The 1949 D'Oyly Carte Trial By Jury

The Learned JudgeRichard Watson
The PlaintiffMuriel Harding
The DefendantLeonard Osborn
Counsel for the PlaintiffLeslie Rands
UsherL. Radley Flynn
Foreman of the JuryDonald Harris

D'Oyly Carte Opera Company
Conductor: Isidore Godfrey

Recorded in London,
July 19 & 21, 1949

Sounds on CD VGS214
Sounds on CD VGS214
(Cover art by Matt Bland)
Regis RRC2041
Regis RRC2041

After the 1936 recording of The Mikado, the combined effects of depression, war and reconstruction prevented the issue of any new recordings until 1949 (the longest such gap in history). By now, a new technology, the long-playing record, had emerged to tempt and delight the listening public. Whereas a musically-complete recording of a G&S opera took anywhere from eight to twelve 78rpm records, the same opera could be issued on just two LPs. The sound quality was significantly better, as well.

Usually, new series of recordings started with the most-popular G&S opera, The Mikado. However, since this had been the last opera recorded before the war, the Company's return to the recording studio began instead with Trial By Jury. In total, nine operas would be recorded over the next four years, many of them at great haste (to take advantage of the waning Sullivan copyright).

Decca LK-4001
Decca LK-4001
London A4101
London A4101

The hero and heroine in this Trial, Leonard Osborn and Muriel Harding, would figure in most of the recordings of the monaural LP era. Osborn's singing on disc has come under much criticism. While by all accounts he was a fine stage actor, all that comes through on record is a strained, excessively nasal voice that grates on the ear. His "No, no, no's" in the finale are especially painful.

While this recording has its adherents, I don't think it bears comparison to either the 1927 or 1964 recordings, both of which are available on CD. This recording was originally issued simultaneously on both 78's and 45's, with an LP issue shortly thereafter. It remained in print through the late 1970s on London's budget Richmond label. It is once again available on CD, so listeners may judge for themselves.

Chris Webster uncovered a technical fault in the LP transfers (the kind of thing that is, unfortunately, common for G&S recordings of this period):

There is a small gap in the "All hail, great Judge" section which I would attribute to where there is a change in 78rpm masters from one disc to another. The immediate section before the change is in pitch, but the actual moment of change is slightly below pitch.

Chris also mentioned that this technical fault has been corrected on his CD re-issue (see below).

Issue History
1949 Decca 78rpm AK 2248/51 Automatic side couplings
London 78rpm T 5192/5 in
Album LA-108
45rpm LGF 5 Automatic side couplings [record numbers needed].
Mono LP LLP 70  
XLL 70 Observed only on an album labeled "Radio Promotional Copy — Not for Resale".
1950 Decca Mono LP LK 4001  
LKA 4001 Australian issue
ca. 1953 London Mono LP LL 70  
ca. 1956-7 London Mono LP A-4101
1957-8 London 45rpm REP.8018 Highlights
1960s Richmond Mono LP R 23050  
2000 Sounds on CD CD VGS214 With 1949 Pirates
2000 Pearl CD GEMS0097 With 1949 Pirates
2001 Regis CD RRC2041 With 1950 Mikado
2002 Naxos CD 8.110196-97 With 1949 Pirates
2004 AVID CD AMBX138 10-CD set containing the entire nine-opera series recorded 1949–51, plus Pineapple Poll, the Overture ’Di Ballo’, and orchestral highlights (S. Robinson) from Pinafore and Yeomen
Recording Details
1AR13854 Hark, the hour of ten is sounding19 Jul 49
2AR13855 When first my old, old love I knew19 Jul 49
3AR13856 For these kind words accept my thanks19 Jul 49
4AR13857 Swear thou the Jury!19 Jul 49
5AR13858 Oh never, never, never21 Jul 49
6AR13859 That she is reeling is plain to see!21 Jul 49
7AR13860 A nice dilemma we have here21 Jul 49
8AR13861 The question, gentlemen--is one of liquor21 Jul 49


  1. For a discussion of the matrix numbers in these sets, see the matrix numbers discussion page.