On 7th September 2019 Duncan Honeybourne gave a piano recital in St Endellion Church in Cornwall as part of the ‘Endellienta Arts and Music Festival’. He is an international pianist and a writer and lecturer in music. His programme was a varied one and included two works by Cecil Armstrong Gibbs, ‘An Essex Rhapsody’, Op. 36 (1921), an exuberant piece written by Gibbs when he was in his early thirties, followed by ‘Ballade in D flat’, written in November 1940 when he was living in the Lake District, and is much more sombre.
As Trustees of the Armstrong Gibbs Society, my sister Jane Hill and I were thrilled to hear these pieces for the very first time. This had come about because Angela Aries, former Secretary of AGS, had passed a printed copy of Essex Rhapsody to Duncan Honeybourne at the North Yorkshire English Music Festival last year. He is much taken with Gibbs’ work and intends to play more in the future. Indeed he played Ballade in D flat at this year’s English Music Festival at Aysgarth in the Yorkshire Dales, September 27th to 29th 2019.