Author Topic: The Gilbert and Sullivan sanctuary  (Read 3961 times)

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Boris_G

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The Gilbert and Sullivan sanctuary
« on: July 19, 2007, 07:11:34 PM »
Perhaps it's significant that I'm not labelling this 'Arthur Sullivan'; so I'm not claiming great things for this composer. But for some reason I find when he wrote music to WS Gilbert's librettos, he tapped a certain... sexiness which I haven't heard in his other music (admittedly I haven't actively hunted for it). I've enjoyed listening to Gilbert and Sullivan since I was a child and still love Mikado, Pirates of Penzance, Patience and Iolanthe.

What do I mean by 'sexiness'? I'll be obvious and say that his writing for some of his lead female characters shows a relish for their voice, and a real tenderness which I find both touching and seductive. The much derided 'The sun whose rays are all ablaze', IMHO, is a beautiful song. And the bluff yet light-hearted fun in Pirates is a perfect foil to the charm of Mabel and her sisters.

I'll write more on this 'as the spirit moves me' (as my Cornish landlady of years ago used to say), but hope others, who may feel as I do that G&S is a 'guilty secret', will be brave enough to share this enthusiasm here.

Offline JoshLilly

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Re: The Gilbert and Sullivan sanctuary
« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2007, 04:23:48 AM »
http://www.patrick-county.org/josh/audio/lostchord.mp3
This is one of the earliest recordings of music ever made. It was recorded on 14 August of 1888, a performance with piano and cornet of Arthur Sullivan`s Lost Chord. The composer himself was in attendance.

http://www.patrick-county.org/josh/audio/sullivan.mp3
And here, on the same day as the music recording above, is a recording of some brief words spoken by Sullivan on the occasion of the unveiling of this new technological wonder, the phonograph. Part of his statement: " . . . For myself, I can only say that I am astonished and somewhat terrified at the results of this evening's experiment -- astonished at the wonderful power you have developed, and terrified at the thought that so much hideous and bad music may be put on record forever. But all the same, I think it is the most wonderful thing that I have ever experienced, and I congratulate you with all my heart on this wonderful discovery."
« Last Edit: July 20, 2007, 04:33:10 AM by JoshLilly »

Joan

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Re: The Gilbert and Sullivan sanctuary
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2007, 09:53:28 AM »
That's amazing, Josh! Thanks for posting that. Was that recorded on a wax cylinder?

cilgwyn

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Re: The Gilbert and Sullivan sanctuary
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2012, 11:24:47 AM »
And there I was wondering if there was a Gilbert and Sullivan thread?!!! :o
Three posts!
But it's a thread! It IS a thread! ;D

And what to say?

A rumour that the BBC Radio G & S productions (WITH dialogue!!!) are being made available to 'members' on a certain classical music forum (not this one).

Annoyance,that the Decca D'oyly Carte recording of Patience (with dialogue) is deleted & only available from sellers.

And from being national icons,and a staples at school & record libraries G & S do seem to have hit the dust!

OKay,four posts now!Things are looking up! ;D
« Last Edit: February 04, 2012, 12:40:11 PM by cilgwyn »

Offline Albion

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Re: The Gilbert and Sullivan sanctuary
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2012, 12:24:53 PM »
A rumour that the BBC G & S productions (WITH dialogue!!!) are being made available to 'members' on a certain classical music forum (not this one).

... but, of course, as Ivor has averred on several occasions, there is nothing of interest over there!

 ;)
A piece is worth your attention, and is itself for you praiseworthy, if it makes you feel you have not wasted your time over it. (SG, 1922)

snyprrr

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Re: The Gilbert and Sullivan sanctuary
« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2012, 04:18:30 PM »
I was asked just yesterday if G&S were 'Great Music'. I said 'semi-Great', because they made it into the Penguin Guide! :-[ ;D

cilgwyn

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Re: The Gilbert and Sullivan sanctuary
« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2012, 04:42:26 AM »
 ;D As a teenager,G& S DID have two good things going for them,John Reed (the patter song bloke!) & Owen Brannigan's very over the top performance as the Police Seargent in The Pirates of Penzance (D'Oyle Carte,Decca recording). This recording always got the most play time,even though the,earlier,HMS Pinafore was supposed to be even better. It was one G & S recording,where the comedy & the dialogue seemed to 'take off'. It seemed strange,to my ears,that there were so many fine recordings of continental operetta's;but when it came to our own G & S,the results were invariably flat & studio bound! Yet,despite all their inherent flaws,I still prefer the old Decca D'Oyly Carte recordings to any others;although having said that I DO rather like the Marriner recording of 'The Yeomen of the Guard'. The singing is very good,for this most operatic of G & S operetta's,they left just enough dialogue in for it to be something more than just a jumble of musical numbers (I'm VERY pro dialogue! ;D) & you get a young Bryn Terfel,before he started to get too loud & blustery. I only wish Marriner could have done some more.
  The next 'most played' G & S after the D'Oyly Pirates,was their recording of Iolanthe. I 'had' the later recording,made in the 70's,which is supposed to be inferior,but sounded pretty good to me,having no immeadiate comparison. Nevertheless,it was John Reed's rendition of the 'Nightmare song' which got me going! ;D
  Interesting in hindsight that all the G & S Lps I listened to,at the time,were borrowed from the local library,which,unsuprisingly,had them all,right down to 'Utopia Ltd & The Grand Duke!
  The D'Oyly Carte 'Trial by Jury' was another 'good one',if you like that sort of thing!!!

I remember the entire school being held hostage in assembly until someone querulously (in desperation) agreed to volunteer for the school G & S production. Of course,those were the days of "GO TO MY ROOM BOY!!!!!" :o
It DIDN'T help!!! ;D
 
« Last Edit: February 05, 2012, 04:51:11 AM by cilgwyn »

kishnevi

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Re: The Gilbert and Sullivan sanctuary
« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2012, 08:28:53 AM »
D'oyly Carte are not the only people who have done G&S



Utterly campy, always funny, and Kline is superb.  George Rose is the Major General.
There was a stage production prior to the film version, which is also available on DVD,  but which I have never seen do I don't know how it differs.

Offline Jaakko Keskinen

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Re: The Gilbert and Sullivan sanctuary
« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2014, 10:12:46 AM »
I think HMS Pinafore is the greatest english opera ever written. And do I need to say where I heard HMS Pinafore for the first time?

« Last Edit: June 13, 2014, 10:15:24 AM by Alberich »
"Javert, though frightful, had nothing ignoble about him. Probity, sincerity, candor, conviction, the sense of duty, are things which may become hideous when wrongly directed; but which, even when hideous, remain grand."

- Victor Hugo

mn dave

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Re: The Gilbert and Sullivan sanctuary
« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2014, 10:14:23 AM »
I think HMS Pinafore is the greatest english opera ever written. 'nuff said. And do I need to say where I heard HMS Pinafore for the first time?

Yes. :)

Offline Jaakko Keskinen

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Re: The Gilbert and Sullivan sanctuary
« Reply #10 on: June 13, 2014, 10:19:38 AM »
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uDUdYG1NgbU Lyrics and even the musical excerpts at few points are a bit different from the original opera but it doesn't bother me much. Plus Kelsey Grammer's voice is gorgeous!
"Javert, though frightful, had nothing ignoble about him. Probity, sincerity, candor, conviction, the sense of duty, are things which may become hideous when wrongly directed; but which, even when hideous, remain grand."

- Victor Hugo

mn dave

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Re: The Gilbert and Sullivan sanctuary
« Reply #11 on: June 13, 2014, 10:22:18 AM »
I've always meant to listen to more G&S. I like The Mikado. I used to own the Telarc disc and that was fantastic.

cilgwyn

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Re: The Gilbert and Sullivan sanctuary
« Reply #12 on: July 04, 2014, 08:40:20 AM »
For those who like Gilbert & Sullivan,the BBC recordings of all the operettas,complete with dialogue,broadcast in the 1980's are available for download at the AMF forum. You have to be a member of course and register like you do here,I might add. The recordings of Ruddigore and Princess Ida are very good. Having one of the most entertaining storylines,Imho Decca really should have included the dialogue with their recording of Ruddigore. Too late now,of course,but you finally get to hear a chance to hear it all in a very good performance! Much better than the Ohio Light opera recording with dialogue,which I confess I actually quite enjoyed. Along with Utopia Limited it is arguably one of their better efforts. The BBC Princess Ida is probably the best recording I have heard of this operetta. A commercial cd of this recording release would be very useful indeed for G & S fans who do like the chatter in between. The same goes for the BBC Ruddigore!  And of course,the AMF also have Utopia Limited and The Grand Duke,also with dialogue. I actually haven't listened to these yet,but if they are as good as the other BBC performances they might very well be the best recordings of all? (Must make some cdrs soon!!). The Mikado,also with dialogue,manages to be very amusing in places. I enjoyed it very much!! :) I only wish the BBC had done the wonderful operetta,The Arcadians,as well!

cilgwyn

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Re: The Gilbert and Sullivan sanctuary
« Reply #13 on: July 05, 2014, 06:51:44 AM »
Favourite recordings of G & S,now! :

Decca D'Oyly Carte with dialogue:

The Pirates of Penzance
HMS Pinafore (1959)
Iolanthe (1960)
The Gondoliers (1961)
Patience

I prefer the recordings with dialogue,on the whole,but do like to hear them without dialogue depending on my mood and the emi recordings with Sargent are ideal. Yes,the pacing is slow,and they are low on humour;but the starry cast and glorious singing more than compensates. I even quite like Geraint Evans in the Mikado,although he obviously isn't the ideal choice for the role!!


Philips,Marriner:

The Yeomen of the guard

I like this recording and wish Marriner could have done some more. The Mikado,for example! Oh,well!!


Decca,D'Oyly Carte without dialogue:

The Mikado (1973)

I like this recording. It is the one that I was 'brought up with' because it was in the library. I think it's wonderful and I have no problem with the performances,whatsoever,unlike some. I particularly like John Reed singing Tit Willow!


Historical recordings:

The Mikado (1926)
The Gondoliers (1927)
Trial by Jury (1928)

Lively,characterful recordings. Complete without dialogue,of course. The Mikado of 1926 has legendary status and some people say the 1927 Gondoliers is the best. The 1928 Trial by Jury is in joint place with the Decca D'Oyly Carte with John Reed;although the Sagent emi comes a very close third.


Albany,Ohio Light Opera:

Ruddigore

Complete with dialogue. Their best effort imho. Lively performances and the feel of a stage performance compensate for any shortcomings in the singing department,which is pretty good for them!


BBC recordings with dialogue:

Available at the AMF Forum. These are great and a a cd release is long overdue imho (as they say!) The BBC recordings of Ruddigore and Princess Ida are the best I have heard.


Pre-electrical:

HMS Pinafore (1907)

Wow! Talk about old! Available on the Symposium label. I quite enjoyed this curiosity!

« Last Edit: July 05, 2014, 07:26:51 AM by cilgwyn »

cilgwyn

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Re: The Gilbert and Sullivan sanctuary
« Reply #14 on: February 02, 2017, 01:33:43 PM »
Wow! This thread hasn't seen much action for a while!! ??? :o ;D
I needed a change after all those recordings of Cyril Scott's chamber & piano music (not that I didn't enjoy it,please note! I did! ) so I put on this......the 1974 Iolanthe with dialogue. Not as highly regarded as the 1960 recording,but it was the first recording I ever heard,so I have a special fondness for it.  The dialogue is delivered in a more lively fashion than the 1960 recording and it also has the benefit of the RPO. I think it's a pretty good performance myself.  (Warning!I've got a shelf groaning (literally?! ??? ;D) with multiple recordings of G & S,so this thread could be about to get a little longer?!)


cilgwyn

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Re: The Gilbert and Sullivan sanctuary
« Reply #15 on: February 03, 2017, 09:25:40 AM »
I'm listening to the 1960 Decca recording of Gilbert and Sullivan's Iolanthe,with dialogue,now. This is generally regarded as the finest recording of this operetta.I remember when my old school mounted a production of Iolanthe,none of the pupils volunteered to take part. They kept all 900 children captive in the assembly hall until a few pupils facing hunger (and probably gasping for a fag) finally handed themselves in. Everyone in the production that ensued was tone deaf. Happy days!! :)

« Last Edit: July 05, 2017, 06:54:30 AM by cilgwyn »

cilgwyn

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Re: The Gilbert and Sullivan sanctuary
« Reply #16 on: February 07, 2017, 07:33:43 AM »
I've heard about this 1962 emi recording,conducted by Alexander Faris,of The Mikado (without dialogue) coupled with highlights from Iolanthe before,but have never heard it.......until now!! A certain ubiquitous uk seller (and buyer) had a s/h  copy £1.66 post free on ebay (it's generally allot more). How could I resist?!! The main G & S website is a little dismissive of it;but some people,judging from reviewers on Amazon,appear to rate it highly. I'm listening to it (The Mikado) now,and it strikes me as a lively performance. Definitely more fun than Sargent,and an interesting alternative to the D'Oyly Carte recordings from that period! :) :)



« Last Edit: July 05, 2017, 06:50:49 AM by cilgwyn »

snyprrr

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Re: The Gilbert and Sullivan sanctuary
« Reply #17 on: February 07, 2017, 11:34:37 AM »
Wow! This thread hasn't seen much action for a while!! ??? :o ;D

mmm... not just the Thread :( sigh

cilgwyn

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Re: The Gilbert and Sullivan sanctuary
« Reply #18 on: February 10, 2017, 03:30:04 PM »
Indeed! It ought to be renamed the Gilbert & Sullivan hermitage! :( ;D
Come on all you Gilbert and Sullivan fans!! A great British institution!! ::)