“Oh joy, oh rapture unforeseen!” This week, Pristine returns to the classic series of D’Oyly Carte company HMV recordings from the late 1920s through the early 1930s to present two of the greatest of Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic operas: H. M. S. Pinafore and The Pirates of Penzance. These, along with The Mikado (whose 1926 D’Oyly Carte recording was previously issued on Pristine), remain the most beloved and often-performed of their works.
Like the others in the original series of 78 rpm albums, these sets featured a mixture of seasoned Savoyards - Sir Henry Lytton, Elsie Griffin, Bertha Lewis , Darrell Fancourt and others - alongside popular concert singers - George Baker, Peter Dawson - well-trained in the idiom, here under the energetic baton of the young then-Dr. Malcolm Sargent. Together, their work set the standard for G&S performances for decades to come through these influential and widely-distributed recordings.
We think you’ll find that these classic recordings wear their 90-plus years lightly, and that you’ll agree they’ve never sounded better. (“What, never?” Well . . . you know the rest!)