John Barry

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The Independent Online

In his excellent obituary of John Barry (1 February), Spencer Leigh stated: "When the music of Gilbert and Sullivan came out of copyright in 1962...", writes John Crisp. This is wrong. In those days copyright lasted for 50 years after the death of the composer or the author. Sir Arthur Sullivan died in 1900 so his music came out of copyright on 1 January 1951, a fact celebrated by John Cranko and Charles Mackerras by creating a ballet, Pineapple Poll, using Sullivan's music. Sir William Gilbert died in 1911 and so only after 1 January 1962 could his words of the operas be used for other purposes – which resulted in The Cool Mikado.