Search - Arthur Sullivan, Isidore Godfrey, Stephen S. Moore :: Gilbert and Sullivan: The Yeomen of the Guard

Gilbert and Sullivan: The Yeomen of the Guard
Arthur Sullivan, Isidore Godfrey, Stephen S. Moore
Gilbert and Sullivan: The Yeomen of the Guard
Genres: Soundtracks, Classical
  •  Track Listings (12) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (10) - Disc #2


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Strangely cut but of historical value
F. Behrens | Keene, NH USA | 06/21/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

"It took only 54 years for the 1950 recording of Gilbert & Sullivan's "The Yeomen of the Guard" to appear on a CD at a budget price (two or three other labels had it at a quite expensive one). But now my favorite budget-priced company, Naxos of America, has included it in their Great Operetta Recordings series along with the so-called Martyn Green offerings of "HMS Pinafore," "The Mikado," "The Pirates of Penzance," "Patience," "Iolanthe," and "The Gondoliers." (This leaves only "Ruddigore" with Martyn Green and "Princess Ida" and "The Sorcerer" without him-and I do wish they would hurry.) All are conducted by G&S expert Isidore Godfrey.
Green is well known by G&S fans as the legendary comic lead with the D'Oyly Carte Company for many years and his recordings are treasured by many. This particular Naxos set (8.110293-94) sits on two CDs, the first holding Act I and the second Act II with 9 wonderful little G&S-for-orchestra selections from 1935. "The Yeomen of the Guard" itself is (as all in the series were back then) without dialogue and it is not quite musically complete. It is missing the comic duet "Rapture, rapture" in Act II and two stanzas from the Act I finale, for no better reason than that the D'Oyly Carte Company had dropped them from its productions back then. What a shame. The cast is adequate to quite good. Green is outstanding as a morose Jack Point who (on the stage at least) actually dies at the end. The bottomless basso of Richard Watson is just right for the idiotic Shadbolt, but the gorgeous mezzo of Ann Drummond-Grant is a bit too mature-sounding for "little Phoebe." Tenor Leonard Osborn has his usual vocal troubles and should have yielded to the then upcoming tenor Neville Griffiths, who here has the tiny role of Leonard Meryll. D'Oyly Carte veteran Darrel Fancourt's voice had become a little leathery, but his Sgt. Meryll is full of character, making the loss of the duet even more unforgivable. So this is really for G&S addicts, for whom this is of great historical interest, and for groups who plan to do "Yeomen" and want a good idea of the traditional delivery."
1950 Recording of Interest to G&S Fans
J Scott Morrison | Middlebury VT, USA | 07/01/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

"[I bow to the expertise of Frank Behrens, whose review is the first one submitted for this release. I beg you to read his review before you read mine. You'll learn something! And I only want to add a few things to what he has written.]This recording by Isidore Godfrey, that stalwart conductor of the D'Oyly Carte Opera, conducting a performance by some of the great G&S stars of their day is worth having, even if the score is somewhat cut and none of the dialog is included. We have the inimitable Martyn Green as Jack Point; that is worth having if only for such patter songs as 'Oh! A private buffoon is a lighthearted loon' and his duet with Elsie 'I have a song to sing, O'. But the rest of the cast is marvelous, too. Having recently listened to some performances from the Ohio Light Opera company reminds me how much better the VOICES were in the D'Oyly Carte company, not to speak of their authentic accents. Mr Behrens made no mention of our Elsie Maynard, the soprano Muriel Harding, whose bright voice and rapid vibrato make for a charming heroine. I certainly echo what Mr Behrens says about all the other principals. I also want to mention the delightful performance of the faux-madrigal, 'When a wooer goes a-wooing,' sung by Elsie, Phoebe, Fairfax and Jack Point. Ah!There is a bit of lagniappe on the second CD, namely some orchestral excerpts from a number of the G&S operettas played by the British Light Orchestra conducted by Stephen S. Moore, recorded in 1935. The sound is only fair, and to be honest the performances are only middling. If you're interested in a collection of orchestral music from the G&S canon I'd suggest you get a CD that contains Sir Charles Mackerras's 1951 arrangement fashioned for the ballet, 'Pineapple Poll,' and recorded several times by him. Scott Morrison"