Evelyn Laye - Queen Of Musical Comedy

A fine tribute to Evelyn Laye, the incomparable queen of musical comedy

Record and Artist Details

Composer or Director: Nat D Ayer, Ray Noble, Richard Addinsell, Franz Lehár, Johann Strauss II, Noel (Pierce) Coward, Oscar Straus, Mischa Spoliansky, Edward Elgar, Noel Gay, Leo Fall, Frederick Loewe, John Darby, Sigmund Romberg, David Heneker, Giuseppe Verdi, Jack Popplewell, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Nacio Herb Brown, Stephen (Joshua) Sondheim, Hans May, Ivor Novello, Jerome (David) Kern, Arthur Schwartz, Anonymous

Genre:

Vocal

Label: Avid Master Series

Media Format: CD or Download

Mastering:

ADD

Catalogue Number: AMSC977

Tracks:

Composition Artist Credit
If You Were The Only Girl In The World Evelyn Laye
Nat D Ayer Composer
Princess Charming OST Evelyn Laye
Ray Noble Composer
I'm Going to see You Today Evelyn Laye
Richard Addinsell Composer
Paganini Franz Lehár Composer
Evelyn Laye
(Die) Fledermaus, '(The) Bat' Evelyn Laye
Johann Strauss II Composer
Where are the Songs We Sung? Evelyn Laye
Noel (Pierce) Coward Composer
(Les) Trois valses Evelyn Laye
Oscar Straus Composer
Bitter Sweet Evelyn Laye
Noel (Pierce) Coward Composer
(Les) Trois valses Evelyn Laye
Oscar Straus Composer
I Wait for You Evelyn Laye
Mischa Spoliansky Composer
Land of Hope and Glory Edward Elgar Composer
Evelyn Laye
Lights Up Evelyn Laye
Noel Gay Composer
Madame Pompadour Evelyn Laye
Leo Fall Composer
Gigi Evelyn Laye
Frederick Loewe Composer
Where did I leave my Glasses? John Darby Composer
Evelyn Laye
Paganini Franz Lehár Composer
Evelyn Laye
Lights Up Noel Gay Composer
Evelyn Laye
(The) New Moon Evelyn Laye
Sigmund Romberg Composer
(The) New Moon Sigmund Romberg Composer
Evelyn Laye
Phil the Fluter Evelyn Laye
David Heneker Composer
(La) traviata Giuseppe Verdi Composer
Evelyn Laye
If I should fall in Love Again Jack Popplewell Composer
Evelyn Laye
Romeo and Juliet Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Composer
Evelyn Laye
(Die) Lustige Witwe, '(The) Merry Widow' Franz Lehár Composer
Evelyn Laye
Heavenly Night Nacio Herb Brown Composer
Evelyn Laye
Bitter Sweet Evelyn Laye
Noel (Pierce) Coward Composer
Bitter Sweet Noel (Pierce) Coward Composer
Evelyn Laye
Paganini Franz Lehár Composer
Evelyn Laye
(A) Little Night Music Stephen (Joshua) Sondheim Composer
Evelyn Laye
Mrs Worthington Evelyn Laye
Noel (Pierce) Coward Composer
Wedding in Paris Hans May Composer
Evelyn Laye
Princess Charming OST Evelyn Laye
Ray Noble Composer
Perchance to dream Ivor Novello Composer
Evelyn Laye
Princess Charming OST Ray Noble Composer
Evelyn Laye
(The) Night is Young Sigmund Romberg Composer
Evelyn Laye
Blue Eyes Jerome (David) Kern Composer
Evelyn Laye
(The) New Moon Sigmund Romberg Composer
Evelyn Laye
Phil the Fluter Evelyn Laye
David Heneker Composer
Princess Charming OST Evelyn Laye
Ray Noble Composer
(The) Dancing Years Ivor Novello Composer
Evelyn Laye
(The) Night is Young Sigmund Romberg Composer
Evelyn Laye
(The) New Moon Evelyn Laye
Sigmund Romberg Composer
(Die) Lustige Witwe, '(The) Merry Widow' Evelyn Laye
Franz Lehár Composer
(Die) Lustige Witwe, '(The) Merry Widow' Franz Lehár Composer
Evelyn Laye
Wedding in Paris Hans May Composer
Evelyn Laye
Bitter Sweet Evelyn Laye
Noel (Pierce) Coward Composer
Paganini Franz Lehár Composer
Evelyn Laye
(The) New Moon Sigmund Romberg Composer
Evelyn Laye
Lights Up Noel Gay Composer
Evelyn Laye
Between the Devil Arthur Schwartz Composer
Evelyn Laye
Bitter Sweet Noel (Pierce) Coward Composer
Evelyn Laye
(The) Guard's Brigade Evelyn Laye
Anonymous Composer
Bitter Sweet Evelyn Laye
Noel (Pierce) Coward Composer
(Die) Fledermaus, '(The) Bat' Johann Strauss II Composer
Evelyn Laye
Glancing over the contents of this sumptuous collection one is inevitably pulled up short by the dates: Evelyn Laye – “Queen of Musical Comedy” – reigned from the 1920s to the 1990s, with the recordings here spanning an astonishing 71 years. And we talk of Elaine Paige as England’s “first lady of musical theatre”.

Laye was described by the legendary Austrian film director Max Reinhard as “that rare and Holy Trinity of the stage, a great singer, a great actress, and a great beauty”. She began in variety – a Gaiety Girl at 17 – and she never really left the West End, except, of course, for her sojourns on Broadway and in Hollywood. The first and last things we hear in this collection is the number that became her enduring signature tune – “I’ll see you again” from Noel Coward’s Bitter Sweet. She never did play the show in the West End, despite Noel’s implorations, on account that it was presented by Charles B Cochran who had paired her husband Sonnie Hale with Jessie Matthews, thus beginning one of show business’s most notorious affairs and ending her marriage. But she could not resist “the part of a lifetime” and played it across the pond to great acclaim. Rarely had a show title proved more fitting.

So what do we have here? Well, much that is familiar and treasurable, including the song that was written expressly for her by Sigmund Romberg and Oscar Hammerstein, “When I grow too old to dream” (in both her recorded versions, studio and soundtrack) which aches with nostalgia and shows off that pristine operetta voice of hers with its ingratiating portamenti and what can only be described as a charmingly old-fashioned way of drawing her audience closer in the hushed intimacy of the reprise. That was very much a stylistic gesture of the times.

But it’s the novelties and rarities here – many never previously released – that will appeal to the connoisseurs: wartime appearances with ENSA including a charged “Land of Hope and Glory” at Drury Lane in 1940 and “Love is my reason” at the Navy barracks in Chatham, Kent; a late appearance – her last in a stage musical – as Madame Armfeldt in Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music at the Northcott Theatre, Exeter, where (despite muddy sound) she twinkles devilishly recalling her “Liaisons”; she does so again, this time with Harry Secombe, in a concert rendering of “I remember it well” from Gigi (she was 84 and remembered it very well); and a sweet impromptu sounding reprise of “If you were the only girl in the world” with Roy Hudd.

Most touching of all, though, are her last recordings in the studio. She was 91 and had lost none of her comic timing in a song by John Dalby, “Where have I put my glasses?” (her comic touch is too rarely celebrated) and an incomparably moving trifle, “Thank You”, where she effectively signs off from her loyal audience keeping it simple and discreet and, as was her way, so heartfelt.

Gramophone Print

  • Print Edition

From £67/year

Subscribe

The Gramophone Digital Club

  • Digital Edition
  • Digital Archive
  • Reviews Database
  • Events & Offers

From £90/year

Subscribe

Gramophone Reviews

  • Reviews Database

From £67/year

Subscribe

Gramophone Digital Edition

  • Digital Edition
  • Digital Archive

From £67/year

Subscribe

If you are a library, university or other organisation that would be interested in an institutional subscription to Gramophone please click here for further information.