|It's easy to see why the young Ivor |
Novello was a heart-throb. And there
is that rather magnificent profile!
Today much of his work is largely forgotten and it's difficult to fathom that Novello was once one of the most popular stage and screen stars of his age. Unlike his contemporary Noel Coward he has never had a Renaissance though he was truly a theatrical Renaissance man: writer, composer, lyricist, director, actor and producer his range extended from Shakespeare to ersatz operetta. And those operettas were grand, lavish, romantic affairs that filled the stage of the Drury Lane with waltzes, ballads, comedy songs and love duets. And filled the coffers of his producers until his final Ruritanian romance King's Rhapsody. Novello died several hours after the curtain had fallen on a performance of this rather contemporary story of a King who abdicates his throne for his young son.
|Olive Gilbert and Ivor Novello on vacation |
in Jamaica in 1948.
This recording I've used was made between the two wars by Olive Gilbert and the Williams Singers. I've made the video using some of the fascinating recruiting posters that were produced in Canada to encourage young men to join the fray. Aside from the sophistication and, in many cases, artistic beauty of the designs I was surprised to see how many were targeted to specific cultural groups. You may want to go directly to the YouTube site to see them in HD.
Here she and Muriel Barron join in one of the loveliest melodies Novello ever wrote and that I remember (possibly from this recording?) from his Perchance to Dream. Miss Gilbert sang We'll Gather Lilacs at Novello's funeral in 1951.
Perhaps its time for a Novello Renaissance?
April 23 - 1985: Coca-Cola changes its formula and releases New Coke. The response is overwhelmingly negative, and the original formula is back on the market in less than 3 months.