G&S Instrumental Arrangements:

Waltzing to Gilbert and Sullivan

Philip Green and his Orchestra
Play the Music of Sir Arthur Sullivan

Chris Webster provided the following review of this record:

Do you think the title sounds bad? Well you should listen to the record! Perhaps some may like this, but I certainly don't. There are occasionally moments of inspiration in the arrangements (for example, "If Somebody There Chanced To Be," billed here as "Had I the Love," is given a distinctly Eastern mood) but these moments are marred by constantly going into a Victor Sylvester sort of sax sound (I think).

Phil Green was well known as an arranger and conductor for Columbia records during the '40s and '50s. I have 78s with him providing accompaniment, and they are great. Unfortunately this record is not representative of his sprightly style. Phil, it would appear, was also Musical Advisor to the Rank Organisation (hence this LP). I don't know whether this means he assisted with film soundtracks or if he booked the organist at the local flicks!

J. Donald Smith had a somewhat more favorable opinion:

This series of numbers from the G&sS operas in 3/4 time arranged as waltzes for string orchestra, supplemented with harp, flute and saxophones (and occasional clarinet, snare drum and bells) works surprisingly well. Only "Oh Goddess Wise" never really comes off. The generally languid approach tends to wear after a while if one is just listening, but the numbers would be fun to dance to.

Jim Drew described it as a hideous travesty:

Not only are the expected numbers included ("Wand'ring Minstrel," "Sparkling Eyes," "Plaintive Song," "Poor Wandering One"), but we are treated to such waltz greats as "Free from Fetters Grim" (sic), "O, Amorous Dove," "The Moon and I," "None Shall Part Us," and "Oh, Goddess Wise" — all with a heavily exaggerated oom-pah-pah rhythm for your dancing pleasure. It has been my experience that this record, played at gatherings of Savoyards, will send some out of the house for fresh air and will induce helpless fits of laughter in others. No one ever comes away untouched or unchanged.

I bought the thing sometime over thirty years ago. I estimate I've dropped the needle into the groove perhaps three times in those three decades — not counting the times I've used it to clear out late-staying party-goers. I've never been able to listen to the entire record in one sitting.

Stephen Turnbull added:

I have this recording and endorse everything Jim says. It's awful. Mine is a British issue with some wonderful howlers on the sleeve, most notably "O dry the glittering teat." Consequently, when I use the thing to illustrate my talks on comical/hiduous G—S, I usually read out these titles as well. They always get a good laugh.

Selections are as follows (as captioned on the record):

Side 1Side 2
A Wand'ring Minstrel (Mikado)
Take A Pair of Sparkling Eyes (Gondoliers)
Oh Goddess Wise (Princess Ida)
Ah, Well Beloved (Gondoliers)
Thou, the Tree ["None shall part us"] (Iolanthe)
Life [sic] Is a Plaintive Song (Patience)
Yum Yum [sic] (Mikado)
Oh! Dry the Glistening Tear (Pirates)
Had I the Love (Ruddigore)
Poor Wand'ring One (Pirates)
Oh! Amorous Dove (Iolanthe)
Free From His Fetters (Yeomen)
Issue History
1960 Top Rank International Mono LP BUY-018

Highlights of Gilbert and Sullivan

The Famous CWS (Manchester) Band
Alex Mortimer, director

This disc of highlights arranged for band contains the following:

Side One
Pineapple Poll (excerpts, arr. Johnny Gregory)
Selections from The Mikado
Selections from The Yeomen of the Guard (arr. Dr. Dennis Wright)
Side Two
Selections from Patience (arr. Dr. Dennis Wright)
Overture to H.M.S. Pinafore (arr. Drake Rimmer)
Selections from Iolanthe (arr. Dr. Dennis Wright)

Chris Webster reports:

This is basically just another brass band G&S record which I think could have been better. There are too many little "squeaks" that come from individuals "blasting" their intruments. I picked this up from a stall for six pounds, which is far more than I would have paid elsewhere, but that's what these specialists are like. Still, I had never seen it before and so I paid it, only to find another copy, albeit a different issue, just a few stalls further on for four pounds ! Typical !! I should have made proper notes, but I didn't. I thought I would remember and note it down in an email for you, but of course, I have now forgotten everything about the other issue. I can't remember what the label was, or whether that was the original and the Fontana is the reissue or vice-versa.

I am not sure who the arranger for the Mikado selection is. His name has either been omitted from both the label and the text, or the statement in the text about Yeomen is intended to include Mikado when it says "the arrangements here as for Patience and Iolanthe...." I suppose "here" might mean both, but it is not clear. I must quote one phrase from the notes which I do find quite amusing: "With the exception of Pineapple Poll, all the music here presented is from the G&S operas." We know what he means, but what a way to put it! The notes are written by the conductor, Alex Mortimer.

A point of interest to a "record reader" is that the label quite clearly states "full stereo" with the matrix 886 146 TY, issue number STFL 593, and yet the sleeve has the matrix as 680 974 TL with the number printed TFL 5181 on the back but with a sticker pasted over with the STFL 592 stereo number. The spine however is still TFL 5181. Obviously this is a mono sleeve that has been partly adapted for the stereo version—but not enough!

Issue History
1962 Fontana Mono LP TFL 5181
Stereo LP STFL 592

Gilbert and Sullivan

The Famous CWS (Manchester) Band
Alex Mortimer, director

Chris Webster reports that this is a follow up to STFL 592 — "Highlights from G&S" by "The Famous CWS (Manchester) Band," conductor (and writer of the sleeve notes) is Alex Mortimer. The items are:

Side One
Overture — Yeomen (arr. A Hurst)
Selection — Gondoliers (arr. D Wright)
Side Two
Selection — Haddon Hall (arr. C. Godfrey)
Selection — Pirates (arr. D Wright)

The opening statement of the notes says that this recording came about because of "the complete success of the first record." Since both have a copyright date of 1962, success must have come rapidly indeed.

Issue History
1962 Fontana Stereo LP FJL 508

Gilbert and Sullivan Highlights

The London Savoyard Orchestra
Nigil Lukas, conductor

Symphonic Treasures ST 9-M
Symphonic Treasures ST 9-M

This disc contains instrumental highlights from Mikado, Iolanthe, Pinafore and Gondoliers. We are not positive that the "Symphonic Treasures" release is actually the same thing, but given Tim Devlin's description, it certainly seems so:

This is Album 9 in a series called Symphonic Treasures. It is a product of DISCS RECORDS, though that name appears only on the sleeve. It may well be the same as the discography item, "Gilbert & Sullivan Highlights," conducted by Nigil Likas, early '60's. It has the same four operas, though it gives no indication of orchestra or conductor — or arranger, and oh-boy! is this stuff arranged! The look and the sound are indeed early sixties, supermarket serials; Album 9 probably came between Rimsky-Korsakov and Sibelius.

Issue History
Early 1960s Classica Mono LP LAS 105
Stereo LP CLAS 105
Symphonic Treasures Mono LP ST 9-M

Marble Arch MALS 803
Marble Arch MALS 803

Gilbert and Sullivan in Brass

Wingates Temperance Band
Hugh Parry, conductor

This album contains the following selections, all arranged for brass:

Grand March from Henry VIII
Grand Selection Iolanthe
Overture Patience
Overture H.M.S. Pinafore
March of the Peers (Iolanthe)
Overture Mikado
Overture Pirates of Penzance
Issue History
1966 Pye Stereo LP [need number] The existence of this item is posited based on the Marble Arch New Zealand issue below, but this has not been confirmed
1968 Marble Arch Stereo LP MALS 803 New Zealand issue, licensed by Pye Records

Note: The cover of the Marble Arch issue listed above has two dates on it: 1966 and 1968. I am assuming that 1966 was the date of the original Pye release, and 1968 the date of the Marble Arch reissue in New Zealand.

G&S On Parade

Band of the Royal Corps of Transport

I heard about this recording from Chris Webster, who in turn heard about it from his friend Grant Wilson, who said it was "very nice to listen to, though in most cases the tempo is a bit slow by my standards." The selections are as follows:

March: The Pirates of Penzance
March: The Savoy Soldiers
Iolanthe Finale
March: "Sullivan's Law"
March of the Peers
Yeomen of the Guard Overture
"Sullivan At Sea"
"The Poet's March"
"Three For Sullian"
"A Sailor's Tale"
Issue History
1982 Bandleader Cassette BND61008