WALTER LEIGH (1905-1942): Jolly Roger.
Catalogue Number: 08R057
Description: Anglophiles rejoice! This quintessentially English operetta is essential listening for anyone who enjoys the peculiarly self-caricaturing humor of our cousins across the pond. The fact that it consists of first-rate music is a resounding bonus. Leigh was an immaculate craftsman, as at home in 'light' as 'serious' music, who was compared with Sullivan during his all too brief career, and not without reason. The rollicking ensemble pieces in the work are very reminiscent of Sullivan, while less overtly comical numbers have much in common with the appealing melodiousness and romantic warmth of George Lloyd, and Leigh incorporates enough nods to the conventions of serious opera to serve as an in joke for more sophisticated members of his audience. The plot is a sort of early twentieth-century precursor to 'Pirates of the Caribbean', with doughty young heroes falsely accused of piracy, extravagantly colorful real pirates, fair maidens given to swooning at the least provocation, villainous moustache-twirling colonial governors and the like. The spoken dialogue adds to the very English eccentricity of the proceedings, while some rather silly intermittent sound effects from the 1972 BBC radio production do not detract from Leigh's delicious score, British light music at its finest. 2 CDs. No libretto. Marietta Midgley (soprano), Helen Landis (mezzo), Neilson Taylor, Vernon Midgley (tenors), The Ambrosian Singers, BBC Concert Orchestra; Ashley Lawrence.