The Gramophone Company 1908 Pinafore

Sir Joseph PorterAlan Turner
Captain CorcoranThorpe Bates
Ralph RackstrawErnest Pike
Dick DeadeyePeter Dawson
Bill Bobstay[not indicated]
Bob Becket[not indicated]
JosephineEleanor Jones-Hudson
Little ButtercupAmy Augarde
HebeAmy Augarde

The Sullivan Operatic Party
With Orchestral Accompaniment

Recorded in London, September 1908

This was the Gramophone Company's third G&S recording in as many years (see the 1906 Mikado and 1907 Yeomen). Earlier in 1908, as the Gramophone & Typewriter Company (they removed the "Typewriter" from both their corporate name and instrument catalogues in mid-1908), they had issued a set of Pinafore excerpts, although this set was not nearly as comprehensive as any of the other three.

This was the Gramophone Company's first attempt to record a nearly-complete opera with a consistent cast. Although Amy Augarde's doubling of Buttercup and Hebe may seem anything but "consistent," it was relatively benign when measured against the confusion that reigned on the two earlier sets. Augarde, by the way, understudied the role of Hebe in the 1888 revival at the Savoy. She is thus in the select company of performers who learned a role under Gilbert's direction and later recorded it.

The recording is musically complete, aside from the overture, the entr'acte, and some of the recitatives. The finale concludes with Arne's "Rule, Britannia," which apparently was the standard ending in D'Oyly Carte productions of the time. As was conventional in these early recordings, the roles were taken by stock gramophone artists, not D'Oyly Carte principals. As a result, aside from Amy Augarde's participation, this recording is of relatively little interest, except to collectors of very old records. It has not been re-issued on LP or CD.

The recording was issued in December, 1908, on fourteen 10-inch and four 12-inch single-sided discs, and later re-issued on double-sided discs. As shown below, there was no attempt to ensure that the double-sided discs were presented in a coherent order, since the selections were probably purchased individually far more often than they were purchased as a set.

Issue History
1908 G&T 14 10" and 4 12" single-sided discs See #1 below
ca. 1912 HMV 7 10" and 2 12" double-sided discs See #2 below
Recording Sessions
Catalog Nbrs
8846e79G.C. 4469B435 1 We sail the ocean blue/
Hail, men-o'-war's men
2520f7804032C513 But tell me who's the youth
A maiden fair to see
8793e78G.C. 4470B436 1 My gallant crew, good morning10"
8787e79G.C. 4471B435 1 Sorry her lot10"
8847e78G.C. 4472B437 Over the bright blue sea/
Sir Joseph's barge is seen
8777e79G.C. 4473 Now give three cheers/
When I was a lad, verses 1;2;6
8791e79G.C. 4474B438 A British tar10"
6744e78G.C. 4457 Refrain, audacious tar10"
2522f7804033C514 Messmates, Ahoy!12"
2543f7804034 This very night12"
8788e79G.C. 4475B436 1 Fair moon to thee I sing10"
8780e79G.C. 4476B439 Things are seldom what they seem10"
2527f7804035C513 The hours creep on apace12"
8789e79G.C. 4477B439 Never mind the why and wherefore10"
8795e79G.C. 4478B440 Kind Captain10"
8849e78G.C. 4479 In uttering a reprobation10"
8779e79G.C. 4480B441 Farewell my own10"
8851e79G.C. 4481 Oh joy! Oh rapture!10"


  1. Francis omits "Refrain, audacious tar" from this set, as it was actually recorded for the G&T Company's earlier set of Pinafore excerpts. However, as Bruce Miller observes, the Gramophone Company considered this an 18-record set, so "Refrain, audacious tar" is properly included. (As the principals are the same, and there is no chorus, the company probably didn't see any need to remake it.) The side also was part of HMV's double-sided re-issue. Rees also lists it as part of the set.
  2. Francis says that "A British tar" and the Act I finale are credited only to the Sullivan Operatic Party.
  3. Francis says that the EMI ledger credits only Alan Turner singing in "Now give three cheers..." and "Farewell my own." On that basis, Francis assumes that Turner must share the role of Corcoran with Thorpe Bates. I am unwilling to make this assumption.
  4. Francis says that the EMI ledger credits Amy Augarde as the only soloist on the last two records. Bruce Miller says that the accompanying booklet is consistent with this.
  5. Francis says that the Act I finale was issued by HMV only, not by G&T. However, Rees does list G&T catalog numbers for these sides.
  6. Francis says that Hebe is uncredited, but Wolfson credits it to Augarde. Bruce Miller suspects he did so after listening to the side and concluding that the voice sounded more like Augarde's than Jones-Hudson's.
  7. Buttercup's aria was re-issued by Pearl on The Art of the Savoyard (LP Volume II, and CD).