musical catalyst | composer | pianist
Posted March 30, 2018
The Pirates of Penzance:
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About "The PIrates of Penzance"
I grew up singing and listening to the music of Gilbert & Sullivan. My mother was an operatic soprano who sang the roles of Mabel (The Pirates of Penzance), Yum-Yum (The Mikado) and Josephine (H.M.S. Pinafore). I played the role of Ruth in my high school production of The Pirates of Penzance. In my mother's later years, she became a producer and director of local Gilbert & Sullivan productions.
While programming my 2018 winter quarter repertoire for my college community choir, I thought it would be fun to introduce them all to the genius of Gilbert & Sullivan. I looked everywhere for SATB choral arrangements and found one -- just one -- for H.M.S. Pinafore, arranged by Philip Kern.
I also wanted to sing the Pirates and, unable to find a suitable arrangement, I grabbed the score from the public domain and arranged the Pirates myself.
This arrangement features the following songs:
"I am a Pirate King"
The men in the choir told me how much they loved singing some leads and their enthusiasm was palpable. Click here to see their performance on YouTube.
South Seattle College Community Choir (March 2018)
Oh, better far to live and die under the brave black flag I fly,
Than play a sanctimonious part with a pirate head and a pirate heart!
Away to the cheating world go you, where pirates all are well to do,
But I'll be true to the song I sing, and live and die a Pirate King.
For I am a Pirate King! And it is, it is a glorious thing to be a Pirate King!
For I am a Pirate King! You are! Hurrah for the Pirate King!
TELLING A TERRIBLE STORY
He is telling a terrible story which will tend to diminish his glory;
Tho they would have taken his daughters over the billowy waters
It is easy, in elegant diction, to call it an innocent fiction,
But it comes in the same category as telling a regular terrible story.
If he's telling a terrible story, He shall die by a death that is gory;
Yes, one of the cruelest slaughters that ever were known in these waters.
Hail, poetry thou heav'n born maid! Thou gildest e'en the Pirate's trade.
Hail, flowing fount of sentiment, all hail! All hail! divine emollient.
WHEN THE FOEMAN BEARS HIS STEEL (TA-RAN-TA-RA)
When the foeman bears his steel, Ta-ran-ta-ra, ta-ran-ta-ra!
We uncomfortable feel! Ta-ran-ta-ra!
And we find the wisest thing, Ta-ran-ta-ra, ta-ran-ta-ra!
Is to slap our chests and sing Ta-ran-ta-ra!
For when threaten'd with emeutes, Ta-ran-ta-ra, ta-ran-ta-ra!
And your heart is in your boots, Ta-ran-ta-ra!
There is nothing brings it round like the trumpet's martial sound,
Ta-ran-ta-ra, ta-ran-ta-ra, ta-ran-ta-ra, ta-ran-ta-ra!
GO, YE HEROES!
Go ye heroes, go to glory! Though ye die in combat gory!
Ye shall live in song and story, go to immortality!
Go to death and go to slaughter, Die and ev'ry Cornish daughter
With her tears your grave shall water! Go, ye heroes go and die!
Go, ye heroes, go to immortality!
Away, away! These pirates slay! Then do not stay! Then why this delay!
Yes, forward on the foe, They go, they go! Yes, forward on the foe!
At last they go, at last they go, at last they go! At last they really go!
WITH CAT-LIKE TREAD
With cat like tread upon our prey we steal,
In silence dread our cautious way we feel!
No sound at all, we never speak a word,
A fly's footfall would be distinctly heart!
Come friends, who plough the sea,
Truce to navigation, Take another station,
Let's vary piracee, With a little burglaree!
POOR WAND'RING ONES
Poor wand'ring ones,
Though ye have surely strayed,
Take heart of grace,
Your steps retrace
Poor wand'ring ones!
Poor wand'ring ones,
If such poor love as ours
Can help you find true peace of mind,
Why take it, it is yours.
Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah!
Fair days will shine.
Take heart, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah!
Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah,
heart, take mine!
Take heart, fair days will shine,
Take heart, take heart, take ours!