Sir Malcolm Sargent and the Pro Arte Orchestra- Gilbert & Sullivan- The Mikado, HMS Pinafore, and Patter Songs

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.

The D’oyly Carte Opera Company- Gilbert & Sullivan/ Highlights from The Mikado and Patience

This was $3.  I have posted other versions of the Mikado on this blog.  It is probably Gilbert and Sullivan’s most famous work.  At least it is my favorite. Anyway that is why I bought it and why I am posting it this month.  The color scheme of the cover probably influenced me on some level as well.

There is an excellent movie which I am sure I plugged on this site before called Topsy-Turvy, which tells the story of the creation of light opera, its first performance and the lives of the principles involved.  It is a great period piece and is pretty entertaining.

Anyway, this was released by the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company,  The company was formed in 1875 when Richard D’Oyly Carte brought Gilbert and Sullivan together to write a short piece.  From there, a partnership was born and more works followed. most notably 1878’s HMS Pinafore.  With the success of the work, the Savoy Theater was built and the Opera Company was formed.  Richard’s offspring carried on the tradition until the copyright on Gilbert’s words expired in 1961.  No longer having a monopoly of the duo’s work, the company withered away slowly, closing in 1982.  However, the Company re-established itself in 1988 and has been performing sporadically over the years, struggling with funding as so many fine artists find themselves doing nowadays.

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This album was recorded under the personal supervision of Richard’s grand daughter, Miss Bridget D’Oyly Carte, who served as the company’s head from 1948 to 1982. Released by London Records, it is a pretty good album with some of the more popular songs from the two pieces of works. From 1961, it features the New Promenade Orchestra, conducted by Isidore Godfrey.  I believe a series of G& S records were made from these.

 

From the Mikado, we have such classics as ” A Wandering Minstrel I”, “Three Little Maids”, Here’s a How De Do”, “The Mikado Song” and “Tit Willow” which I first heard here.

I was a bit disappointed with exclusion of the “Sun Whose Rays Are All Ablaze” although I am not surprised as it is not as popular as some of the other tunes.  The piece was used at the end of Topsy Turvy and really highlighted the struggles of the actress Leonora Braham and her loneliness of  being a single mother (widowed) in Victorian England.

I was less familiar with Patience, but it has some good numbers in it as well.  Seen as a satirical look at the Aesthetic Movement of the 1870’s and 1880’s, the work features some decent songs such as “Twenty Love Sick Maidens” and “Am I Alone”.

For samples, I went with “Who Is This ” from Patience as well as the finale, “So He’s Gone and Married Yum Yum” from the Mikado.

Satisfactory record.