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Music by Armstrong Gibbs (1889-1960)

Music by Armstrong Gibbs (1889-1960)

Item No. GMCD 7353

Price GBP 8.50 / USD

Units  
Medium: CD 
Release Date: 15.11.2010

This is the first recording of the complete works for violin and piano. Robert Atchison is somewhat of an authourity on the music of Gibbs and is artistic director of the Gibbs Music Festival. Armstrong Gibbs is still ‘Little Known’ but he was a prolific English Composer and Conductor, who studied under Sir Adrian Boult and Ralph Vaughan Williams. He was a contemporary of Herbert Howells and Sir Arnold Bax. Gibbs was a versatile musician whose output included part songs, larger choral works, chamber music and three symphonies. Much of his chamber music remains unpublished and the few recordings that are available give scant exposure to his compositions. Some of the well-known Gibbs settings date from the early years of his career; for example Nod, Silver, Five Eyes and A Song of Shadows, all poems by Walter de la Mare with whom he had a close artistic association. Songs from the children's play Crossings, written by de la Mare, mark the beginning of his career as a composer. Solo songs from this period include The Fields are Full, The Tiger-Lily, Mistletoe, The Sleeping Beauty and By a Bier-Side. From the thirties and forties, when Gibbs was at his most prolific, stem The Ballad of Semmerwater, A Ballad Maker, Why do I love, The Witch, Before Sleeping, and Hypochondriacus. Songs dating from the last decade of Gibbs' life are; The Oxen, Three Lyrics ( by Christina Rossetti ), Lament for Robin Hood and Gipsies. Gibbs made his name by writing for the stage. After Crossings came the incidental music for a production of Webster's The White Devil, in Cambridge. This was quickly followed by the music for Maeterlinck's play The Betrothal, in 1921 and concurrently the Cambridge Greek play the Oresteia. Shortly afterwards he wrote the music for A.P, Herbert's comic opera The Blue Peter and for Clifford Bax's successful harlequinade Midsummer Madness. Gibbs always wanted to write a successful comic operetta and was bitterly disappointed, in the fifties, when the BBC rejected Mr Cornelius. Armstrong Gibbs' long association with the Festivals Movement led him to write part songs and larger choral works, many of them to commission. Among the unaccompanied part songs performed by his own choral society were; Come Sleep, Andy Battle, Keith of Ravelston, The Pleasures of Love, Before Sleeping and Five Elizabethan Lyrics. Larger accompanied choral works include La Belle Dame Sans Merci and The Highwayman, for a chorus of mixed voices, and the cantatas for soli and mixed chorus, The Birth of Christ and Deborak and Barak. Collaboration on the latter with the Essex poet Mordaunt Currie may have led to the composition of Odysseus, Gibbs' choral symphony for soli, mixed chorus and orchestra. Much of Gibbs' early music was written for string quartet with piano or other instruments. Often this combination was used as an accompaniment for his songs. Gibbs' fluent writing for strings gained him the second prize in the Daily Telegraph Competition in 1934 ( String Quartet in A Major ). It also resulted in the popular Dusk - the slow waltz from his suite Fancy Dress, written for orchestra and piano. In the thirties too, he wrote Almayne, based on a 17th century air and A Spring Garland, a collection of musical pictures of flowers. A commission from the Westmorland Orchestra, in the early fifties, produced the reflective Dale and Fell suite. On the death of Walter de la Mare in 1956 Gibbs wrote the poignant Threnody for string quartet and string orchestra. Other instrumental music included pieces for violin, cello and clarinet and an oboe concerto dedicated to Leon Goossens. Apart from the larger sacred choral works, Gibbs wrote a number of hymn tunes and carols, notably, Danbury, Lingwood, The Stable Door, Oxen Cribbed in Barn and Byre and While the Shepherds were Watching. There were also anthems and settings of canticles. His output for organ was small, but there are a number of significant piano works, for example the suite In the High Alps, dating from 1924, and the eight preludes from 1940, entitled Lakeland Pictures. He died in Chelmsford on 12th May 1960 and is buried with his wife in Danbury churchyard.


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Tracklist and soundclips:
Title Composer Artist Time Play
01 Three Pieces - I. Gossamer Armstrong Gibbs (1889-1960) Robert Atchison (violin), Olga Dudnik (piano) 2:13
02 Three Pieces - II. March Wind Armstrong Gibbs (1889-1960) Robert Atchison (violin), Olga Dudnik (piano) 2:39
03 Three Pieces - III. The Silent Pool Armstrong Gibbs (1889-1960) Robert Atchison (violin), Olga Dudnik (piano) 3:17
04 Lyric Sonata, Op.63 - I. Easy flowing Armstrong Gibbs (1889-1960) Robert Atchison (violin), Olga Dudnik (piano) 8:49
05 Lyric Sonata, Op.63 - II. Molto andante quasi lento Armstrong Gibbs (1889-1960) Robert Atchison (violin), Olga Dudnik (piano) 4:17
06 Lyric Sonata, Op.63 - III. Vivace con brio Armstrong Gibbs (1889-1960) Robert Atchison (violin), Olga Dudnik (piano) 5:40
07 Phantasy, Op.5 - Allegro molto Armstrong Gibbs (1889-1960) Robert Atchison (violin), Olga Dudnik (piano) 8:08
08 Sonata No.1 in E - I. Allegro moderato Armstrong Gibbs (1889-1960) Robert Atchison (violin), Olga Dudnik (piano) 8:32
09 Sonata No.1 in E - II. Andante molto espressivo Armstrong Gibbs (1889-1960) Robert Atchison (violin), Olga Dudnik (piano) 5:53
10 Sonata No.1 in E - III. Allegro commodo Armstrong Gibbs (1889-1960) Robert Atchison (violin), Olga Dudnik (piano) 3:33
11 Almayne – Slow and broad Armstrong Gibbs (1889-1960) Robert Atchison (violin), Olga Dudnik (piano) 5:27
12 Suite, Op.101 - I. Prelude Armstrong Gibbs (1889-1960) Robert Atchison (violin), Olga Dudnik (piano) 2:42
13 Suite, Op.101 - II. Rigadoon Armstrong Gibbs (1889-1960) Robert Atchison (violin), Olga Dudnik (piano) 2:21
14 Suite, Op.101 - III. Slow tune Armstrong Gibbs (1889-1960) Robert Atchison (violin), Olga Dudnik (piano) 4:07
15 Suite, Op.101 - IV. Carol Armstrong Gibbs (1889-1960) Robert Atchison (violin), Olga Dudnik (piano) 2:47
16 Suite, Op.101 - V. Coranto Armstrong Gibbs (1889-1960) Robert Atchison (violin), Olga Dudnik (piano) 1:43
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