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.
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.