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Sunday Afternoon at the Opera - German: Tom Jones

08/03/2014 1:00 pm
08/03/2014 4:30 pm


Sunday Afternoon at the Opera host Keith Brown writes:

Edward German (1862-1936) became the acknowledged successor to Sir Arthur Sullivan in the vein of light opera. Even Sullivan himself declared German was the only musician of genius who could follow him. When Sullivan died leaving his last Savoy opera, The Emerald Isle (1901), unfinished, German very ably completed the score, and won high praise from the critics of the day.

German's most well known work is Merrie England (1902), also written for the Savoy Theatre. I broadcast a recording of it on Sunday, July 26, 1998.

His best work, musically and dramatically speaking, is Tom Jones (1907), based on the novel by Henry Fielding. German seems to have inherited Sullivan's gift for melody. Tom Jones has plenty of memorable tunes. Strangely, the operetta had to wait until 2008 for its first musically complete recording. David Russell Hulme directed the National Festival Orchestra and Chorus of the UK, with a cast that includes seven(!) baritones. Naxos Records released it on two compact discs in 2009 in its "Operetta Classics" series.