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Novello: Shine Through My Dreams

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Album Review

Ivor Novello was a famous songwriter in his native England; in fact, a songwriting award is given in his name each year. While not as well-known stateside, Novello's endearing blend of jazz, classical, and dinner-jacket musical theater received a boost in popularity when the composer was characterized in Robert Altman's 2002 film Gosford Park. In addition to Jeremy Northam's portrayal of him in the mystery, Novello's music was also used throughout the film. "I Can Give You the Starlight" appears on Shine Through My Dreams: Original 1917-1950 Recordings in its original form, along with 17 other Novello originals that feature both male and female lead vocalists. Most of the material is selected from productions featuring Novello-penned music, including Glamorous Night, Perchance to Dream, and The Dancing Years. One highlight is a scene excerpt from act one of Murder in Mayfair. Musically, much of the cuts here quiver with that high-collared feel of prewar pop music. Swelling strings, fluttering violins, and vocalists that always seem to be making cupid shapes with their lips — this is the sort of music included on Shine Through My Dreams. While it might not be the most thorough retrospective, the Naxos collection does give a solid overview of Novello's music and includes full liner notes. The pouting cover shot of the composer himself also illustrates how ingenious the casting of near lookalike Northam in Gosford Park was.

Biography

Born: 15 January 1893 in Cardiff, South Glamorgan, Wales

Genre: Vocal

Years Active: '10s, '20s, '30s, '40s, '50s

Ivor Novello was one of the most successful British composer/performers from the period of the 1920s until his death in 1951. A successful songwriter, composer, playwright, and stage and screen actor, in England he was as varied and popular a talent as Noël Coward, although as a playwright his work tended more toward lighter, more romantic fare, and utilized more archaic forms than Coward's creations. Born David Ivor Davies in Cardiff, Wales, in 1893, he was the son of David Davies, a government...
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