Gilbert and Sullivan Archive



David Duffey: A question I have posed before, but received no reply.

What was the composition of the Band of the Grenadier Guards which preceded the Peers on the first night?

I was at the 75th anniversary production in 1957 and can remember trombones, tuba, trumpets and snare drum (and there is a photograph confirming this in Tony Joseph's book). I recall there were about a dozen bandsmen, and being surprised that there was plenty of tantantara, but no tzing boom - i.e. no big drum. Was the 75th celebration band the same as the first night? Are band parts on hire - apart from the usual band parts I mean? Has anyone else done it?

Good job Gilbert chose the Grenadiers. Had it been the Life Guards (a more natural choice for the House of Peer), clearing up after the horses would be a problem.

Helga J. Perry: The D'Oyly Carte Music Hire Library has the onstage band parts. Their physical condition is such that they're not advertised in the hire catalogue. You can obtain further information from Nick Stockton on 01902 744414.

David Duffey: Full band parts I mean. Sullivan wrote to his school friend Cellier, who was musical director for the simultaneous New York production: "Act 1: Overture - write one yourself.".

Given that, with shipping and rehearsal, at least a week to ten days must have passed before the Sullivan score got to be performed in the States, is there existing anywhere a copy of the Cellier overture?

It would be interesting.

Bruce I. Miller: If we could locate this score, we would probably also find the music for the De Belville song as well - for it is mentioned as having been sung at the New York premiere in at least one published review. I vaguely recall a previous discussion on this topic, wherein someone (perhaps Michael Walters?) mentioned that the usual suspects had been checked out - namely the surviving Cellier relatives - and that this score may have been (gasp) burned...

A similar score for Yeomen, used at the original production in New York, is our only source for the orchestrations and melodic lines for Jealous Torments and Laughing Boy, as well as the long, first version of Is Life a Boon. (The conductor was not Cellier).

Michael Walters: Yes, I did contact the Cellier relatives, and I was told that virtually none of Cellier's Manuscripts are known to survive. When or how they disappeared, no one seemed to know.

Updated 28 November 1997