in his Noël Coward – The Complete Lyrics.
The music of the Verse section of this song is the same (with a couple of minor differing details) to that of OTHER GIRLS (q.v.), hence the 1923 part of the dating above. The Verse section forms the bulk of this new song, but the Refrain is completely different, and at its start obviously “fits” the words ‘Some day soon’. It is unusual in that it is only 16 bars long, and composed entirely of notes in the rhythm minim-minim-semibreve.

SOMEDAY I'LL FIND YOU

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DISCOGRAPHY:

 

Possibly composed in Indo-China, 1930; but the melodic/harmonic model of the song had already been laid down in the number SHOULD HAPPINESS FORSAKE ME from Bitter Sweet, 1929 (q.v.)  It would seem that NC himself was unaware of the inspiration provided by the earlier piece, but aware or not, it explains why the later song “came very easily”.
Private Lives, 1930 (Gertrude Lawrence & NC)
Sep.Publ.
AES
SA1
NCSB
NCG1
NC wrote, "I forget where I wrote it, but it came very easily." He also wrote in NCSB that “‘Someday I’ll Find You’, among my sentimental songs, ranks next in popularity to ‘I’ll See You Again’, and now that Gertie is no longer alive, I find the nostalgia of it almost unbearable”. Today this song ranks about sixth in the list of top Coward royalty earners (see Appendix 3).
The song is a slow waltz, and is really no more than a pastiche of a typical palm-court trio number, but of such convincing quality that it instantly acquired a life of its own beyond its original intent and context. It came ready-packaged with its own – and true! – description, in the text of the play which features it, that it is “cheap music” of the most potent kind. Coward not only wrote the song, but also defined its characteristics.
It is full of classic Coward musical elements, e.g. a sideways-shifting harmonic setting (Eb-Db-Eb in the first four bars of the Verse section) and a dominant seventh chord with a sharpened fifth (second and fourth bars of the Refrain), the latter of which is NC’s best-known use of that harmonic language and utterly integrated into the melodic structure of the song. You could, with only a little exposure to his musical work, clearly recognize this piece as Coward’s and not any other composer’s.
The lyric does not lie well on the page on its own, seeming choppy and even un-rhyming, but is so tied in with the song’s melodic elements that I feel the “ease” of the song’s coming must in this case have meant simultaneous composition. The “choppiness” of the short lyric lines disappears when married to the melody, and the melody shows extraordinarily integrated development and variation for something of such slight length.
Some small but improving changes to the song’s harmonic underlay (e.g. under the word "dreaming" in the refrain) and accompaniment figurations were instituted by Norman Hackforth for the song’s republication in NCSB (1953). Use of the “original” chordings survives into some recordings later than NCR 34, as most people were still using earlier sheet-music publications as their source.  A published change did not occur until that in NCSB in 1954. The earlier sheet-music version is decidedly dull by comparison.
OCR 06/NCR 05: Gertrude Lawrence & NC (1930)
ONR115: Gertrude Lawrence acc. Claude Ivy (1932)
NCR 26: (in medley) orch. cond. D. Broekman (1944)
ONR 24: Harry Acres Orch. (1947)
NCR 30: (in medley) orch. cond. Mantovani (Jun 1947)
ONR116: Gertrude Lawrence (1950)
NCR 34: (in medley) acc. Norman Hackforth (1951)
NCR 37: + Wally Stott orch., acc. Hackforth (1954)
ONR 29: Georges Tzipine Orch. (1954?)
NCR 38: (in medley) acc. Peter Matz (1955) appendices/ncr.html#ncr41: (in medley) acc. Norman Hackforth (1958)
ONR117: Julie Andrews + orch. (1968?)
ONR 05: Bobby Short (1972)
ONR 20: Patricia Hodge & Lewis Fiander (1986)
ONR 28: (in medley) Barbara Lea acc. Keith Ingham (1999)

SOMETHIN' YOU GOTTA FIND OUT YOURSELF
See Appendix 1.c

SOMETHING ABOUT A SAILOR

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DISCOGRAPHY:

(1949)
Ace of Clubs, 1950 (Graham Payn): Act I Sc.6
Unpubl. MS
In the show setting the song is followed by a dance to the same music. The piece is played as part of the drama by Harry (a sailor) and the Ace girls and is not part of the ‘club floorshow’.
This is a cheerful, devil-may-care rumbustious number in fast 6/8 tempo, much in the mould of ‘Ladies Of The Town’ or ‘Don’t Take Our Charlie For The Army’.
Though this sort of rollicking, lyrically nimble number is often taken by Coward parodists as their model, few of them catch those small elements which give the Coward hallmark. A couple of those elements, such as unexpected leaps in the melody (downwards 10th, upwards 7th) are here in the refrain of this song.
OCR 14: Graham Payn (1950)

SOMETHING ON A TRAY

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(1953)
After the Ball, 1954 (Irene Browne &c.): Act III Sc.2
Unpubl. MS
Extract in Pno.Sel.
Though specified in the MS as a ‘Quartette’, the number seems to have been performed only by the character of the Duchess of Berwick. She is expressing her relief that the “season” is now over and that life can return to a more relaxed mode where unglamorous personal dining habits can be enjoyed in private.
To this extent the piece is highly self-referential to NC’s own life, as is known from various sources, notably Cole Lesley writing about the early 50s:
“We faithfully drank [Bournvita] or Horlick’s or Ovaltine, last thing every night, Noël sitting up in bed and wondering what his fans all over the world, who pictured him constantly sipping champagne, would think of the reality ... he loved supper in bed ... ‘a little eggy something on a tray’, followed by no small quantity of chocolates from Charbonnel & Walker in Bond Street, ‘Mr. Coward’s special mixture ...” [CL, p.303].
This is an unusual piece, impossible to categorise or define by labels. It has been well-performed with large elements of sprachgesang, but is also genuinely melodic. There are four short refrains only, of which the third phrase moves Cowardesquely through a surprising new key, which is typical writing in this score. The lyrics are unspectacularly neat and pithy, with a wonderful punchline: “...and, like Salomé in a bygone day, Enjoy a little something on a tray.”
Irene Browne (OCR 15) seems to be attempting to show the soft and jokey side of Edith Evans playing Lady Bracknell, but is quite good nonetheless.
OCR 15: Irene Browne, Betty Felstead, Anna Halinka, Alisa Gamley (1954)
ONR 00: Kathleen Widdoes acc. Mark Hartman (2005)

SOMETHING TO DO WITH SPRING

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DISCOGRAPHY:

(1932)
Words and Music, 1932 (Joyce Barbour, John Mills)
Sep.Publ.
WAM Vocal Score
NCR
Lighthearted love song/dance number. Also used in WAM's OPENING CHORUS (q.v.) as a foxtrot.
Rather similarly to what happens in the Verse section of ‘I'll See You Again’, in the Verse section of this song the accompaniment dovetails with and occasionally takes over the melodic continuity from the singer. This is a clever and complex piece of lyric/rhythmic interchange writing. It's not altogether comfortable - but it works! Towards the end of the Verse section, as the dialogue slows down, it almost tries to become a romantic love-song. But then, with the refrain, it returns resolutely to being a more usual four-phrase structure, in an up-tempo foxtrot, and the Refrain forms what is effectively a new variant of the mood and type of song as the previous year's ‘Any Little Fish’ (qv). ‘Something To Do With Spring’ is however not quite as concise or elegant as this forerunner.
John Mills, at the age of 93, reprised this number in the Coward Centenary celebration at the Savoy Theatre, London, 13 December 1999, wearing one of NC's own dressing-gowns.
ONR118: Carroll Gibbons orch. (1932)
ONR 08: (in medley) Ray Noble Orch. (Sep 1932)
NCR 10: +Orch./acc. Ray Noble (20 Sep 1932)
ONR 32a: Harry Noble acc. Stuart Ross (1954)
ONR 05: Bobby Short (1972)
ONR 26: Barbara Cason & Jamie Ross (Oh Coward!, 1972)
ONR 23: Ian Bostridge & Sophie Daneman (2002)

SOMETHING VERY STRANGE

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Jan. 1961, Jamaica [NCD, 29 Jan. 61]
Sail Away, 1961 (Elaine Stritch)
Sep.Publ.
NCG1
Vocal Score Cowardy Custard (orchestral entr'acte)
A good, strong romantic love-song - the emotion is true and well-matched to the melody and harmonies. Elaine Stritch has said about this song, “It’s almost poetry! – one of my most favourite songs I’ve ever done in my life”.
From the start the piece is elegiac in quality, posessing poise, light and gentleness. Short passages of descending semitones in the Verse section melody firmly identify the piece’s writing with this score - such writing occurs several times in other songs in the same score.
The notable characteristic of the Refrain is its unusual structure and harmonic setting. The “normal” refrain “pattern” is four phrases of equal length with the third phrase being the “middle 8” new theme sometimes modulating to a new key. This form can be expressed as ‘A, A, B, A’. Here, the form is actually A, A, B, A, A, with a purposeful modulation happening in the second A-phrase, the B-phrase starting unusually in the supertonic minor key, the subsequent A-phrase modulating into the subdominant minor key, and the final A-phrase extending the piece, starting in the supertonic minor and passing through the subdominant minor. This means in effect a harmonically- as well as thematically-integrated structure which gives strength and purpose to the song’s emotions.
NC made a slight lyric change when recording the song himself, as he couldn’t possibly have sung, “And if only I were younger I’d put ribbons in my hair” without ridicule. He re-worded it, “And I’m sure that tired old nightingale still sings in Berkeley Square”, which maybe adds an unnecessary tinge of flippancy to the song.
The song is superbly (i.e. with strong and true emotion) performed by Stritch (OCR 18 in particular), with entirely appropriate half-breaks in the voice. You may hate her voice period, but listen to how she puts this one over and dare to say it is ineffectual.
NCR 43: acc. ? (Apr 1961)
OCR 18: Elaine Stritch + orch. (Oct 1961)
NCR 45: orch./acc. Peter Matz (Dec 1961)
OCR 19: Elaine Stritch + orch. (1962)
ONR119: Patricia Routledge (1973)
ONR 30a: June Bronhill + orch. (1981)
ONR 28: Barbara Lea acc. Keith Ingham (1999)

SOMETIMES WHEN I’M WEARY
See Appendix 1.c

SONG OF JOY
See SING FOR JOY

SONG OF THE SEAGULL
See SONGS OF THE SEA

SONG OF THE SHELLS
See SONGS OF THE SEA

SONG(S) OF THE SEA

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Early song sequence c.1916 with words by Esmé Wynne
Unused
Unpubl. MS (Theatre Museum, Covent Garden)
The four short songs are individually titled:
SONG OF THE SEA
SONG OF THE SEAGULL
MERMAN'S SONG
SONG OF THE SHELLS
While there is no doubt that these pieces should be considered more or less as juvenilia and not taken too seriously, we think the description by another critic that they are "heavy handed and over-romantic” is hardly adequate. In any case, being produced by sixteen- or seventeen-year-olds, it would be surprising if they were not slightly clumsy.
All the pieces are written in the key of Eb - “my beloved Eb”, as NC later described it, in which he did most of his playing and composition. The first (effectively an eight-bar phrase) features a harp-like accompaniment riff clearly illustrating the bright fluidity of water, but the natural stress of the words is set quite contrarily to the natural stress of the music in the penultimate bar, which cannot but feel uncomfortable.
To the musicologist, the most interesting piece is the second, ‘The Song Of The Seagull’, a slow and grave piece consisting of little more than two four-bar phrases with intro and ending patterns which precede and echo the rising-note running quavers of the main melody. The accompaniment figurations include a later-typically-Cowardesque passage of descending semitones at the break point between first and second phrases (for example, as under the word ‘sky’ in the Verse section of ‘World Weary’), and the song shows both an upwards leap of a seventh in the second phrase and the first, carefully deliberate use of the dominant-seventh chord with sharpened fifth note (NC’s most notable harmonic thumbprint) at the melody’s conclusion.
The third piece, the ‘Song Of The Merman’, is even shorter but with a funny little coda, and is much brighter in figuration and tempo, and has similar thumbprints – that dominant chord both in its intro and, most interestingly, on the word ‘love’ in the final coda phrase – and ‘The Song Of The Shells’ is a short barcarolle in 6/8 tempo which, like the first song, has a couple of moments where the word-stresses sit uncomfortably with the melody, but which shares chordal elements with its predecessor.
The closing notes of each song’s melody tie in thematically with those of the other pieces and they were clearly composed as a whole conception. There is nothing exactly wrong about them, but nor are they “over-romantic”: none of the settings in themselves show any real harmonic invention or development and their brevity means that they go nowhere and remain essentially static, which is not very romantic to my way of musical thinking.

SPANISH FANTASY
See CABALLERO

SPANISH GRANDEE, A

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(1923)
London Calling! (3rd edn) 1924
Unpubl. MS
At one stage of its life (according to a printed insert in one of the LC programmes in the Mander & Mitchenson Collection) this title was known as MY SPANISH LOVE.
The Verse section is a fast waltz, and the Refrain is really a very competant pastiche Habanera. The song has pleasing characteristics in both its Verse and Refrain sections, with early, easy use of characteristic “Spanish” melodic elements which find their apogee twenty years later in the brilliant pastiche of ‘Nina’. Much of the precise figurations in the accompaniment may have been settled by the amanuensis, Elsie April.
The outstanding element which defines the piece as quality early Coward is at the start of the middle phrase of the Refrain, where the words “And while he/ whispers my name, My heart/ he’ll claim under a/ flam-ing tangerine moon” match internal rhymes to cross-rhythmic stresses. (NC does much the same in ‘Time And Again’ (1952) in the passage “And when/ some brisk brunette appears/ Back go my ears, old/ Adam cheers, maybe it’s/ all pre-natal”.) This is elegant and compact writing.

SPECIALLY FOR YOU

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(1924)
Charlot's 1924 Revue (Phyllis Monkman & Henry Kendall)
Sep.Publ.
Vocal Score Cowardy Custard
Quickstep dance song. This is a perky, jaunty little song in brisk 4/4 tempo. The Verse section is in flowing quavers, while the Refrain contrasts a snappy opening riff in dotted-quaver rhythm with long semibreve notes at the end of the second phrase. The Refrain musical structure is, unusually, A,B,A,A (instead of the more usual A,A,B,A). The song is a clear example of NC writing in the style of the popular music market of the time, and ONR 120 is a good demonstration of how a typical dance band of the period would present it to a wider public.
ONR 120: Debroy Somers & the Savoy Orpheans (1924)

SPINNING SONG

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(1954)
probably 'An Evening With Beatrice Lillie' (1954)
NC, Café de Paris -1954
Unpubl. MS
Vocal Score Cowardy Custard (in medley)
The original title was OLD ENGLISH SPINNING SONG (thus on an archive lyric sheet). There is a strong likelihood that the inspiration of this song was the sketch and song from RUG OF PERSIA (q.v.).
It is believed that this number formed part of a sequence of pithy pastiche songs, including ‘Old Scottish Air’ and ‘Irish Song’, which together made up a section of his cabaret programme which NC dubbed “These You Have Loathed”.
These songs seemed to start much as one might expect from an anodyne example of the type, but they always went slightly mad and/or had some sort of sting in the tail. You know this one is going silly when the spinstress says that she has “worked for a year on a coat for my dear – and I’ve not yet finished the sleeve”. She ends by declaring, “I’ve got my warp right up my woof, And I can’t get the bloody thing back”, and the piece ends in a helter-skelter flurry of accompaniment spinning riffs.
ONR121: Beatrice Lillee acc. Eadie & Rack (1955)
ONR 07: Patricia Routledge (Cowardy Custard, 1972)

SPINSTERS’ SONG
See Appendix 1.e

STATELY HOMES OF ENGLAND, THE

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(1937)
Operette, 1938 (Menzies, Landon, Gatrell and French)
Set To Music, NY 1939 (Beatrice Lillie)
Sep.Publ.
CPA2
NCSB
SA2
NCG1
Vocal Score Cowardy Custard
Virtually an interpolated comedy number, the song has little or nothing to do with the rest of the content of Operette, but was the typical Coward comedy “show-stopper” of the piece.
For a comedy number it is unusual, in that it is not wholly in a major key, but starts, rather, more in the minor and never seems to make up its mind where it rests, though it does finish in the major tonality.
This is a mockingly indulgent song, a typical NC comedy romp in 6/8, with scriptural references to Landor, Scott and W.E. Henley. Yet this song is more than merely comedic: it is very tautly-constructed, with repetition of lyric elements (internal rhymes) being set to little extensions of melodic/rhythmic lines (think of what happens at the lyric “and certainly damps the fun of the eldest son”) – the impact and effectiveness of the lines is increased by rapid repetition of at least two of the three elements of melody, rhythm and rhyme. In that sense, it is a very similar sort of comedy construction to ‘His Excellency Regrets’ of nine years later.
The comedy works so well because it is satire expressed with a strong sense of affection, and we love the idiosyncracies at the same time as laughing at them.
Look in the vocal score publication (or BD) for a couple of ‘encore’ verses whose lyrics are not generally known.
This song ranks about eleventh in the list of top Coward royalty earners today (see Appendix 3).
NCR 19: H. M. Th. Orch. cond. F. M. Collinson (Feb.1938)
OCR 10: French, Landon, Gatrell & Carten (Mar 1938)
ONR 24: Harry Acres Orchestra (Mar 1947)
NCR 30: + orch. cond. Mantovani (Jun 1947)
ONR 32: Lissa Gray Singers (1965)
ONR 07: Ensemble (Cowardy Custard, 1972)
ONR 15: The King's Singers (1977)
ONR 09a: Michael Law (2002)

STAY ON THE SIDE OF THE ANGELS

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September 1953 [NCD]
After the Ball, 1954 (Shamus Locke) (Act I No.6)
Unpubl. MS
Extract in published Pno.Sel.
The song is sung by the character Lord Darlington, offering gently-veiled advice to Lady Windermere, whose husband he suspects of behaving in a less than gentlemanly way.
This is a gentle and pleasant enough piece in lullaby-ish 6/8 tempo, but I’m afraid I find this a rather a nothing song, despite its precise and sometimes slightly “crunchy” harmonic setting. It has a little hint of the mood and feeling of ‘If You Could Only Come With Me’ from Bitter Sweet but with none of that song’s open simplicity and directnness. The moods and emotions in After The Ball are sometimes (like here) so veiled that nothing much seems to come out even in the music. There was no OCR of this number on account of Shamus Locke’s other contractual arrangements at the time which forbade his inclusion.
ONR 00: David Stalter (2005)

STEADY, STEADY, MARY BAKER EDDY
See Appendix 1.b under WHAT A SAUCY GIRL

STINGAREE, THE
also known as ONE STEP

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(1963)
The Girl Who Came To Supper, 1963
MS Vocal Score
This is an extended passage of dance music without lyrics from 'The Embassy Ball' sequence in Act II Scene 4. It is a Scott Joplin-type ragtime pastiche, showing all the taut, precise phraseology, rhythmic elements and episodes within keychanges which are characteristic of the style. There are some five or six distinct “sections” of at least 16 bars, some of which are repeated, and over some of which dialogue is heard.
There’s certainly scope for some enterprising musician to include this piece in any forthcoming recording of ‘The Unknown Music of Noël Coward’.

STREATHAM FAMILY, THE
See SLOW WALTZ

SUBURBIA
See Appendix 1.c

SUN, THE MOON AND YOU, THE

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(1928?)
This Year of Grace (USA prod.) 1928 (Finale)
MUSIC LOST
In the The Lyrics of Noël Coward [NCL] this is described as a "Burlesque of American Musical". This reference remains the only source of our knowledge of this item. 'PLAYING THE GAME' (q.v.) is a further part of this Finale.

SUNDAY AFTERNOONS
See Appendix 1.b

SUSIE SUNSHINE
See Appendix 1.b

SWEET DAY

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(1953)
After the Ball, 1954 (Vanessa Lee)
Sep.Publ.
Norman Hackforth said: "I actually originally scored 'Sweet Day'. Vanessa Lee would never have sung it in its published key of Bb - she would have been under the piano! If I remember rightly, the original key was Db."
In the original pre-London version, curtain music at the start of Act II Sc.2 - some 9 bars - was loosely based on music from the verse section of 'Sweet Day', and was titled MELANGE.
This is one of the more effective and lasting pieces from After The Ball. The verse section (“No melancholy dream, No shadows in my heart”) is musically original and very effective, showing good development from a simple melodic phrase. The Refrain is a slow waltz with swooping phrases of large intervals. The idea of its third phrase - "When my heart’s chilled by the snows of December..." - is reused with noticable integrity and very similar lyrics towards the end of the Verse section of ‘Something Very Strange’ (1961).
Vanessa Lee (OCR 15) is good in this.
OCR 15: Vanessa Lee (1954)
ONR 00: Kristin Huxhold (2005)

SWEET LITTLE CAFE
See DEAR LITTLE CAFE

SWING SONG

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(1963)
The Girl Who Came to Supper (1963) (Marian Haraldson & Chorus)
Unpubl. MS
This is a Duet + chorus number, from the opening of the show, which is actually the ‘show-within-a-show’ of 'The Coconut Girl'. Thus, the piece is a pastiche of an American musical piece of the 1910’s. It is a waltz with a rather repetitive rhythmic construct and not meant (one supposes) to be “good” music.
NCR 46: Acc. unknown (1963)

SWISS FAMILY WHITTLEBOT
See Appendix 1.b