Sounds on CD

Chris Webster ("Sounds on CD") transfers vintage records and soundtracks to CD, specializing in G&S. Webster's transfers are meticulously prepared, and are generally of a far higher quality than available from budget labels like Pearl and Naxos. His transfers have been highly praised by informed reviewers, and I count myself among his happy customers.

To order, contact Webster directly by email at

Items on offer are listed below. Prices shown are the original U.S. prices (they may vary slightly with specials, and so forth).

G&S 1917–25 HMV Acoustic Series

1917 HMV Mikado (VGS 211; 1 CD)
This was the first complete recording made under D'Oyly Carte supervision. It included a number of famous voices of the era, such as George Baker, Peter Dawson, Violet Essex, and Edna Thornton.
1919 HMV Gondoliers (VGS 217; 2 CD)
This early recording has a quite complex history, with many retakes, and even a "lost" overture that was not issued with the rest of the set (but restored in this re-issue).
1920 HMV Pirates (VGS 210; 1 CD)
This is an excellent vintage recording with particularly good performances from Peter Dawson (who makes a fine Sergeant), Violet Essex and Derek Oldham a fine pair of lovers, and George Baker a thoroughly effective Major General (arguably one of the best on record). Chris says that this is one of his personal favourite acoustic recordings.
1920 HMV Yeomen (VGS 216; 1 CD)
This early recording featured many HMV stalwarts, with George Baker as Jack Point. The great Derek Oldham played Fairfax.
1921 HMV Patience (VGS 201; 1 CD)
This early recording was made under D'Oyly Carte supervision, and it includes a number of famous grampohone artists of the period, such as Violet Essex, Peter Dawson, and George Baker.
1922 HMV Pinafore (VGS 202; 1 CD)
This early recording includes several famous Savoyards, including Sydney Granville, Darrell Fancourt, and Frederick Hobbs.
1922 HMV Iolanthe (VGS 219; 1 CD)
This early recording featured George Baker, Derek Oldham, Sydney Granville, and the gramophone debut of Darrell Fancourt.
1924 HMV Ruddigore (VGS 220; 1 CD)
This legendary recording featured most of the cast that appeared in the first professional revival.
1924/5 Princess Ida (VGS 209; 1 CD)
This is one of the all time classic recordings. With the exception of the two lesser tin men, the cast was made up from current and former D'Oyly Carte performers, and each characterisation is perfection itself. This recording contains Come Mighty Must sung by the remarkable Bertha Lewis, which, 75 years later, is still the only commercial recording ever made of this song.
Where Shall I Find Another? (VGS 225; 1 CD)
This disc contains the alternative published takes from the nine early acoustical recordings recorded under Rupert D'Oyly Carte's supervision. Note: Anyone who purchased all nine of these recordings from Chris Webster and/or James Lockwood will receive this disc for free (on payment of postage & packing). Otherwise, the price is as given in the next column.
All Nine HMV Acoustic Recordings — includes "Where Shall I Find Another?" for free $175.91

G&S 1926–36 HMV Electric Series

1927 HMV Gondoliers and Trial (VGS 246, 2 CD)
(Trial restored from masters)
1928 HMV Yeomen (VGS 228; 2 CD)
This recording includes George Baker as Jack Point, Winifred Lawson as Elsie, Derek Oldham as Fairfax, and Nellie Briercliffe as Phoebe. The reissue is a limited edition set prepared from Keith Hardwick's definitive transfers made for EMI.
1929 HMV Pirates (VGS 243)
Restored from masters.
1929 HMV Iolanthe (VGS 205; 2 CD)
This is the official EMI transfer (licensed from them), with an eight-page booklet that includes a synopsis of the performance, a history of the recording, full details of the recording sessions (as per the authentic HMV artist sheets), and biographies of all the artists.
1930 HMV Pinafore (VGS 242) $18.99
1930 HMV Patience (VGS 244)
Restored from masters.
1931 HMV Ruddigore (VGS 227; 1 CD)
This recording includes George Baker as Robin, Sydney Granville as Sir Despard, Derek Oldham as Richard, Muriel Dickson as Rose, and Nellie Briercliffe as Margaret. The reissue a limited edition set prepared from HMV's original masters, and on special license from EMI.
1932 HMV Princess Ida (VGS 226; 1 CD)
This recording includes Henry Lytton as King Gama, Derek Oldham as Hilarion, and Muriel Dickson as Princess Ida. The reissue a limited edition set prepared from HMV's original masters, and on special license from EMI.
1931-33 HMV Abridged Sorcerer, Pirates, Yeomen, and Gondoliers (VGS 247, 2 CD) $28.49
1936 HMV Mikado (VGS 245, 2 CD)
Includes bonus collectors' items and also master based transfers of highlights from the 1926 Mikado. (See the web page for details.)

G&S 1949–1957 D'Oyly Carte Recordings

1949 D'Oyly Carte Pinafore (VGS 213; 1 CD)
This was one of three recordings that launched D'Oyly Carte's long post-war association with Decca, and only recently out of copyright and available for re-issue.
1949 D'Oyly Carte Pirates + Trial (VGS 214; 2 CD)
These are the other two D'Oyly Carte recordings from 1949, now available in a two-CD set.
1950 D'Oyly Carte Mikado (VGS 221; 2 CD)
This is the first of four recordings first issued in 1950, with Martyn Green and the legendary post-war casts, now out of copyright and lovingly restored.
1950 D'Oyly Carte Ruddigore (VGS 222; 1 CD)
Another of the great post-war recordings, with Martyn Green as Robin and Darrell Fancourt as Sir Roderic.
1950 D'Oyly Carte Yeomen (VGS 223; 2 CD)
An outstanding recording, with Martyn Green as Jack Point, Leonard Osborn as Fairfax, and Muriel Harding as Elsie.
1950 D'Oyly Carte Gondoliers (VGS 224; 2 CD)
The fourth of the 1950 recordings, with a stellar cast headed by Martyn Green, Richard Watson, and Ella Halman.
1951 D'Oyly Carte Patience (VGS 232)
This recording and the next one listed below completed Martyn Green's tenure with D'Oyly Carte.
1951 D'Oyly Carte Iolanthe plus G&S Favourites (cond. Stanford Robinson) (VGS 233, 2 CD) $28.49
1953 D'Oyly Carte Sorcerer (VGS 234, 2 CD)
This was Peter Pratt's inaugural recording as principal comedian, and the Company's first complete recording of the opera.
1955 D'Oyly Carte Ida (VGS 235, 2 CD)
This recording coincided with Ida's return to the repertory after a very long absence. Victoria Sladen's outing in the title role is controversial, but overall the cast is first-rate.
1957 D'Oyly Carte Pirates (VGS 236, 2 CD)
This recording and the next one shown were the Company's first in stereo, and many fans believe they were never surpassed.
1957 D'Oyly Carte Mikado (VGS 237, 2 CD) $37.99

G&S 1960–1979 D'Oyly Carte Recordings

Sounds on CD is able to offer, for the first time on CD, remaining D'Oyly Carte recordings officially licensed from Decca that have been out of the catalogue since the original LPs went out of print.

1975 D'Oyly Carte Trial/1978 Cox and Box (VGS 250, 1 CD) $23.99
1974 D'Oyly Carte Iolanthe (VGS 251, 2 CD) $33.99
1977 D'Oyly Carte Gondoliers (VGS 252, 2 CD) $33.99
1977 D'Oyly Carte Yeomen (VGS 253, 2 CD) $33.99
Of Pleasures There are Many (VGS 254, 2 CD)
This recording comprises the complete D'Oyly Carte studio-recorded excerpts between 1963-1970. See the detail page for further information.

D'Oyly Carte Recorded Live

1954 D'Oyly Carte Mikado (VGS 256, 2 CD)
This unique radio broadcast captures D'Oyly Carte during the height of the Peter Pratt era.
1982 D'Oyly Carte: The Last Night (VGS 255, 2 CD)
This performance captures the Company's poignant final performance on 27 February 1982.

Gilbert & Sullivan For All Series

G&S For All, Vol. 1 — Trial by Jury, Cox and Box, and H.M.S. Pinafore (VGS 238, 2 CD) $28.49
G&S For All, Vol. 2 — The Pirates of Penzance and Iolanthe (VGS 239, 2 CD) $28.49
G&S For All, Vol. 3 — The Mikado and Ruddigore (VGS 240, 2 CD) $28.49
G&S For All, Vol. 4 — The Yeomen of the Guard and The Gondoliers (VGS 241, 2 CD) $28.49

Other Gilbert & Sullivan

Columbia Abridged Sets (VGS 229; 2 CD)
In 1930-31, Columbia recorded four abridged G&S sets, with HMV regular George Baker using the pseudonym of George Portland, and other stars from Columbia's house stable conducted by the legendary Joe Batten. Long out of print, this reissue puts these unique recordings back in the catalogue for the first time in decades.
1939 Mikado Film (VGS 203; 1 CD)
This item includes all the musical numbers and a considerable amount of the dialogue from the famous film, starring Martyn Green, Sydney Granville, and Kenny Baker.
Stateside Savoyards (VGS 218; 1 CD)
This is an issue of vintage American G&S recordings, including the 1942 Victor Light Opera Company Pinafore. (Note: For copyright reasons, this item is available only from Chris Webster directly (chris at
1966 RCA Pirates with Martyn Green (VGS 249; 2 CD)
This studio recording includes Martyn Green and several other D'Oyly Carte alumni.
1973 UMGASS Grand Duke (VGS 230; 2 CD)
This is a studio recording by the University of Michigan Gilbert & Sullivan Society, based on the group's first production of an opera that, in 1973, was rarely done. The recording has gained considerable popularity among conoisseurs and is now available for the first time on CD.
1986 UMGASS Pirates (VGS 231; 2 CD)
Also from UMGASS, this recording captures a stage performance. It has been chosen for re-issue for the sheer energy of the live atmosphere, the talents of the performers and the musicians and also by the enormous enthusiasm of the audience.
"A Pleasant Occupation," with Cynthia Morey (VGS 208; 1 CD) Cynthia Morey was a member of the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company from 1951 to 1957. Between writing and theatrical engagements Cynthia is a popular guest speaker, and the first part of this CD was recorded during her talk given to The Gilbert and Sullivan Society (Sussex) on Saturday 19th June 1999, in which she spoke entertainingly about her days with DC. Fans of the original Company will relish and be fascinated by the backstage stories of 1950s life in the Carte. In addition to the talk, are seven previously unpublished private recordings of Cynthia singing in 1955 accompanied by Donald Adams at the piano. Although these are not G&S items, they still serve to give us a good idea of Cynthia's lovely singing and great artistry, and will certainly cause us to regret that the Company did not make any recordings during her time as a principal soprano. $18.99
Tête-à-Tête (VGS 248, 2 CD)
An entertaining and often hilarious one hour fifty minute conversation between the great JOHN REED and PEGGY ANN JONES, c.1975, packed with stories about life in the D'Oyly Carte on and off stage, plus some other bonus John Reed interview material. (Cover here.)

Sullivan without Gilbert

The Contrabandista (studio) + The Chieftain (live) (VGS 204; 2 CD). These are performances from the 1980s, both with The Prince Consort $28.49
The Beauty Stone (VGS 206; 2 CD)
This is the 1983 Prince Consort recording originally issued on a Pearl LP, but long out of print.
The Emerald Isle (VGS 207; 2 CD)
This is the 1982 Prince Consort recording originally issued on a Pearl LP, but long out of print.
The Tempest + Henry VIII (VGS 212; 1 CD)
In 1955, F. Charles Adler recorded Sullivan's incidental music to The Tempest and Henry VIII with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra (playing under a pseudonym, for contractual reasons). Unicorn, the label on which it was issued, went bankrupt shortly thereafter, and this recording has been a great rarity ever since. It the only complete recording of The Tempest to date, and a superb traversal of the score at that. A 1908 recording of the Graceful Dance from Henry VIII is included as a bonus track.

Edward German

Double Merrie England. (VMC 301; 2 CD)
There are two recordings on this set: the 1918 HMV complete recording conducted by the composer, Edward German, and the 1931 Columbia abridged recording that the composer supervised.
To order, contact Webster directly by email at