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Category Archives: Gilbert and Sullivan

Sir Arthur Sullivan indeed composed the music that is in this piece.  However, he had been dead 50 years at the time of Pineapple Poll‘s genesis.  This idea came about in 1950 due to copyright law: Sullivan died in 1900, and so in 1950 his music became public domain.  However, Sir William Gilbert, his serpent-tongued lyricist partner, died several year later, so his portion of the famous Gilbert and Sullivan work was still under copyright.  This necessitated that any use of the Gilbert and Sullivan material be purely instrumental.  And so it was, in the form of the ballet Pineapple Poll.  Sir Charles Mackerras took pieces of the existing material wholesale and essentially stitched it together in different forms to create the ballet music.  To create a story for the ballet, choreographer John Cranko referred to Gilbert’s poem “The Bumboat Woman’s Story”, one of his early, satirical Bab Ballads.  In it, an old woman tells the story of falling in love with a sea captain, then dressing as a man to follow him to sea, only to find the rest of the crew had done exactly the same thing.  The band suite, arranged for wind instruments by W. J. Duthoit, appeared in 1952 as no. 768 in Chappell’s Army Journal, a serial subscription service for new band music.

Note: the “Poll” of the title is pronounced like the first syllable of the name “Polly”, for which it is short.  It is not like North Pole.

More on Gilbert & Sullivan at wikipedia.

The Gilbert & Sullivan Archive – a must-see for fans of the duo.

The Bumboat Woman’s Story in full, basis for Pineapple Poll‘s plot.

More information about the original ballet on wikipedia.

Now some videos.   First, the band suite in 2 parts as performed by Stetson University Symphonic Band:

Finally, a segment of the ballet which features some of the material that made it into the third movement of the band suite:


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