Author Topic: Sir Arthur Sullivan (1842-1900)  (Read 88 times)

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Offline Albion

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Sir Arthur Sullivan (1842-1900)
« on: October 22, 2020, 07:34:22 AM »
Are there any admirers out there of this multi-faceted composer away from the enduring and popular association with W.S. Gilbert? There is far more to Sullivan than is commonly believed or that his somewhat maligned reputation warrants! In the last 20 years the vigorous Sir Arthur Sullivan Society based here in the UK has fought his corner magnificently and sponsored many significant and revelatory discs. The following is a list of recommended professional recordings which are all well worth investigating, but perhaps those interested might first explore the discs marked with an asterisk:

Incidental music to The Tempest (1861-62)/ Incidental music to Macbeth (1888)/ Overture Marmion (1867) - Dutton Epoch 2CDLX 7331
Suite from The Tempest (1861-62)/ Symphony in E The Irish (1863-66)/ Overture In Memoriam (1866) - Chandos CHAN9859*
Overture The Sapphire Necklace (1863-4)/ Incidental music to The Merchant of Venice (1871)/ Incidental music to Henry VIII (1877), etc. - Marco Polo 8.223461
Ballet L'Ile Enchantee (1864)/ Ballet music from Thespis (1871) - Marco Polo 8.223461
Oratorio The Prodigal Son (1869)/ Boer War Te Deum (1900) - Hyperion CDA 67423
Oratorio The Light of the World (1873) - Dutton Epoch 2CDLX 7356*
Incidental music to The Merry Wives of Windsor (1874)/ Suite from Macbeth (1888)/ Incidental music to King Arthur (1895) - Marco Polo 8.223635
Cantata The Golden Legend (1886) - Hyperion CDA 67280 (now available as download or archive CD)*
Romantic Opera Ivanhoe (1891) - Chandos CHAN10578(3)*
Original English Opera Haddon Hall (1892) - Dutton Epoch 2CDLX 7372
Ballet Victoria and Merrie England (1897) - Marco Polo 8.223677
Romantic Musical Drama The Beauty Stone (1898) - Chandos CHAN 10794(2)*
Songs (1855-1900) - Chandos CHAN 10935(2)


Unfortunately the professional recording (again for Dutton Epoch) of one of Sullivan's most attractive choral works, the Sacred Musical Drama The Martyr of Antioch (1880), has had to be put back to 2022 at the earliest because of the current pandemic...

 :)
« Last Edit: October 23, 2020, 03:04:35 AM by Albion »
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)

Offline kyjo

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Re: Sir Arthur Sullivan (1842-1900)
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2020, 08:54:27 AM »
I know the Irish Symphony, the highlight of which is the delightful, catchy scherzo. The other movements can be a bit "four-square" at times IMO, but the whole piece is well worth hearing. I heard part of the Suite from The Tempest on the radio once and it sounded very promising!
"Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music" - Sergei Rachmaninoff

Offline Albion

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Re: Sir Arthur Sullivan (1842-1900)
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2020, 09:38:05 AM »
Yes, given it's date, the symphony blew a breath of fresh air into British music and confirmed Sullivan's growing reputation as a great prospect. Only now is it being realised that he did indeed fulfil that promise...

 ;)
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)

Offline Albion

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Re: Sir Arthur Sullivan (1842-1900)
« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2020, 03:11:05 AM »
Suite from The Tempest (1861-62)/ Symphony in E The Irish (1863-66)/ Overture In Memoriam (1866) - Chandos CHAN9859*
Oratorio The Light of the World (1873) - Dutton Epoch 2CDLX 7356*
Cantata The Golden Legend (1886) - Hyperion CDA 67280 (now available as download or archive CD)*
Romantic Opera Ivanhoe (1891) - Chandos CHAN10578(3)*
Romantic Musical Drama The Beauty Stone (1898) - Chandos CHAN 10794(2)*

Given the length of the list of discs given in the first post, I've marked the five recordings above with an asterisk which will give a good overview of Sullivan's achievements in several genres: symphony, overture, incidental music, oratorio, cantata and romantic (not comic) opera...

 :)
« Last Edit: October 23, 2020, 03:33:21 AM by Albion »
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)

Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: Sir Arthur Sullivan (1842-1900)
« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2020, 01:05:32 PM »
Given the length of the list of discs given in the first post, I've marked the five recordings above with an asterisk which will give a good overview of Sullivan's achievements in several genres: symphony, overture, incidental music, oratorio, cantata and romantic (not comic) opera...

 :)

Rarely considered is Sullivan's work in the field of Chamber Music.  There's a first movement from a string quartet that he wrote when on the Mendelssohn scholarship in Leipzig as well as a brief salon-esque Romance for quartet as well.  The string quartet movement does sound Mendelssohnian but its good enough that you are genuinely sorry he didn't either complete the student work or return to the genre in maturity.  This disc offers a good overview;


Offline Albion

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Re: Sir Arthur Sullivan (1842-1900)
« Reply #5 on: Today at 03:22:33 AM »
Rarely considered is Sullivan's work in the field of Chamber Music.  There's a first movement from a string quartet that he wrote when on the Mendelssohn scholarship in Leipzig as well as a brief salon-esque Romance for quartet as well.  The string quartet movement does sound Mendelssohnian but its good enough that you are genuinely sorry he didn't either complete the student work or return to the genre in maturity.  This disc offers a good overview;



Yes, that is a lovely disc as well. Perhaps not essential but certainly one for those who catch the Sullivan bug! The Duo Concertante for cello and piano is splendid... Indeed it is a pity that he didn't write more chamber music with such an innate melodic gift, as indeed it is that the second symphony rumoured in 1868 never came to fruition. At the time of his death there were no doubt many unfulfilled projects in his mind: until he was effectively ousted by Leeds and Charles Villiers Stanford after the 1898 Festival (which he had conducted since 1880), he hoped (with what was perhaps wishful thinking) to supply another choral work for the 1901 Festival. If Britain had a stronger tradition of full-length ballet, along the lines of Russia and France, he (along with Frederic Cowen and Edward German) may well have contributed to that particular genre to the benefit of the national repertoire. As it is, we must be grateful for what he did achieve during his 40-year career.

 :)
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)

Offline Biffo

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Re: Sir Arthur Sullivan (1842-1900)
« Reply #6 on: Today at 04:19:42 AM »
After checking my collection, I have more non-operatic Sullivan than I remembered -

Irish Symphony x 2 (Groves, Hickox)
Cello Concerto in D x 2 (both Mackerras who reconstructed the work)
Overture di Ballo
In memoriam
Suite from The Tempest
Te Deum

Stretching it a bit - Opera Overtures (not all by Sullivan himself) and Pineapple Poll (arr. Mackerras)

Not a lot and I haven't listened to it for a while. Finally, I am not a complete Savoyard - I like Pinafore, Pirates, Patience and Mikado - the rest I can live without.