PE0203. Arlette (Guy Le Feuvre & Ivor Novello),w.Winifred Barnes, Joseph Coyne, Stanley Lupino, Leonard Hornsey, Adrah Fair, Johnny Fields, Leonard McKay, etc. (England) Palaeophonics 104, recorded 1917, w.Elaborate The Play 20pp. Brochure replete w.photos from the London production.
George Grossmith & Edward Laurillard present ARLETTE: an operette in three acts / book by Claude Ronald and L. Bouvet; translated by Jose Levy; adapted for the English stage by Austen Hurgon and George Arthurs; music by Guy Le Feuvre and Ivor Novello; lyrics by Adrian Ross and Clifford Grey.
In London Ivor Novello found a mentor in Sir Edward Marsh, a well-known patron of the arts. Marsh encouraged him to compose and introduced him to people who could help his career. He adopted part of his mother's maiden name, Novello as his professional surname, although he did not change it legally until 1927.
In 1914, at the start of the First World War, Novello wrote Keep the Home Fires Burning, a song that expressed the feelings of innumerable families sundered by World War I. Novello composed the music for the song to a lyric by the American Lena Guilbert-Ford, and it became a huge popular success, bringing Novello money and fame at the age of 21. In other respects, the war had less impact on Novello than on many young men of his age. He avoided active service until June 1916, when he reported to a Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) training depot as a probationary flight sub-lieutenant. After twice crashing an aeroplane, and with the influence of Marsh, he was moved to the Air Ministry office in central London performing clerical duties for the duration of the war.
Novello continued to write songs while serving in the RNAS. He had his first stage success with THEODORE & CO in 1916, a production by George Grossmith, Jr. and Edward Laurillard with a score composed by Novello and the young Jerome Kern. In the same year, Novello contributed to André Charlot's revue SEE-SAW. In 1917 he wrote for another Grossmith and Laurillard production, the operette ARLETTE, for which he contributed additional numbers to an existing French score by Jane Vieu and Guy le Feuvre. In the same year, Marsh introduced him to the actor Bobbie Andrews, who became Novello's life partner. Andrews introduced Novello to the young Noël Coward. Coward, six years Novello's junior, was deeply envious of Novello's effortless glamour. He wrote, I just felt suddenly conscious of the long way I had to go before I could break into the magic atmosphere in which he moved and breathed with such nonchalance.
Joseph Coyne, sometimes billed as Joe Coyne, was an American-born singer and actor, known for his appearances in leading roles in Edwardian musical comedy in London. Coyne was born in New York and made his stage début there at Niblo's Garden when he was 16. He appeared for some years in Vaudeville, as part of a double-act, and moved to the legitimate theatre, joining the Rose Lyall Dramatic Company.
In 1901, Coyne made his first appearance on the London stage, playing opposite Edna May in THE GIRL FROM UP THERE. After that engagement, he returned to the U.S. until 1906, when he made his second West End appearance. In 1907, he made a great success as Danilo in the original London production of THE MERRY WIDOW, which he followed with a succession of romantic leading roles including Conder in THE DOLLAR PRINCESS (1909), Tony in THE QUAKER GIRL (1910), Teddy in THE DANCING MISTRESS (1912) and Sandy in THE GIRL FROM UTAH (1913).
After the First World War, Coyne played Robert Street in GOING UP (1918), Jimmy Smith in NO NO NANETTE (1925) and T. Boggs John in QUEEN HIGH (1926). Among his leading ladies, The Times listed Edna May, Gertie Millar, Lily Elsie, Constance Collier, Gertrude Lawrence and Binnie Hale.
Coyne's last appearance was in APRON STRINGS at the Vaudeville Theatre in 1931, in the role of Ezra Hunniwell. He settled in Virginia Water, near Windsor, where he died of pneumonia, aged 73.
-Zillah Dorset Akron
A gentleman farmer with a love of Edwardian and early Twentieth Century music has created a home industry of preserving early Musical and Revue scores as recorded on 78 and cylinder, the latter of which he is certainly a specialist. It is an impressive list of shows that Dominic Combe has digitalised and issued on Compact Disc. Not only is it the recordings but the lovingly created books that attach.
Early theatre recordings abound in Great Britain, more so than in the United States where it took them some time to start recording original cast material. And so, many early scores are available to be heard. But what Dominic discovered when he started assembling these scores was that often latter day British 78 and cylinder record collectors turned their noses up on recordings of dance music or covers and best of or gems making them hard to find. And, it is those recordings which can often contain songs not otherwise recorded. He has built strong connections with other collectors willing to lend material to make each issue as complete as possible.
Modern equipment and an aptitude for perfection have helped Dominic clean up old 78 and cylinder records to deliver a sound quality that can be stunning. The booklets are produced with as much care by using original theatre programmes or magazines such as PLAY PICTORIAL and MUSIC FOR ALL so that the listener can get a good idea of how the show looked as well as to see the unique art work used to advertise the show back then.
Dominic has issued over fifty of these gems and still has titles either being completed or awaiting to be started on. The label is called PALAEOPHONICS.
- y phayward, OVERTURES: The Bunnet-Muir Musical Theatre Archive Trust, 10 July, 2017