The National Musicale Pirates (1964)

Original Issue
The National Musicale Company
Orchestra and Chorus

Society Re-Issue
London Savoyard Orchestra and Chorus
Nigil Lukas, conductor

This set of highlights was issued in 1964 with two companion discs, Pinafore and The Mikado. Neither orchestra, soloists, nor conductor is credited by name.

In 1965, these highlights were re-issued on the Society label with a new overture and some of the numbers re-arranged. The re-issue credited Martyn Green, Richard Korn and James Pease as being among the cast, but this was clearly an error — Green is definitely not singing, and the other two probably aren't either. Society had bought the rights to the 1954 Allegro-Royale Mikado, which did include these artists, and their names were mistakenly listed on the package for this and also Society's re-issue of the National Musicale Pinafore.

For the Society re-issue, the numbers presented are as follows:

  1. Overture (first half)
  2. "I am a Pirate King"
  3. "Oh, is there not one maiden breast"..."Let us shut our eyes and talk about the weather"
  4. Second half of the overture
  5. "I am the very model of a modern Major-General" (two verses only)
  6. "Pray observe the magnanimity"...through end of Act I
  7. "When the foeman bares his steel"
  8. "Oh, leave me not to pine alone"
  9. "When a felon's not engaged in his employment"
  10. "With cat-like tread"
  11. Second part of the overture (again)

Chris Webster reports that the patter baritone, a Vincent Price sound-alike, is "quite dreadful. His rendering of the patter song is the worst I have ever heard — I don't think he gets any of the words out properly." (Subsequently, a correspondent informed me with reasonably high confidence that the baritone was Ralston Hill; see comments on the National Musicale Pinafore.)

J. Donald Smith provided the following assessment (using the names Pease and Brock, whom he assumed were singing based on the credits):

This one has nothing to recommend it. "I am a Pirate King" is so slow that Pease does not slow his singing to match the orchestra and consistently finishes ahead of it. The Mabel (mercifully unidentified) is a screacher. In addition to Frederic, Brock sings Samuel — well, but it doesn't fit. It also sounds as if Brock sings the Major-General. There are certain Americanisms (long 'a' in Raphael's) which are characteristic, and Martyn Green in his dotage would never trip his tongue the way Brock does. It would also be uncharacteristic for Green not to have the full Major-General's role recorded on disc. Nice [record] jacket, though.

Geoffrey Dixon summarized the recording as: "Poor quality recording — 'Oh better far…' taken at funereal pace — tempi dismal — Major-General (not Green) dreadful (Vincent Price???)"

Issue History
1964 Allegro Mono LP ALL 716  
1964? Bravo 45rpm BR 314
196-? Acorn Mono LP 637
1965 Society Mono LP SOC 991
196-? Golden Tone Mono LP 14090
198-? Ditto Cassette DTO 10011 Two-cassette package with Pinafore and Pirates