Gilbert & Sullivan Archive

…Most recently, in 2003 Divine Art issued a sequel, The Grossmith Legacy. It includes nineteen more of the tracks Berger and Tillett recorded in 1995-96. As a bonus, the disc rounds off with two recordings that George Grossmith III himself made in 1909, “Bertie the Bounder” and “Yip-I-addy-I-ay.” The liner notes are detailed and lavishly illustrated.

Even the pieces that lack any G&S connection are enjoyable and significant to an appreciation of the era when their operas were created. One caution: Set aside time when you can really listen to these numbers. This is not background music, but depends for its effect on listening carefully to every word: thankfully, all of the songs come across clearly, thanks to Leon Berger’s superb diction, even in the patter songs. He is to be commended for getting his arms around some very difficult material, most of which was written by, and for, a man of unique talents the likes of which we may never see again.

—Marc Shepherd