The 2004 Chandos Cox & Box

CoxNeal Davies
BoxJames Gilchrist
BouncerDonald Maxwell

BBC National Orchestra of Wales
Conductor: Richard Hickox

Recorded at Brangwyn Hall, Swansea
11 & 12 December 2004

Chandos 10321
Chandos 10321

This recording of Cox & Box purports to be the world premiere of the "original version." This is only half true. It is the first recording with orchestra that includes almost all of the music Sullivan wrote for Cox & Box — as opposed to the more familiar highly abridged version that D'Oyly Carte twice recorded.

Unfortunately, there is a critical omission: the Gambling Duet late in the opera, which was deleted when the conductor ran out of time during the recording sessions. The disc still provides considerably more of Cox and Box with orchestra than any other to date, but given the rarity of new recordings, it is sad that this opportunity was missed.

The recording's "premiere" status might be questioned on other grounds. The 1984 recording included the Gambling Duet, and it also included all of the dialogue, which here is replaced with a narration; but that recording had piano accompaniment and omitted the overture. The 1982 Brent Walker video, although not issued on CD, also has strong claims to near-completeness.

Those significant caveats aside, this is a recording no serious Sullivan fan will want to be without. A new recording of Trial by Jury fills out the disc.

Issue History
2005 Chandos CD 10321 With Trial by Jury