As the title of this blog comes from a song by Gilbert and Sullivan (G&S) I think perhaps I will say a few words on what they mean to me. If you would like to know more about them you can of course click on the link to Wikipedia above. In this piece I will only talk about my own personal experience with this musical duo.
My first experience with G&S goes back a long way to the mid-1980s when I watched the film “The Pirate Movie” which is based on the operetta “The Pirates of Penzance” I couldn’t get enough of the songs in this now very dated and somewhat difficult to watch film, but as a child I loved it. Should you wish to watch it yourself (though I admit I have not really given it a huge endorsement), you can on YouTube.
A decade passed before my next encounter with these giants of satirical opera. I next came across them while on holiday in Portugal. My family had rented a villa in the Algarve, it was a beautiful house with many facilities including a well stocked library and music collection. Looking through the cassettes I came across the a mix tape of songs from various G&S operettas, though from that time the one that stands out most clearly in my mind is “Tit Willow” as I played this at full volume from the living room whilst swimming in the pool until my parents asked (ordered) I turn it down or in the case of my sister, off. This started a more constant love affair with these two Victorian giants of musical theatre. Every subsequent birthday or Christmas for many years after I requested tapes and CDs of G&S, full operettas and compilations, my favourite being a collection of gramaphone recordings. I was even taken to see a wonderful amateur production of “HMS Pinafore“, with my family and we all enjoyed it apart from the journey home when we ran out of petrol and had to call out the AA and a dear friend took me to see a student production of “The Sorcerer” whilst we were studying at Edinburgh University. If I had been blessed with more musical talent I rather fancy I would have enjoyed performing myself.
By a strange coincidence there is a plaque to Arthur Sullivan in my hometown, as he spent some time there in his youth although the location is not very salubrious seeing as the current location is a rather horrid looking modern McDonald’s.
Although I do not listen to G&S on a daily basis like I once did I certainly find myself coming back to them from time to time and their jolly music combined with witty lyrics never fails to cheer me up and even though they wrote over one hundred years ago some of their satirical humour is applicable to the political and social conditions of today. If you have an open mind and a love of all things music then why not give them a go? You may be surprised.