is a worthwhile collector's item. No
recordings are to be found in the catalogue
of two of the works represented. The
Arcadians was issued by EMI on a
highlights disc (Sadler's Wells performance)
and later complete with dialogue by
Ohio Light Opera. The Cingalee
and The Quaker Girl have been
generally forgotten works.
is the inspiration of the English speaking
baritone, Mart Sanders, whom I met in
Cirencester & Cheltenham, England
during the summer of 2002 at the Sir
Arthur Sullivan Society convention.
Full marks to the Estonians for reviving
this important music by Monckton in
an excellent recording with good orchestral
backing. Many readers will be aware
that Monckton's musicals were not entirely
his own work and often relied on contributions
by Talbot or Rubens. This genre is so
much a part of Britain's heritage that
I am amazed to find The Quaker Girl
(popular with amateur operatic circles
up to the 1960s) has never been recorded
since the acoustic days of 78s, and
only then in a band selection.
ran for 365 performances in London and
was a moderate success while The
Quaker Girl's run of 536 performances
was topped by The Arcadians with
a considerable 809 performances: they
remained popular for a long time. Set
in Ceylon, The Cingalee contains
little in the music to give it an Eastern
flavour yet is remembered for Monckton's
catchy sextet, The Island of Gay
Ceylon [tk.5] and Ruben's, White
and Brown Girl [tk.7]. It is a pity
that The Island of Gay Ceylon
is abridged because the quality of the
mateiral we hear is good.
is a make-believe story which opens
in Acadia and ends in a London street.
The Pipes of Pan, Charming Weather
and Back your Fancy are key
numbers that are often encored.
Girl is particularly tuneful and
in its story contrasts Quaker morality
with Parisienne high fashion. Only Come
to the Ball [tk.39] continues to
be well known, but listen to Tony
from America [tk.35] and When
a bad bad Boy numbers [not represented].
The numbers have a distinctive charm
that should not be underestimated.
This is an enjoyable and well recorded
disc. It should be pointed out that
the songs are of a continuously running
medley and not in the order they appear
in the show. The links are nicely arranged.
The opening chorus [tk.1] is really
a charming chorus from Act II where
the chorus singing has been raised an
octave (with good effect). I should
have preferred this complete rather
than punctuate it with a short 'Saleem'
chorus (also from Act II). The quality
of English is excellent: there is little
hint of the lyrics not being delivered
by singers natively English though at
times consonants might have been made
more deliberately. Certainly, both the
pace and idiom of Edwardian operetta
have been well studied by this entrepreneuring
Bel Etage group. I find the quality
of the singing excellent with warm sopranos
providing good expression, a distinctive
tenor and resonant baritone, as well
as the support of an excellent chorus.
In some of the tracks the singers are
placed more forward on the sound stage
than I should have preferred since this
can blot out the detail of orchestral
A full colour
booklet is nicely arranged with lyrics
and useful background historical notes
in English. Maybe the potential in this
music will be generally recognised to
consider more complete recordings
of The Country Girl, Miss Gibbs,
or The Rebel Maid.