Compact Discoveries
a series of one-hour radio programs produced, written, hosted, recorded and edited by Fred Flaxman
©2003 by Compact Discoveries, Inc.

Program 42
"Sullivan without Gilbert"

MUSIC: Excerpt from the Overture to The Pirates of Penzance by Sir Arthur Sullivan, performed by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra conducted by Alexander Faris [Nimbus Records NI 5066, track 3] under the following:

FLAXMAN: Welcome to Compact Discoveries. I'm your guide, Fred Flaxman. The music in the background is the Overture to "The Pirates of Penzance" by Gilbert and Sullivan. Well, no it isn't either. It's the Overture to "The Pirates of Penzance," all right, and The Pirates of Penzance was certainly by Gilbert and Sullivan. But W. S. Gilbert didn't write any of the music, just the lyrics. Sullivan wrote all the music. So all the overtures to all the Gilbert and Sullivan operettas are by Sullivan.

This Compact Discoveries hour is devoted to "Sullivan without Gilbert," music that was written by the famous English operetta composer that was not written for any operetta and was not part of any of the famous collaborations with Gilbert. So that, I'm afraid, excludes the Overture to "The Pirates of Penzance."

MUSIC: stops abruptly

FLAXMAN: But Sullivan did compose concert overtures, a ballet, a cello concerto, incidental music to Shakespeare's The Tempest, a symphony, an oratorio, a cantata, and a grand opera called Ivanhoe.

In this hour we'll listen to his Overture di Ballo, his Cello Concerto, and excerpts from his ballet, which he gave a French name, L'Ile Enchantée, The Enchanted Island - all works by "Sullivan Without Gilbert."

First, here's the Overture di Ballo, the best-known of Sullivan's four surviving concert overtures. It was commissioned by the Birmingham, England, Triennial Festival for a performance on August 31st, 1870.

Program notes writer Michael Hurd calls it a "masterpiece of grace and ingenuity. Within the framework of an orthodox symphonic movement," Hurd writes, Sullivan "presents what is in effect a miniature dance suite. The introduction is in the style of a polonaise, the first and second subjects are waltzes, and the closing section is a stirring gallop."

In this Nimbus compact disc recording, Alexander Faris conducts the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.

MUSIC: Sullivan: Overture di Ballo , performed by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra under Alexander Faris[Nimbus NI 5066, track 10] [11:51]

FLAXMAN: "Sullivan Without Gilbert." The Overture di Ballo, by Sir Arthur Sullivan. Alexander Faris conducted the Scottish Chamber Orchestra on a Nimbus compact disc.

You are listening to Compact Discoveries and I'm your guide, Fred Flaxman. This hour is devoted to "Sullivan Without Gilbert" - music by Sir Arthur Sullivan that was not written for a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta.

Our next example is Sullivan's Cello Concerto, which we hear now as performed by cellist Martin Ostertag with the Rundfunkorchester des Südwestfunks conducted by Klaus Arp.

MUSIC: Sullivan: Cello Concerto, performed by Martin Ostertag with Klaus Arp conducting the Rundfunkorchester des Südwestfunks [ami 9703/1] [15:50]


FLAXMAN: Sir Arthur Sullivan's Cello Concerto, performed by cellist Martin Ostertag with the Rundfunkorchester des Südwestfunks conducted by Klaus Arp.

You are listening to "Sullivan Without Gilbert'" on this hour of Compact Discoveries. I'm your guide, Fred Flaxman.

Finally we turn to Sullivan's ballet score I'Ile Enchantée - The Enchanted Island. I don't know why he gave it a French title. Perhaps he thought that was more chic.

This ballet made its début at Covent Garden in 1864. It was well received, so Sullivan decided to shorten it for concert performance. In that form it was presented at Crystal Palace. But within three years, Covent Garden, Crystal Palace and the composer had between them totally lost the score.

Fortunately, a set of orchestral parts existed, and these have now been edited by Raderick Spencer and Selwyn Tillett, who restored the passages cut by Sullivan for concert performances in order to recreate the original ballet score. In June 1990 the Sir Arthur Sullivan Society Festival staged the first performance since 1867, and you will now hear excerpts from the world premiere recording.

The ballet's story is about a shipwrecked mariner who is washed up on the short of an enchanted island inhabited only by gnomes and fairies. The fairy queen is very taken with him, and the mariner eventually makes her mortal with a kiss.

In these excerpts from the Naxos compact disc recording The RTE Concert Orchestra of Dublin is conducted by Andrew Penny.

MUSIC: Sullivan: excerpts from L'Ile Enchantée, with the RTE Concert Orchestra, Dublin, conducted by Andrew Penny [Naxos 8.223460]

FLAXMAN: Excerpts from L'Ile Enchantée - The Enchanted Island - by Sir Arthur Sullivan. The RTE Concert Orchestra of Dublin was conducted by Andrew Penny on this world premiere Naxos recording.

You have been listening to an hour of "Sullivan Without Gilbert" on Compact Discoveries - music that was written by Sir Arthur Sullivan that was not part of a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta. I hope you have enjoyed it.

MUSIC: Sullivan: another excerpt from L'Ile Enchantée, with the RTE Concert Orchestra, Dublin, conducted by Andrew Penny [Naxos 8.223460]

FLAXMAN: Compact Discoveries is produced and presented by yours truly, Fred Flaxman. I would love to hear from you. You can reach in care of this station or through the Internet at www.fredflaxman.com. That's www-dot-f-r-e-d-f-l-a-x-m-a-n-dot-c-o-m.

Compact Discoveries is a production of Compact Discoveries, Incorporated, and is a presentation of WXEL-FM, West Palm Beach, Florida.

MUSIC: ends at 58:00

 
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