This fine old collection was $5. I bought it way, way right before I started writing this blog. Yet, I still remember the cashier remarking how it reminded him of Raiders of The Lost Ark and the Indiana Jones franchise, as the minor character of Sallah, played by John Rhys- Davies, is fond of singing Gilbert & Sullivan numbers. I found it a bit odd not only that the young tattooed clerk could connect this but could connect lines to HMS Pinafore.
On that note, a month back (or longer depending on when you read this), I attended The Houston Gilbert & Sullivan Society’s production of The Gondoliers. I felt the production was quite good and very entertaining but as I went to the Sunday matinee, I was quite concerned that the audience was mostly over 85 and thought that perhaps appreciation for G&S was dying. A friend of mine pointed out that Sunday matinees are mostly older crowds and the G&S are not going anywhere.
So then there is this record conducted by esteemed British conductor, Sir Malcolm Sargent (1895-1967) who participated in his first G&S production at age 10. He conducts the Pro Arte Orchestra with assorted soloists and the Glyndebourne Festival Chorus. I am not sure when this came out other than after Sargent’s passing but it seems to be a collection earlier recorded works, most notably two of G&S’s most famous works, The Mikado and HMS Pinafore.
So to start off with samples, from the Mikado, I went with my favorite song from this piece (which is never on any of the albums I buy), “The Sun Whose Rays…”. It is sung my Elise Morrison. From the HMS Pinafore, I went with “I Am The Monarch Of The Sea…. When I Was A Lad”, sung by George Baker.
In terms of the patter songs, I wanted to use a number from “The Gondoliers” to tie it in to the story above but I felt the album should have put different numbers. There are a couple good patter songs that involve the Gondoliers and their wives which I felt could have been used on this. Oh well, In their place, here is “In Enterprise Of Martial Kind”, sung by Geraint Evans with the chorus.
I really wanted to post “My Eyes Are Fully Open” from Ruddigore, but I felt this version was to tepid and slow. And for the most part, that is my criticism of this collection. The patter songs as well as G&S’s catalog really works when done in rapid fire. All the songs really could have used a but more speed. So meh. Sorry.