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Classical Composers A-Z: Ivor Novello

Peter Wintersgill presents a brief biography of Ivor Novell, the composer of popular songs and musical comedies.

Born
David Ivor Davies, 15th January, 1893, in Cardiff.

Father
David, solicitor's clerk.

Mother
Clara, choral conductor, dominating personality, known as "Mam".

Childhood
Very musical and precocious, aided and abetted by "Mam". Sang as choirboy at Magdalene College Oxford.

Adolescence
Started writing songs at 15, voice broke at 16˝. Knew what the public wanted, “They are interested in the tune, not the orchestration.”

Adult Life
Wrote popular songs during World War I, e.g. "And her mother came too", and "Keep the Home Fires Burning".

He then starred in silent films, became known as The Handsomest Man in England.

Later went on the stage, playing Shakespeare and more modern authors too. For a short period he wrote plays, working with some of the great names of the theatre, e.g. Gladys Cooper, Lilian Braithwaite, Noel Coward, Vivien Leigh.

Finally, before and during World War II, he wrote that wonderful series of musical comedies, Glamourous Night (1935), Crest of the Wave (1937), The Dancing Years (1939), King’s Rhapsody (1942) and Perchance to Dream (1945)

Died 6th March, 1951, in London aged 58 of coronary thrombosis.

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