As a boy, Novello was a chorister at the Sardinian Embassy Chapel in Duke Street, Lincoln"s Inn Fields, where he learnt the organ from Samuel Webbe. And from 1796 to 1822 he became in succession organist of the Sardinian, Spanish (in Manchester Square) and Portuguese (in South Street, Grosvenor Square) chapels, and from 1840-1843 of Street Mary Moorfields. He taught music privately throughout his career.
One of his most notable pupils was musicologist and music critic Edward Holmes.
In 1849 he went to live at Nice, where he died. Many of his compositions were sacred music, much of which was very popular.
His great contribution, however, together with Christian Ignatius Latrobe, lay in the introduction to England of unknown compositions by the great masters, such as the Masses of Haydn and Mozart, the works of Palestrina, the treasures of the Fitzwilliam Museum, and innumerable, now well known great compositions. lieutenant was the latter who really created the business, and is credited with introducing cheap music and of departing from the method of publishing by subscription.
Charles Lamb wrote a poem (To Clara North) in her praise.