The Art of the Savoyard

Pearl GEM 118-120
Pearl GEM 118-120
Pearl GEMM CD 9991
Pearl GEMM CD 9991

In 1973, Pearl Records issued a three-LP set called The Art of the Savoyard featuring recordings of "true Savoyards" — that is, singers who had worked directly with Gilbert and/or Sullivan. The recording was successful enough to be followed, a few years later, by a Volume II, a two-LP set featuring similar material. In 1993, highlights of the two sets were issued on a single CD. These recordings are indispensable, and I highly recommend the records (if you can find them), since the CD omits a considerable amount of material.

The second LP set included the lone recording of Rutland Barrington, which at the time was a recent discovery. This page seems as good a place as any other to recount the story of how it was found. Michael Walters, who was instrumental in unearthing it, wrote as follows:

It started when I was asked to review the LP of the Passmore Odeon Mikado, and I commented on the unusual rendering of Pooh-Bah's cadenza in "As in a month you've got to die". I speculated that singer had probably listened to Rutland Barrington singing this in the theatre and modeled his interpretation on it. I remarked something to the effect "This may be the closest we will ever get to actually hearing Barrington's voice". A week or so after this review appeared, my phone rang. It was a man called David Short whom I had met at a meeting of the Phonograph Society in London some months before. He had just read my review. He was a collector of cylinders, but was not particularly interested in G&S. He said "I've got a cylinder of Rutland Barrington". I nearly fell off my chair, but after getting further details, I put him in touch with John Wolfson, who sent Mr. Short a special pick-up to enable him to make a good tape transfer of the cylinder, from whence it was dubbed on to the Pearl LP. The rest, as they say, is history.

AFAIK Mr. Short still owns the original cylinder, the only known copy of it. But the existence of the cylinder was apparently quite well known to cylinder collectors — it just happened that none of them were G&S fans, so had no idea of its significance to G&S historians. I checked up later in a catalogue of cylinders that I'd bought years before, but had never more than glanced at. There was the Barrington cylinder listed in black and white.

BTW, there was apparently an H. Barrington who made a few discs in the very early days, but I have no idea who he was, nor have I ever encountered anyone who owns or has heard any of them.

In any event, the Barrington item is just one of many treasures to be found on the five LPs that were issued in this series. In the lists below, the items included on the CD are indicated with an asterisk [*]. Note that there are some repeats between Volumes I and II, and there are a handful of items on the CD that are not on the LPs.

Volume I

Volume II

Richard Temple
[*] "The Mikado's Song"
[*] "I am a Pirate King"
"I am a Friar of Orders Grey"
Scott Russell
[*] "Would You Know the Kind of Maid"
[*] "A Tenor Can't do Himself Justice"
Ilka von Palmay
[*] "Butterfly" (Folk Song)
Isabel Jay
[*] "Poor Wand'ring One"
John Coates
"Take a Pair of Sparkling Eyes"
Henry Lytton
"The Laughing Song"
[*] "The Curate's Song"
[*] "None Shall Part Us" (w/Louie Henri)
[*] Merrie England: "The Yeomen of England"
[*] Merrie England: "Imagination"
"If You Give Me Your Attention"
"Whene'er I Poke Sarcastic Joke"
Courtice Pounds
[*] Chu Chin Chow: "When a Pullet is Plump"
Ruth Vincent
[*] Tom Jones: Waltz Song
Robert Evett
[*] "Is Life a Boon?"
[*] "Free From his Fetters Grim"
"The English Rose"
"A Sprig of Rosemary"
Walter Passmore
"The Fish Song"
"The Big Brass Band"
[*] "If You're Anxious for to Shine"
[*] "As Someday it may Happen"
"I Have a Song to Sing, O"
"A Private Buffoon"
Charles Workman
[*] "The Major-General's Song"
"Sighing Softly to the River"
"The Nightmare Song"
[*] "If You Give Me Your Attention"
"Tit Willow"
[*] "First You're Born"
"The Small Street-Arab"
Leo Sheffield
"Oh Why am I Moody and Sad"
"I Once was a Very Abandoned Person"
Bertha Lewis
"There Grew a Little Flower"
"Come, Mighty Must"
Sydney Granville
"He is an Englishman"
George Baker
Reminiscences about Savoyards he worked with (one side).
CD Only
Walter Passmore
[*] "Tit Willow"
Charles Workman
[*] "When e'er I Spoke Sarcastic Joke"
[*] "I have a Song to Sing, O" (w/ Elsie Spain)
Arthur Sullivan
[*] Message to Thomas Edison
Rutland Barrington
[*] "The Moody Marriner"
Richard Temple
"Go to Bed, Your Vagaries are Over" ["Non Piu Andrai" from Le Nozze di Figaro]
Savoy Opera Chorus
"A Heavy Dragoon"
Patience, Finale
Amy Augarde
[*] "I'm Called Little Buttercup"
Henry Lytton
The Sorcerer: "The Curate's Song"
A Princess of Kensington: "Four Jolly Sailormen"
J. G. Robertson
Much Ado About Nothing: "Sigh No More, Ladies"
Esther Palliser
Hawley: "The Sweetest Flower that Blows"
Walter Passmore
"If You're Anxious for to Shine"
[*] "My Name is John Wellington Wells"
"The Judge's Song"
"The Nightmare Song"
"A Policeman's Lot"
The Talk of the Town: "If I Were Vanderbuilt"
Scott Russell
[*] The Rose of Persia: Drinking Song
"Take a Pair of Sparkling Eyes"
Ilka von Palmay
Ninoche: "Madrigal"
The Circus Girl: "A Little Bit of String"
Charles Workman
"Sighing Softly to the River"
Florence St. John
Florodora: "He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not"
Ellen Beach Yaw
Manon Lescaut (Auber): "The Laughing Song"
Cadenza from Etoile du Nord (Meyerbeer)
Richard Green
"Two Little Irish Songs"
Harold Wilde
"A Wand'ring Minstrel I"
"Is Life a Boon?"
Amy Evans
"I Have a Song to Sing, O" (w/ Bantock Pierpoint)
"A Man who would Woo a Fair Maid" (w/Emily Foxcroft & Ben Ivor)
Claude Fleming
A Southern Maid: "The Call of the Sea"
Leo Sheffield
"Some Years Ago" (Princess Ida)
Julius Lieban
"Bachstelzchenlied" ("Tit Willow")
Lillian Russell
Twirly Whirly: "Come Down Ma Evening Star"
Issue History
1973 Pearl Mono LP GEM 118-120 The Art of the Savoyard, Volume I
1985 Pearl Mono LP GEM 282-283 The Art of the Savoyard, Volume II
1993 Pearl CD GEMM CD 9991 The Art of the Savoyard