The Authentic Gilbert & Sullivan Songbook

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The songs of Gilbert & Sullivan, as with many near-legendary works adopted by an enthusiastic, uncritical public, have not always survived in the most reliable form. A word gets lost or blurred, a strophe is dropped, and the song evolves along uncontrollable lines. Fortunately many of the early vocal scores authorized by Sir Arthur Sullivan still exist — and are reprinted here, in the most complete and authentic anthology of Gilbert & Sullivan currently available.

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The songs of Gilbert & Sullivan, as with many near-legendary works adopted by an enthusiastic, uncritical public, have not always survived in the most reliable form. A word gets lost or blurred, a strophe is dropped, and the song evolves along uncontrollable lines. Fortunately many of the early vocal scores authorized by Sir Arthur Sullivan still exist — and are reprinted here, in the most complete and authentic anthology of Gilbert & Sullivan currently available.
Ninety-two songs from all fourteen operettas are reproduced in the form Sullivan approved. Each number in this collection — solo, chorus, patter song, ballad, etc. — is presented uncut, unedited, in the original key, in Sullivan's original piano arrangements. The memorable ditties from the pair's 25-year collaboration (1871–96) appear, along with many not so well known, including a piece from their first joint effort, Thespis (1871), the entire score of which has been lost except for two numbers.
Contents include:
Thespis "Little Maid of Arcadee"
Trial by Jury "O gentlemen, listen I pray"
The Sorcerer "Welcome joy! Adieu to sadness!"
HMS Pinafore "When I was a lad; He is an Englishman!"
The Pirates of Penzance "Poor wand'ring one; With cat-like tread"
Patience "Prithee, pretty maidens; Sad is that woman's lot"
Iolanthe "Oh foolish fay; What I went to the Bar"
Princess Ida "Expressive glances"
The Mikado "A wand'ring minstrel I; Three little maids"
Ruddigore "I once was a very abandoned person"
The Yeomen of the Guard "Oh! A private buffoon"
The Gondoliers "I stole the Prince"
Utopia, Limited "Society has quite forsaken all her wicked courses"
The Grand Duke "So ends my dream"
Malcolm Binney and Peter Lavender collected these rare, complete vocal scores suitable for amateur and professional performance or reading; James Spero has added complete title and premiere information and a plot synopsis for each operetta. Gilbert & Sullivan lovers and all who delight in an irresistible lyric will find the authentic best in English light opera between these sturdy covers.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780486234823
  • Publisher: Dover Publications
  • Publication date: 3/26/2009
  • Series: Dover Vocal Scores Series
  • Edition description: Piano/Vocal
  • Pages: 410
  • Sales rank: 1,009,106
  • Product dimensions: 9.03 (w) x 11.93 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Librettist W. S. Gilbert (1836–1911) and composer Arthur Sullivan (1842–1900) collaborated on 14 comic operas between 1871 and 1896, of which H.M.S. Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance, and The Mikado are among the best known.
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Table of Contents

Plot Summaries
THESPIS; OR, THE GODS GROWN OLD (Gaiety Theatre, London, December 26, 1871)
  "Little maid of Arcadee"
TRIAL BY JURY (Royalty Theatre, London, March 25, 1875)
  "When first my old, old love I knew"
  "When I, good friends, was call'd to the bar"
  "With a sense of deep emotion"
  "O gentlemen, listen I pray"
THE SORCERER (Opera Comique, London, November 17, 1877)
  "Time was, when Love and I"
  "Welcome joy! adieu to sadness!" 
  "My name is John Wellington Wells"
  "Dear friends, take pity on my lot"
H.M.S. PINAFORE; OR, THE LASS THAT LOVED A SAILOR (Opera Comique, London, May 25, 1878)
  "We sail the ocean blue"
  "I'm called little Buttercup"
  "A maiden fair to see"
  "I am the captain of the Pinafore"
  "I am the monarch of the sea"
  "When I was a lad"
  "Never mind the why and wherefore"
  "He is an Englishman!"
THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE; OR, THE SLAVE OF DuTY (The Fifth Avenue Theatre, New York, December 31, 1879; performance to secure British copyright at the Royal Bijou Theatre, Paignton, Devonshire, December 30, 1879)
  "Oh, better far to live and die" 
  "Poor wand'ring one"
  "I am the very model of a modern Major-General"
  "When the foeman bares his steel"
  "When you had left our pirate fold"
  "When a felon's not engaged in his employment"
  "With cat-like tread"
PATIENCE; OR, BUNTHORNE'S BRIDE (Opera Comique, London, April 23, 1881; transferred to The Savoy Theatre for opening on October 10, 1881)
  "I cannot tell what this love may be"
  "If you want a receipt"
  "Am I alone, And unobserved?"
  "Prithee, pretty maiden"
  "Sad is that woman's lot"
  "A magnet hung in a hardware shop"
  "So go to him"
  "When I go out of door"
IOLANTHE; OR, THE PEER AND THE PERI (Savoy Theatre, London, November 25, 1882)
  "Tripping hither, tripping thither"
  "Loudly let the trumpet bray" (March of the Peers)
  "The Law is the true embodiment"
  "Spurn not the nobly born"
  "When I went to the Bar"
  "When all night long a chap remains"
  "When Britain really rul'd the waves"
  "Oh, foolish fay"
  "Love, unrequited" (Nightmare song)
  "If you go in"
PRINCESS IDA; OR, CASTLE ADAMANT (Savoy Theatre, London, January 5, 1884)
  "If you give me your attention"
  "Expressive glances"
  "I am a maiden"
  "A Lady fair"
  "Would you know the kind of maid"
  "Whene'er I spoke"
  "This helmet, I suppose"
THE MIKADO; OR, THE TOWN OF TITIPU (Savoy Theatre, London, March 14, 1885)
  "A wand'ring minstrel I"
  "Behold the Lord High Executioner!"
  "As some day it may happen"
  "Three little maids"
  "So please you, Sir"
  "For he's going to marry Yum-Yum"
  "The sun, whose rays"
  "Brightly dawns our wedding day"
  "Here's a how-de-do"
  "Miya sarna"
  "A more humane Mikado"
  "The Bowers that bloom in the spring" 
  "Alone, and yet alive!"
  "On a tree by a river" (Titwillow)
  "There is beauty in the bellow of the blast"
RUDDIGORE; OR, THE WITCH'S CURSE (Savoy Theatre, London, January 22, 1887; title originally spelled Ruddygore)
  "If somebody there chanced to be" 
  "I shipped, d'ye see" and Hornpipe
  "My boy, you may take it from me"
  "Cheerily carols the lark over the cot"
  "When the night wind howls"
  "I once was a very abandoned person" 
  "My eyes are fully open"
THE YEOMEN OF THE GUARD; OR, THE MERRYMAN AND HIS MAID (Savoy Theatre, London, October 3, 1888)
  "When maiden loves"
  "Is life a boon?"
  "I have a song to sing, O!"
  "I've jibe and joke"
  "Were I thy bride"
  "Oh! a private buffoon"
  "Strange adventure!"
  "A man who would woo a fair maid"
  "When a wooer Goes a-wooing"
THE GONDOLIERS; OR, THE KING OF BARATARIA (Savoy Theatre, London, December 7, 1889)
  "We're called gondolieri"
  "In enterprise of martial kind"
  "I stole the Prince"
  "When a merry maiden marries"
  "Then one of us will be a Queen"
  "Take a pair of sparkling eyes"
  "Dance a cachucha" 
  "There lived a King"
  "I am a courtier grave and serious"
UTOPIA, LIMITED; OR, THE FLOWERS OF PROGRESS (Savoy Theatre, London, October 7, 1893)
  "In ev'ry mental lore"
  "Society has quite forsaken all her wicked courses" 
THE GRAND DUKE; OR, THE STATUTORY DUEL (Savoy Theatre, London, March 7, 1896)
  "So ends my dream"

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2006

    A Perfect Companion to the Operas.

    O, so helpful when you can't think of what to do on skit night what's more amusing than going out in a paper hat and singing 'When I Was a Lad' to the delight of the crowd? I would recommend this to anyone either 1) musically inclined 2) with a sense of wit or, 3) who can never remember the words.

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