Selected Reviews of Recordings of Works by Armstrong Gibbs

Complete Works for Violin and Piano – Robert Atchison, violin, Olga Dudnik, piano. Guild 

Atchison and Dudnik seem most sympathetic to the composer’s combination of straightforward simplicity and harmonic subtlety; Atchison produces an insinuating tone from his instrument that allows the duo to communicate the delicacy of Gibbs’s musical sensibility. Strongly recommended for its sympathetic performances, its lively (clean yet reverberant) recorded sound, and its richly poetic musical language.   – Robert Maxham, Fanfare Magazine

 A treasure trove for those who enjoy the lyrical English pastoral tradition. There are moments of considerable musical power and conviction. The Sonata in E is without a doubt a work that deserves to be heard and I hope that with the creation of a performing edition it will now be published so that other violinists can add it to their repertoire. – Nick Barnard, MusicWeb International

It’s very pleasant, very assured music, beautifully written for the two instruments, which should appeal to all lovers of English music in the general vein of John Ireland, Roger Quilter or the early Frank Bridge. Atchison and Dudnik are first-rate advocates for these unfailingly pleasant works. Atchison has a constantly beautiful tone which is ideally matched to Gibbs’s melodic inspiration. Calum MacDonald, International Record Review. – Dale and Fell – Guildhall Strings. Hyperion

A quiet mastery of the medium that brings constant pleasure, nicely performed and recorded. – BBC Music Magazine.

Outstanding playing. – Classic FM Magazine.

Songs by Armstrong Gibbs – Geraldine McGreevy, Stephen Varcoe, Roger Vignoles. Hyperion

It becomes clear that Gibbs is yet another English composer whose music is inexplicably forgotten today. If you like Vaughan Williams, Bax and other contemporary composers you will enjoy this recording. Since Gibbs wrote over 160 songs, we can only hope to have more of them recorded in the future. – T. Smith

Janet Baker – English Song Anthology. Regis

It catches Janet Baker at her glorious best singing some of the finest English songs in the repertoire. They are performed with such beautiful and sensitive phrasing as you would expect from Janet Baker, and this album is a must have. – Dick Smoker

Complete Piano Trios – London Piano Trio. Altamira

Fantastic! This was a real shock in terms of surprise. I had no idea that these pieces are so wonderful, and the playing is world class. Bring on more Gibbs, please. – John Alexander

Symphonies 1 and 3 – Ireland National Symphony Orchestra. Marco Polo

This recording of Gibbs’s orchestral pieces is very much worth investigating. The masterpiece is undoubtedly the Third. This is impassioned Nature music and linked to specific Westmorland locations. The performances are excellent. – Fred Beake.

I believe that these two symphonies place Gibbs firmly in British symphonic history. This recording pairs these two works beautifully. Highly recommended for their power and beauty. – Christian Musiclover65.

English Fantasy – Peter Cigleris, clarinet, Antony Gray, piano. Gala

Fresh and impressively pleasing…mixes the usual and unusual to good effect. – Rob Barnett, Musicweb International

This pairing is not lacking, and they bring nuance and insight to bear, as well as fine tone and ensemble. – Jonathan Woolf, Musicweb International

English String Miniatures –Royal Ballet Sinfonia, David Lloyd-Jones. Naxos

Most of the music on this disc was unfamiliar to me, but it was a delight to listen to. Most of it is either akin to dance music or plaintive pastorals, and it is all performed to perfection. – J.R.Tertek

This volume exceeded my expectations. The selections may be classified as miniatures but they are all full of delightful melodies and wonderful invention. – John O’Neill.

British Light Music Miniatures – RTE Concert Orchestra, Ernest Tomlinson. Marco Polo

Excellent selection of Light Music by British composers. Well played by the RTE Concert Orchestra under the superb direction of the conductor Ernest Tomlinson. 62 minutes of bliss. – Norman Castleton.

Anything with E Tomlinson on board is worth considering and again he is at his supreme best. – Walkers Pre.

British Light Music Classics – New London Orchestra, Ronald Corp. Hyperion

Fabulous collection of some old time favourites. – GPL.

A superb collection of lovely music beautifully played and recorded. – Alan Clark.

The Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra. Vocation

Great compilation containing many long-forgotten tracks. Highly recommended. – Marcus Brierley

Cecil Armstrong Gibbs – Songs. Nik Hancock-Child, baritone, Rosemary Hancock-Child, piano. Marco Polo

Nik Hancock-Child is one of the great ‘undiscovered’ voices of the 20th-century.
In this superb anthology of Armstrong Gibbs songs he displays his artistry via many subtle vocal shadings ranging from the ‘whisper’ (but with full tonal centre) to the grandiose. His exquisite diction is a model to be admired and emulated. With an amazing feeling for intonation and dynamics, Nik and his fantastic accompanist Rosemary have given us a wonderful and memorable CD of unjustly neglected songs by a ‘minor master’. – Anthony

English Song, various artists. Naxos

This CD is excellent for both listening and inspiration. I am an accompanist and my soloist and I find these CD’s very useful in our own interpretation. – A Barnard

My Own Country – Harry Sever, soprano, Robert Bottone, piano. Herald

What a lovely recording. This kid can sing it all! Harry Sever, a boy soprano at the time (2005), sings these songs as if born to do so. This young man’s artistry shines through. Robert Bottone at the piano is well-nigh perfect. It is evident that he has accompanied Sever on several occasions, because he anticipates and caresses everything the boy does. This recital is a true partnership as the piano is just as important as the voice in these songs. Bottone’s light and agile touch thrilled me. It is rare these days to find performances of art songs on record (and at one time they were so plentiful), but to find one of such quality is certainly special. – Steven Keller.  

Ca’ The Yowes – A Collection of 20th century part songs, The Gentlemen of St John’s. Etcetera

The well-honed voices of the Gents take on a collection of 20th century part songs and deliver a treat. – K.M.Long

A Marian Christmas – St Martin’s Chamber Choir. Cygnus

Christmas and choral music fans – this is one not to miss. St. Martin’s Chamber Choir is one of the finest American ensembles you’ll hear on recordings. –

St Martin’s Chamber Choir is a marvel in itself…delicately balanced and blended in a soothing radiance. A simply marvellous program of un-hackneyed music, fresh and resting in the ears with great beauty. – American Record Guide

Favourite English Songs – Felicity Lott, soprano, Graham Johnson, piano. Chandos

 Lott’s singing is elegant and distinguished particularly by superb diction. The playing of her accompanist, Graham Johnston, is excellent. – R. Albin

Not very familiar with English Songs, I discovered this little treasure on Amazon. It’s a great pity that British composers are not more known outside the UK. Superb tunes combined with great poems sensually performed by Felicity Lott. D. – Kessler Sonnenmoser

The Complete English Hymnal vol 10 – Choir of Truro Cathedral. Priory

Lovers of English hymnody will be forever in debt to Priory for the magnificent achievement of the recording of the complete New English Hymnal. It was a huge project for them to take on and it is testimony to their commitment and tenacity that it has been completed. The series runs to 23 volumes, recorded (for the most part) by a range of Cathedral and Oxbridge College choirs. The standard of both performance and recording is uniformly high.  – Bruce

The Golden Age of Light Music : The 1930’s Revisited – vol 3.

Another treasure chest of instrumental music. As always, Guild’s re-mastering and packaging is absolutely first class. – GH