Main content
Sorry, this episode is not currently available

Novello Does Time

Donald Macleod focuses on how Novello fell foul of the law and was sent to prison. With excerpts from the musicals Perchance to Dream, King's Rhapsody and Gay's the Word.

Ivor Novello falls foul of the law and is sent to prison.
Presented by Donald Macleod

Ivor Novello's Drury Lane musicals were box-office sensations, and more popular than the likes of Oklahoma or Brigadoon. At the height of his career Novello not only had plays and musicals running in London, but also four other productions of his spectacular musicals touring the country, to say nothing of amateur productions as well. Part of the attraction was Novello himself. He was a huge celebrity on both sides of the Atlantic. Novello was an actor and playwright for both stage and screen, credited with coining the phrase Me Tarzan, You Jane, and with his matinee-idol looks he was hailed as the next Valentino. His charisma and infectious personality charmed many, so that when he died, thousands turned out to line the streets to see the hearse pass on its way. This week, a first for Composer of the Week in its over seventy-year history, Donald Macleod luxuriates in the theatrical and charismatic world of Ivor Novello, with many works specially recorded for the series. He's joined by one of Novello's biographers, David Slattery-Christy, and also explores what was once Novello's flat with Billy Differ. Donald also goes behind the scenes in Novello's London theatre-world accompanied by Rosy Runciman, with a trip to the Prince of Wales and Novello Theatres.

During the Second World War Ivor Novello met Grace Walton. She came up with a plan to assist Novello to continue using his car, despite petrol rationing. Unfortunately Novello was duped by an enamoured fan and ended up in Bow Street Magistrates Court, where he was eventually sentenced to four weeks in Wormwood Scrubs. Churchill was furious and offered to get the sentence suspended, but Novello refused and served his time. This stint in prison affected Novello's health and he never got over it. There was a great deal of sympathy for Novello, and once he returned to the London stage he received much applause. Towards the end of the war Novello composed his musical show, Perchance to Dream, which included his second-most famous song, We'll Gather Lilacs in the Spring. Although Novello went on to compose further musicals, King's Rhapsody and Gay's the Word, his health never fully recovered from his prison ordeal, and he died in 1951.

The Dancing Years - Overture
Cyril Ornadel and his Orchestra

Perchance to Dream - A Woman's Heart
Muriel Barron, soprano
Ivor Novello, piano

Perchance to Dream - Love Is My Reason
Julie Bryan, soprano
Ivor Emmanuel, baritone
Rita Williams Singers
Michael Collins Orchestra
Michael Collins, conductor

Perchance to Dream - We'll Gather Lilacs in the Spring
Maryetta Midgley, soprano
Vernon Midgley, tenor
Robert Docker, piano
Festival Concert Orchestra
Harry Rabinowitz, conductor

King's Rhapsody - Someday My Heart Will Awake
Marilyn Hill Smith, soprano
The Chandos Concert Orchestra
Stuart Barry, conductor

King's Rhapsody - Fly Home, Little Heart
Marilyn Hill Smith, soprano
The Chandos Concert Orchestra
Stuart Barry, conductor

Gay's the Word - A Matter of Minutes
Kitty Whately, soprano
Simon Lepper, piano

Gay's the Word - On Such a Night as This
Kitty Whately, soprano
Simon Lepper, piano

Gay's the Word - Finder Please Return
Marilyn Hill Smith, soprano
The Chandos Concert Orchestra
Stuart Barry, conductor

The Dancing Years - The Wings of Sleep
Mary Ellis, soprano
Olive Gilbert, alto
Ivor Novello, piano
The Drury Lane Theatre Orchestra
Charles Prentice, conductor

Pray for Me
Kitty Whately, soprano
Simon Lepper, piano

Lily of the Valley - Look in My Heart
Marilyn Hill Smith, soprano
The Chandos Concert Orchestra
Stuart Barry, conductor

Producer Luke Whitlock.

1 hour

Last on

Fri 30 Dec 2016 12:00

Music Played

  • Ivor Novello

    The Dancing Years - Overture

    Ensemble: Cyril Ornadel Theatre Orchestra.
    • EMI: 3359852.
    • EMI.
    • 1.
  • Ivor Novello

    Perchance To Dream - A Woman's heart

    • Decca: LF1309.
    • Decca.
    • 2.
  • Ivor Novello

    Perchance To Dream - Love is my reason

    Choir: Rita Williams Singers. Orchestra: Michael Collins and his Orchestra. Conductor: Michael Collins.
    • EMI: 3359852.
    • EMI.
    • 22.
  • Ivor Novello

    Perchance To Dream - We'll gather lilacs

    Performer: Festival Concert Orchestra. Performer: Ambrosian Singers. Conductor: Harry Rabinowitz. Singer: Marietta Midgley. Singer: Vernon Midgley.
    • MVM:CDMVM8105.
    • MVM.
    • 4.
  • Ivor Novello

    King's Rhapsody - Someday my heart will awake

    Singer: Marilyn Hill Smith. Orchestra: Chandos Concert Orchestra. Conductor: Stuart Barry.
    • Chandos: CHAN9142.
    • Chandos.
    • 1.
  • Ivor Novello

    King's Rhapsody - Fly Home, Little Heart

    Singer: Marilyn Hill Smith. Orchestra: Chandos Concert Orchestra. Conductor: Stuart Barry.
    • Chandos: CHAN9142.
    • Chandos.
    • 1.
  • Ivor Novello

    Gay's the Word - A Matter of Minutes

    Performer: Simon Lepper. Singer: Kitty Whately.
  • Ivor Novello

    Gay's The Word - On Such a Night as This

    Performer: Simon Lepper. Singer: Kitty Whately.
  • Ivor Novello

    Gay's The Word - Finder Please Return

    Singer: Marilyn Hill Smith. Orchestra: Chandos Concert Orchestra. Conductor: Stuart Barry.
    • Chandos: CHAN9142.
    • Chandos.
    • 14.
  • Ivor Novello, Mary Ellis, Olive Gilbert & Drury Lane Theatre Orchestra

    The Dancing years - The Wings of sleep

    Conductor: Charles Prentice.
    • ASV: CDAJA5396.
    • ASV.
    • 14.
  • Simon Lepper

    Pray For Me

    Performer: Kitty Whately.

Broadcast

Composers A to Z

Composers A to Z

Visit the extensive audio archive of Radio 3 programmes about Composers and their works.

A man out of time – why Parry's music and ideas were at odds with his image...

A man out of time – why Parry's music and ideas were at odds with his image...

The composer of Jerusalem was very far from the conservative figure his image suggests.

Five reasons why we love Parry's Jerusalem

Five reasons why we love Parry's Jerusalem

What is the strange power of Jerusalem which makes strong men weep?

Composer Help Page

Composer Help Page

Find resources and contacts for composers from within the classical music industry.