Record Company:Single CD featuring Peter Greenwell -
Noel Coward's last accompanist. Cat No:SILVAD3009
- Noel Coward, once described
by Arnold Bennett as "the Congreve of our time". and
by Terence Rattigan as a "phenomenon", was born in
Teddington on 16th December 1899. His parents were not well off
and his education was scrappy, but his mother taught him to sing
and dance and he made his first appearance before an audience
in 1907 at the end of a term concert singing "Coo"
from A COUNTRY GIRL. As a child he sang in choirs and trained
for the Chapel Royal Choir but failed to gain admittance. His
first professional appearance was at the Little Theatre in January
1911 when he played Prince Mussel in a children's fairy-tale
play called THE GOLDFISH, having answered a newspaper advertisement
for the part. In the same year he was engaged by Charles Hawtrey
and continued until he was eighteen as a boy actor playing such
parts as Slightly in PETER PAN, William in WHERE THE RAINBOW
ENDS and Charley Wykenharn in CHARLEY~S AUNT. He was called-up
for military service in 1918 but was discharged a few months
later because of a head injury.
By now he had written a number of songs, a novel or two and some
short stories; his first play THE LAST TRICK (1918) was written
in a week and bought by an American agent but was never produced.
His comedy I'LL LEAVE IT TO YOU was presented in London in 1920
with Coward playing one of the leading roles. This was followed
by THE YOUNG IDEA (1922) inspired by Shaw's YOU NEVER CAN TELL
- but his real break~through was in 1923 with the Charlot Revue,
LONDON'S CALLING. His early plays, including THE VORTEX (1924)
and FALLEN ANGELS (1925), aroused a great deal of controversy,
as did HAY FEVER (also 1925). Coward wrote, several revues for
C.B.Cochran including ON WITH THE DANCE (1925) and THE YEAR OF
GRACE (1928). The reaction to this success culminated in a riot
on the first night of SIROCCO (1927) but he was again successful
in 1929 with the sentimental romance BITTER SWEET, in 1930 with
PRIVATE LIVES and in 1931 with the Patriotic CAVALCADE. Coward
became one of the most prolific authors of his time with an almost
non-stop outpouring of plays, revues, sketches and lyrics. DESIGN
FOR LIVING and CONVERSATION P~)~iece both appeared in the early
thirties, to be followed by the nine one act plays of TONIGHT
AT 8.30 (l~35) and BLITHE Spirit (1941). PRESENT LAUGHTER and
THIS HAPPY BREED were both produced in 1942 and later works include
RELATIVE VALUES (1951), NUDE WITH VIOLIN (1956), WAITING IN THE
WINGS (1960) and SAIL AWAY (1962). In 1966 a triple bill, SUITE
IN THREE KEYS, was seen in London.
Coward, had a successful career in films as both actor and director
and often appeared in the first production of many of his own
plays. He was also the author of two volumes of autobiography,
PRESENT INDICATIVE (1937) and FUTURE INDEFINITE (1954), which
have been successfully published with PAST CONDITIONAL, written
in the mod-1960's, in one volume. In December 1969 a midnight
matinee in honour of his seventieth birthday was given under
the title A TALENT TO AMUSE and in January 1970 he was knighted
for serv ice to t he theatre. He died in 1973.
- Peter first came to prominence
as a composer with his score for the musical THE CROOKED MILE
which was produced with great success at the Cambridge Theatre,
London and the Theatre am Gartnerplau, in Munich. His other West
End musicals were TWENTY MINUTES SOUTH at the St.Martin's Theatre,
HOUSE OF CARDS at the Phoenix and THE THREE CASKETS and ANTARCTICA
for the Players Theatre.
His film scores include THE VIRGIN SOLDIERS and for his musical
arrangement for Ken Russell's film THE BOYFRIEND he received
an Academy Award Oscar nomination.
Among numerous television credits for composition and arrangements
are the award-winning series THAT WAS THE WEEK THAT WAS, NOT
SO MUCH A PROGRAMME, BBC 3, VICTORIA REGINA, ALICE eic. and more
recently two series of SONG BY SONG highly acclaimed both here
an in the USA.
For many years Peter collaborated with the late Caryl Brahms
and Ned Sherrin both on radio TV and in the theatre, and their
musical THE MITFORD GIRLS was one of the great successes at the
Chichester Festival Theatre, subsequently transferring to the
Globe Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue. It was while auditioning the
show for the Mitford sisters themselves that Debo, Duchess of
Devonshire, said to Peter, 'Where do you ,sing, as a rule?".
"Nowhere", he said and she said ---Well,you should!"
- that was the beginning of Peter's performing career.
Peter's first solo stage app~arance came in April 1984 when he
was seen in NOEL, the charity performance honouring Noel Coward
at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. He sang and played a number
of Coward songs - a fitting tribute as Peter himself accompanied
Noel Coward in his own cabaret performances.
In July 1984 he made his West End cabaret debut at London's famous
Pizza on the Park. He opened for two weeks to unanimous acclaim
from press and public: "A must - his command of Noel Coward
is unmatched' said The Sunday Times. "A piano entertainer
of the highest class" (Financial Times), "A cabaret
turn in infinitely nostalgic charm" (Punch). The season
was sell out and this success has been repeated on many occasions
Radio and TV appearances followed with more concert and cabaret
engagements, including Marbella and Memphis, Tennessee. In 1985
he again collaborated with Ned Sherrin on the SLOANE RANGER REVUE,
produced at the Duchess Theatre.
Peter delighted Chichester Festival Theatre audience in the..
summer of 1994 in the popular musical NOEL/COLE - LET'S DO IT.
In the Minerva Studio Theatre he played his one-man show A TALENT
TO AMUSE to capacity audiences and in February 1995 he returned
for a repeat performance, by public demand, to the main Festival
This album was recorded in July 1995 in StratfordUpon-Avon just
before Peter was preparing to embark on a UK tour with A TALENT
- The Shakespeare Institute
The University of Birmingham's Shakespeare Institute is unique
in the. world. Situated in Shakespeare"s home town of Stratford-Upon-Avon,
close to his birthplace and the theatres of the Royal Shakespeare
Company, it is dedicated to the advanced study of the work of
Williant Shakespeare and his contemporaries.
The Institute has a world-wide reputation. Successive Directors
have been general editors of the principal editions of Shakespeare's
works of the last few decades. Scholars from all over the world
attend the Institute for the International Shakespeare Conference,
held every two years.. As the centre for graduate study, the
Institute has invaluable resources for research.
The Institute is housed at Mason Croft, an attractive eighteenth^century
building in Church Street; 8 tratford-Upon -Avon. To accommodate
increasing demand for Institute courses and its growing collection
of books, microfilms and unique research material, the University
has planned a new Shakespeare Institute Library in the grounds
of Mason Croft. The aim of the Shakespeare Development Campaign
is to raise the funds to build the new library and to confirm
its Position as a major international resource.
1,1 the short time since it was launched in October 1993 the
Campaign has met with a considerable degree of success. Funds
to cover the construction of the library building have been provided
by the Johymic Johnson Trust. In recognition of its supp'ort
and the personal involvement of Mr.V.H. (Johnnic) Johnson, the
library will be named the Johnson Library of the Shakespeare
Institute. In addition donations have been received from charitable
trusts, companies, and the former students and friends of the
Institute, augmented from the University's own funds. It is planned
that the John Library will be open for use in September 1995.
Despite this impressive progress there is still some way to go
before the Campaign's goals are fully achieved. Funds are required
for a courtyard reading room to link the library to the existing
building. The equipping of the new 1Anary with the most recent
developments in information technology also remains to be provided
for. Finally support is needed to enable the University to offer
financial assistance to well-qualified students who wish to study
at the, Institute.
If love Were All
Dance Little Lady
Poor little Rich Girl
Play Orchestra Play
2. Uncle Harry
3. Sail away
4. "I first met Noel ..."
5. Mad Dogs and Englishmen
6. A Room With a View
7. London medley
London is a Little Bit of All Right
What-ho Mrs. Brisket
London at Night
- 8. Could You Please ObligeUs
With a Bren Gun
9. That Is The End of The News
10. Any Little Fish
11. Why Must The Show Go On
12. He was very much involved ..."
13. Wordl Weary
14. In a Bar on the Piccola Marina
15. Mrs. Worthington
16. Where Are The Songs We Sung
17. Mad About the Boy
18. The Party's Over Now