Gilbert and Sullivan Archive



Judith R. Neale: Earlier this evening my parents had received a request from someone looking for march music for a wedding recessional, and at the dinner table, my mother mentioned that my father had, out of the blue, recommended the march of the peers from Iolanthe. We pooh-pooed him, but then my house guest began asking about Iolanthe.

So after dinner, we played Iolanthe for her, complete with dialogue. This friend, who has only heard/seen The Mikado because I directed it at the school where she works (Punahou on Oahu, in Hawaii) sat there entranced. I haven't bothered to add my voice to those who adore Iolanthe simply because I agreed, but I kept thinking of all of you as I watched her react. She was utterly joyous, laughing at the jokes, enjoying the music, etc. It's just the way we always like to see people react to G&S shows the first time they're heard.

So tonight I and my father had the utterly joyous experience of sharing with someone who has never ever heard it before, the complete Iolanthe, as she followed a copy of the score as well as the libretto in hand, laughing and chortling her way through it for the very first time. My Dad, whose memory isn't always as good as we might wish. asked her at one point if she knew the show. When she said no, he said, oh my, how I envy you hearing it for the first time!

I sometimes think maybe that's the most wonderful thing we can experience. Turning someone on to one of the shows they've never heard can be so much fun. I gave her a copy of the score, and a libretto (a really weird edition, I have to identify it, it's simply called "Seven Librettos by W.S. Gilbert") and she just laughed her way through both of them.

Anyway, The reason I have this CD is I love listening to Iolanthe in the car when I'm driving, and because of the current discussion of Iolanthe, I thought maybe you'd all enjoy hearing that a "civilian" can still sit there and become utterly enraptured with the silliness and beauty of the script and score. I never get tired of seeing that happen, but tonight was a special treat.

Ken Krantz: I can attest from personal experience that the march of the Peers makes an excellent wedding recessional. Not only is the music stirring and appropriate, but you get to exchange knowing glances with those of your guests who are G&S fans as you march past them. My intended and I told the church organist of our desires and gave him a copy of the score a couple of weeks beforehand, so he had time to practice it.

I have one suggestion if you want to use the M of the Ps in a wedding. Unless you are recessing down an exceptionally long church (St. Peter's, say, or Notre Dame de Paris) have the organist skip the orchestral introduction and start where the vocal line starts. Jeff DeMarco: But that's the best part! Judith R. Neale: Thank you, Ken, I'm going to pass this information along to the mother-in-law to be...

Did you use any other G&S in your ceremony? I know VLOG weddings often utilized the "chorus" of guests in various numbers...

Chris Webster: When former D'Oyly Carters Beti Lloyd-Jones and the late Gordon Mackenzie were married at Liverpool's Metropolitan Cathedral, about 10 years ago, the organist played many G & S items before the service including the Peers March. This sounded particularly wonderful on the mighty instrument. Suzanne O'Keefe sang Mozart's Allellujah during the service, but I don't think G & S was played or sung at any time during the ceremony.

Peter Meason: Which reminds me, I was asked to play the Tolloller, Mountararat, Chancellor trio from Act 2 as a wedding recessional once - the bridegroom was a G&S lover of many years and as well as it being a trio he particularly enjoyed, he felt the opening line was particularly significant for a nuptial ceremony.

Tom Groves: Speaking of processionals et. al., we played "March of the Peers" along with "Pomp and Circumstance" at my high school graduation (ah, many years ago). There were 650 of us and the procession went on forever. Our orchestra leader felt that G&S made a nice change of pace as opposed to endless repeats of P&C. Anyone else out there who received their degree to the illustrious sound of Sir Arthur?

Bruce I. Miller: At Holy Cross, we play March of the Peers during the 30 minute prelude before the actual processional, for the people waiting in the stands. Among the other selections: the march from The Student Prince (Romberg). The titles are not listed in the program, but from time to time we get an appreciative comment from lovers of light opera.

Neil Midkiff: The March of the Peers has frequently been played at Stanford University commencement ceremonies (including when I got my Master of Science degree in 1979). It is apparently a favorite of Dr. Arthur Barnes, director of bands, who is retiring this year. Wonder if it'll get programmed in future seasons?

Updated 28 November 1997