G&S Vintage Compilations of Music Boxes and Piano Rolls

Stan DeOrsey provided the information about the two compilations listed on this page. They are available from:

The Musical Wonder House
PO Box 604
Wiscasset, Maine 04578

They are priced $12.95 each plus $3 postage for one, $4 for both. Their email address is musicbox@musicalwonderhouse.com.

I have not heard these recordings myself, but Stan's reactions are included below.

Victorian Musical Boxes Play Gilbert & Sullivan Gems

This one-hour cassette contains 27 G&S selections, mostly only a couple of minutes long, and often the verse is repeated. It is enjoyable but higher pitched than we are used to and very "bell" sounding — these music boxes do not simulate an orchestra! It is clearly an historical tape, but the liner does not give any historical info. Because of the various machines which play the tunes, it appears these all date from the 1880's to 1900's, but it does not say so explicitly (it is implied), and I am not sure.

The contents are summarized as follows: Trial by Jury - 1 selection; Pinafore - 8; Pirates - 3; Patience - 1; Mikado - 11; Yeomen - 1; Gondoliers - 2. It is often hard to determine the piece being played; this would be a great game at a G&S society meeting — who can guess the name of the piece! The liner does list all the names.

Issue History
199-? The Musical Wonderhouse Cassette TC1500

Gilbert & Sullivan Favorites
Played by Danilo Konvalinka
on the Steinway Pianola Piano

This one-hour cassette is a collection of piano rolls created in England from 1905 to 1925 — this is all the details from the liner!! but again these are clearly historical. I wrote to them for details, but they said they do not know exactly which piano rolls are recorded. Anyway, the contents are:

Side 1: medley of arias from Iolanthe, Mikado, Ruddigore (i.e., 3 rolls)
Side 2: medley of arias from Mikado and Gondoliers (i.e., 2 rolls).

I find this tape most enjoyable as background music — it sounds like someone sitting at a piano and just playing G&S melodies. If you actually listen to it, the tempo is uneven — at times too fast and at other times too slow, but generally right on. Unfortunately, the cassette gives no feel that the music is from piano rolls — it could just as well be someone playing! I recommend this cassette only if you already know G&S.

Issue History
199-? The Musical Wonderhouse Cassette TC1990