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Imperial College Operatic Society: More Tapes

More tapes

More Tapes

The tapes that Roger Nicholls lent me were an assorted bunch as you can see from the picture.

The first 5" tape in a grey Agfa box had an insert marked in pencil: "3¾ 4 track mono. Track 1 Act I, part 1 …"

I transcribed the tape using my trusty Uher Report 4400. It proved indeed to contain a G&S perfromance, as described. It is evidently the 1972 production of Yeomen of the Guard that took place at College in South Kensington. The recording includes the complete dialogue and, as a reflection of it being the year of the 3-day week and power cuts, it starts with an announcement of the procedure in case of a power blackout. The players contain just the songs. If you want the dialogue as well, download the .ZIP file.

Yeomen of the Guard 1972

Yeomen of the guard

Act I

Yeomen of the the Guard Act 1 file in .ZIP format. 57 MB

Act II

Yeomen of the the Guard Act 2 file in .ZIP format.55 MB

The second 5" tape had a similar insert with Act I and Act II, but this had been crossed through and 'Beach Boys, Hollies' written underneath. Sadly the tape did indeed contain recordings of pop music from the 1970s and not G&S.

The third 5" tape in the International Electronics box, was one I had donated to OPSOC marked as containing The Zoo from the 1976 tour recorded at 3¾. I played it in case it was better quality than my existing transcription, but disappointingly it wasn't.

The 5¼" tape in a BASF box had a label on the end reading 'Music from Budleigh Salterton, Schubert No7'. It contained various classical pieces of music, evidently recorded from the radio as it had spoken introductions. Pity.

There were several 7" tapes in International Electronics boxes, which were copies that I had donated to OPSOC. (Only one pictured here) There was a complete recording of Pirates from 1976 at 3¾ ips, and Iolanthe Friday and Saturday performances. This salved my conscience somewhat. I had left copies with OPSOC at the time so there wasn't really a 37 year wait for the transcription.

More importantly, it seemed, there were both acts of Utopia Ltd produced in College in 1976, although only a copy at 3¾ ips. However, an examination of my tape transcriptions showed that I kept a copy which I transcribed in 2008. I must have overlooked it earlier. So here it is.

There is a bonus that the 7" tapes contain dialogue which I've transcribed and they can be found in the .ZIP files.

Utopia Ltd 1976

Yeomen of the guard

Act I parts 1 & 2


Utopia Ltd Act 1 file in .ZIP format [102 MB]

Act II

Utopia Ltd Act 2 file in .ZIP format [64 MB]

The other 7" reel pictured was in a Memorex box and had an internal note that read, '1st 1.5 Hrs OPSOC church concert 1976. Rest Part of Act 2 Iolanthe with Margaret as Iolanthe.' It turned out to be recorded at 3¾ ips in ½ track stereo. The choral and orchestral pieces sounded good, but the announcements were almost inaudible. By applying a lot of amplification I was able to make out sufficient to title most of the items. Maybe I misread the note. Roger Nicholls has found the programme and it turns out to be 1978. I have not included the announcements here, nor the Iolanthe extract.

Concert in St Peter's Church, Budleigh Salterton August 1978

See how the conquering hero comes (G.F. Handel)

Psalm 23 (F. Schubert)

How lovely are Thy dwellings (J. Brahms)

Goodnight, goodnight, beloved (H.W. Longfellow/ Ciro Pinsuti)

The Long Day Closes (H.F.Chorley/ A. Sullivan)

Now vanish before the holy beams - from The Creation (J. Haydn)

Overture: The Magic Flute (W.A. Mozart)

Flute Concerto in A minor (A. Vivaldi)

Simple serenade (Gordon Jacob)

In high Germany (Trad. Arr. R. Vaughan Williams) alto solo: Edna Burrow

In a monastery garden (Albert Ketèlby)

In splendour bright - from The Creation (J. Haydn)

Budleigh Concert 1978 files with playlist in .ZIP format 68 MB

Finally there remained the 10½" reel in an Agfa box. The internal label was marked, 'Tape 1 of 2. Imperial College Operatic Society. Iolanthe by Gilbert and Sullivan. Recorded at 7½ ips. NAB eq curve. Stereo (½ track stereo) … Recorded by ICOS Sound Department. Act I Thurday night 15 Feb 1973'

I have no means of playing a 10½" reel but my ingenuity suggested that I could mount the reel on a gramophone turntable and spool it off onto 7" reels on the tape recorder. By playing the tape when the 7" reel was nearly full I was able to find a silent pause where the tape could be cut. Wasn't it a good job I saved my EMI splicing block and editing tape?

I started to play the tape and was startled to hear the overture to The Mikado. It proved to be a complete recording of Act I of the Mikado production at College in 1975. I wonder where the reel of Act II is.

The Mikado, 1975

The Mikado

Act 1

Mikado Act 1 file including dialogue in .ZIP format. 90 MB

STOIC Archive Blog

In September 2021 Mike Nicholls emailed me with a link to the blog created by Colin Grimshaw who is trawling the archives of the IC student television service, STOIC. He has discovered a video review broadcast in that year of the 1986 college prodution of Privess Ida.

Read all about it here:
or view the clip here:

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