In the course of his work, this reviewer is sent a few divine recordings
many good ones, too many so-so's and occasionally a bizarre one such as this
album, fondly described by its makers as - 'Over 75 minutes of Victorian
Grossmith seems to have been a jack-of-all-trades (and I will refrain from
the smart comment): law-court reporter; author; composer of songs - comic
and sentimental, and of operettas - and actor and entertainer etc. But his
main claim to fame was that he created most of the chief comedy parts in
the Gilbert and Sullivan operas - parts like the Lord Chancellor in Iolanthe
and Ko-Ko in The Mikado
He was also joint author with his brother Weedon, of the classic comic novel,
The Diary of a Nobody.
He was also famous for his Humorous and Musical Recitals. It is 24 of these
that comprises this programme sung with contortionist-like relish by Leon
Berger assuming so many roles and so many styles that it is a wonder he survives
without a desiccated, never mind split personality.
The programme opens with perhaps the best known song 'See Me Dance the Polka.'
In 'His Nose Was on the Mantlepiece', Mr Berger assumes a thick Irish accent
and describes a typical belligerent affray in which we learn that Pat Doolin's
nose was on the mantlepiece, his mouth was on the floor, his teeth
were hanging on a peg behind the kitchen door
' In 'The French Verbs
Song', he assumes a thick Gallic accent with many ahahahs and eehaw laughs
and proceeds to murder the French language.
'The Lost Key' mercilessly lampoons Sullivan's Lost Chord. The key is the
key to a lady's wardrobe and she discovers it is missing when she is out
in her carriage and starts to worry about the trinkets that might be lost
and the clothes that the maids maids could 'borrow', then worse - about somebody
reading her love letters!
The songs all have a quaint period charm and are mildly amusing. Enjoyable
according to your taste.