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Topsy-Turvy - The Music of Gilbert & Sullivan: From the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Carl Davis, Arthur Sullivan, John Constable
Topsy-Turvy - The Music of Gilbert & Sullivan: From the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Genres: Special Interest, Pop, Soundtracks
 
  •  Track Listings (19) - Disc #1

The producers of Mike Leigh's vibrant Topsy-Turvy took many big studio meetings seeking financing for their film. Word has it all went swimmingly until time for the pitch came--there are apparently no two words as unsettli...  more »

     
   
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The producers of Mike Leigh's vibrant Topsy-Turvy took many big studio meetings seeking financing for their film. Word has it all went swimmingly until time for the pitch came--there are apparently no two words as unsettling to Hollywood film execs as "Gilbert & Sullivan." But the studio system's loss turned out to be the indie film's--and our--gain. Leigh's film brought the composers' late-19th-century mounting of their breakthrough The Mikado to an all-too-familiar life, filled with as many neuroses, foibles, and fragile egos as any modern Broadway musical. The film's score, an inviting pastiche adapted from Mikado (and other G&S staples) by veteran Carl Davis, may upset purists with its time-conscious liberties. But then, it might just win over a receptive yet unexposed new audience for whom this music may seem strangely familiar, as well it should: this is where modern musical theater began. --Jerry McCulley

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CD Reviews

Wonderful but redundant
F. Behrens | Keene, NH USA | 12/06/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Anything about Gilbert & Sullivan is okay with me, but I never thought I would live to see another major motion picture about them after the one with Maurice Evans and Robert Morley. And not only about them but on the much more specialized subject of how The Mikado came to be written! A New York Times article calls this new film, , "grandly entertaining" and I can transfer that description to the inevitable soundtrack CD that Sony has just issued for reviewers on SK 61834. Although excellently sung and superbly recorded, it is something of a mixed bag. It contains in no particular order, chronological or otherwise, 8 tracks of Mikado music, 2 from Princess Ida (which preceded The Mikado), 2 from The Sorcerer (which was touched up and revived while The Mikado was being written), the Overture to The Yeomen of the Guard (which came two works after The Mikado and is not even heard in the film--it was added because the producer of the CD likes it), The Lost Chord (which along with Onward, Christian Soldiers is all that Sullivan is famous for outside of the Savoy series), and some music composed for the film. For the same price as this CD, you can get the entire score of The Mikado on Telarc label and the two overtures on Naxos along with all the other Savoy overtures. But as a momento of the film and as an introduction to G&S, this CD will do very nicely indeed."
Better than many a G&S non-sountrack
F. Behrens | 09/15/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I was compelled to get this after seeing the overlong, flawed, but nonetheless all-around amazing 'Topsy Turvy'. (Seriously - almost every supporting actor in the film deserved an Oscar, and Jim Broadbent was robbed; his Gilbert is magnificent and real.)
Inspired then to hear a true G&S performance, I bought several Carte recordings. What broke my heart is that the genuine Savoy performances are not as good as those of the 'Topsy' actors! Contrary to a review here, the articulation is just dandy. And the tenor in 'Wand'ring Minstrel' alone is far, far superior to the thin, reedy, annoying versions on the several concert cds I've heard. As is the riveting soprano on the beautiful 'The Sun Whose Rays...' of 'Topsy'; again, the actual Savoy recordings are merely shrill in comparison.
I remove one star only because of the necessarily abbreviated performances here."
Topsy-Turvy - true to its period
F. Behrens | 08/30/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I very much enjoyed the movie and the CD, and one of the things that I found most pleasing is that the casting was vocally and physically appropriate to the type of talent that would have existed in the company at that time. The singers are excellent, (for the most part) but not overly operatic. All voices are appropriate and believable for the period. In their time, G&S works were not considered grand opera, rather light entertainment, and the singing style and prowess of their actors reflected that. Gilbert wanted singers who could act, not opera singers. Topsy Turvy is right on the mark in every respect."