The Sargent/EMI Pirates (1961)

Major-GeneralGeorge Baker
Pirate KingJames Milligan
SamuelJohn Cameron
FredericRichard Lewis
SergeantOwen Brannigan
MabelElsie Morison
EdithHeather Harper
KateMarjorie Thomas
RuthMonica Sinclair

Pro Arte Orchstra
Glyndebourne Festival Chorus
Conductor: Sir Malcolm Sargent

Recorded 6 February (Overture) & 30–31 December 1958 & 1–2 January 1959

EMI CDS7 47785-8
EMI CDS747785-8
HMVD 5 73062 2
HMVD 5 73062 2

This was the sixth of Sir Malcolm Sargent's series of G&S recordings with grand opera singers, the Pro Arte Orchestra and the Glyndebourne Festival Chorus. Particularly notable is Owen Brannigan, who evidently made enough of an impression that D'Oyly Carte cast him in their own Pirates recording (1968), even though he had never played this or any other role with them on stage.

This recording is certainly a capable one, but it does not hold up well next to the superb D'Oyly Carte recording of 1968 with full dialogue. It has been re-issued on CD coupled with a 1972 recording of Sullivan's overture "In Memoriam" with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Vivian Dunn. There was also a cassette re-issue in which it is coupled with the Sargent Ruddigore.

The album cover shown below, featuring what appears to be a pirate picking his nose, must be one of the most ill-judged covers ever chosen for a mainstream G&S release.

Seraphim SIB-6102
Seraphim SIB-6102
Issue History
Jan. 1961 EMI Mono LP ALP 1801/2  
Stereo LP ASD 381/2
1960s Angel Mono LP 3609 B/L
Stereo LP S3609 B/L
ca.1969 EMI Mono LP XLP 30131/2
(not verified)
Dec. 1971 EMI Stereo LP SXLP 30131/2
???? Angel Stereo LP SBL-3609  
1970s Seraphim Stereo LP SIB 6102
1985 EMI/Angel Stereo LP AVB 34022 Digitally remastered
Jul. 1989 EMI Stereo LP EX7 49693-1 Also includes Ruddigore.
Cassette EX7 49693-8
CD CDS7 47785-2 Also includes overtures to The Sorcerer, Cox and Box and Princess Ida, and the Overture in C, "In Memoriam" (City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Sir Vivian Dunn, cond.)
1992 EMI CD CMS7 64409-2
1998 HMV CD HMVD 5 73062 2 Slimline double sold in HMV shops exclusively.
2001 EMI CD 5744682 16-CD set containing all nine of the Sargent "Glyndebourne" G&S recordings, plus various Sullivan orchestral works