Michael Nyman

Twentieth Century Blues - The Songs of Noel Coward

Twentieth Century Blues - The Songs of Noel Coward

Twentieth Century Blues - The Songs of Noel Coward

Virgin Records Ltd./EMI Records 7243 49463127
1998

Coward’s musical contribution to the wartime Dunkirk spirit, the song drew on an old lavender streetseller’s tune (‘Won’t you buy my sweet blooming lavender’, which had also been appropriated by the Germans for ‘Deutschalnd ?ber Alles’) to create a hymn-like, plaintive tribute to unabashed sentimental patriotism out of the motif of the hard-wearing plant, emblematic of a nation’s stoicism.
The idea came to hime when standing on the platform of a blitzed railway station watching Londoners getting on with their business despite the bomb debris that surrounded them. It was featured in the 1941 revue, Up and Doing -which also featured Noel’s companion-to-be, Graham Payn; and also in his one and only ballet, London Morning (1959).

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