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Thread: Please Help. G&S related question.

  1. #1
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    Question Please Help. G&S related question.

    I do not need help identifying the piece as such. But rather (depserately need help) finding a specific moment in a much larger work. A Comic Opera of Gilbert and Sullivan's penning. I was reading a review from the premier of The Gand Duke when I came across this extract: "That form of instrumental humour, in which Sir Arthur Sullivan has delighted ever since the famous "bassoon joke" in The Sorcerer..." Which has bothered me greatly. I've been on the internet for five hours trying to find out what this "Bassoon joke" is. I am a great fan of G&S and have read through, sung through and seen performed The Sorcerer (and other Comic Operas) well over a hundred times (no exaggeration) and I cannot decipher what this refers to at all.

    If someone can please tell me what and where this "Basson joke" is in The Sorcerer that would be wonderful and much appreciated. If you can do this and explain it to me that would be infinitely better

    I'm a Composer and have done a number of Comic Operas in this style myself, so not knowing is really getting to me. (Hence the determined five, uninterupted, hours trying to find out so far.)

    Thank you greatly.

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    Senior Member Jeremy Marchant's Avatar
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    Presumably you found this on the internet:

    Musical humour is not an easy thing to discuss, for it is not every one who can enjoy its presence or even detect it when it is not superscribed in large letters, "The composer means this as a joke". The process of repetition, which in the more vulgar kind of farces is such a useful way of making a commonplace remark pass for a witticism at its thousandth occurrence, has been applied in certain quarters with conspicuous success, and the celebrated bassoon joke which appears in the great majority of the Savoy operas at one point or other, is still safe to raise a laugh.

    (English Music in the XlXth Century, JA Fuller Maitland)

    From it I deduce it is the repetition of a particular (possibly vulgar) phrase on the bassoon which is so hilarious, rather than a single instance of a rib-tickler.
    Last edited by Jeremy Marchant; Jul-01-2012 at 17:42.

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    Senior Member jani's Avatar
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    Let Bernstein explain it to you
    (watch all four parts)

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    Senior Member Jeremy Marchant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jani View Post
    Let Bernstein explain it to you
    (watch all four parts)
    Do reveal it in a sentence or two. I don't have a spare hour, I am afraid.

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