The Sargent/EMI Pinafore (1958)

Sir Joseph PorterGeorge Baker
Captain CorcoranJohn Cameron
Ralph RackstrawRichard Lewis
Dick DeadeyeOwen Brannigan
Bill BobstayJames Milligan
John Cameron
Bob BecketJames Milligan
Owen Brannigan
JosephineElsie Morison
Little ButtercupMonica Sinclair
HebeMarjorie Thomas

Pro Arte Orchestra
Glyndebourne Festival Chorus
Conductor: Sir Malcolm Sargent

Recorded 15–18 April 1958

HMV ALP 1650/1
HMV ALP 1650/1
HMVD 5 73056 2
HMVD 5 73056 2

This was Sir Malcolm Sargent's fourth G&S recording with grand opera singers, the Pro Arte Orchestra and the Glyndebourne Festival Chorus. It was the first of the series to include George Baker, who replaced Geraint Evans as patter baritone after the latter declined to participate in any more G&S recordings. Baker's G&S gramophone career goes back to some of the earliest G&S recordings that were ever made. Even after HMV abandoned its policy of favoring house singers over D'Oyly Carte's, Baker found a place in nearly every 78rpm set, because of his excellent diction.

Angel 3589 B/L
Angel 3589 B/L
Light Music Club LZ 7055
Light Music Club LZ-7055

By the time this series of recordings was made, Baker was in his mid-seventies and long past his prime. Nevertheless, his great artistry shines through. If the voice is not the pure gold it once was, the interpretation is still a charming one, bubbling with personality. This was Baker's second recording of Pinafore. He also played the Captain on the 1930 recording.

As on all the Sargent sets, the singing is first-rate, but at times it seems a bit too precious, especially the chorus. Sargent's tendency to take things too slowly is less pronounced here than on some other sets, but most of the numbers seem a shade under-paced. The performance does seem to catch fire a bit starting with the Bell Trio in Act II. You could do a lot worse, but with the 1960 D'Oyly Carte recording readily available, this cannot be anyone's first choice.

This set was originally issued on LP and, like all the Sargent recordings, remained available until LPs became obsolete. It was then digitally-remastered and re-issued on CD in 1989.

EMI CDS 7477798
EMI CDS 7477798
Angel AVB 34021
Angel AVB 34021
Issue History
Dec. 1958 HMV Mono LP ALP 1650/1  
Jul. 1961 HMV Stereo LP ASD 415/6
1961? HMV Australia Mono LP OALP 1650/1
Stereo LP OASD 415/6
1961? Angel Mono LP 3589 B/L
Stereo LP S3589 B/L
Oct. 1967 EMI Mono LP XLP 30088/9 Also includes Trial
Stereo LP SXLP 30088/9
196-? World Record Club Mono LP LZ-7055 Highlights (New Zealand release)
Stereo LP SLZ-7055
(not verified)
Stereo LP S/2448 Highlights (Australia Release)
???? Angel Stereo LP SBL-3589  
???? Angel Stereo LP SCB3724 Three discs: Mikado highlights + Pinafore highlights + patter songs
ca. 1977 World Record Club Stereo LP R 00223-4  
Feb. 1978 EMI Stereo LP SXDW 3034 Also includes Trial
ca. 1980 World Record Club Stereo LP S/4153-4  
1985 EMI/Angel Stereo LP AVB 34021 Digitally remastered
Jul. 1989 EMI Stereo LP
EX7 49594-1 Also includes Yeomen.
Cassette EX7 49594-4
CD CDS7 47779-8 Also includes Trial
Oct. 1992 EMI CD CMS7 64397-2
1998 HMV CD HMVD 5 73056 2 Slimline double sold in HMV shops exclusively. Also includes Trial
2001 EMI CD 5744682 16-CD set containing all nine of the Sargent "Glyndebourne" G&S recordings, plus various Sullivan orchestral works