Thursday, 26 June 2014

Dusk by Armstrong Gibbs

It's all new music for the exam candidates, and all of them, without exception seem to be excited about the prospect of repertoire which is brand new!

I actually gave one of my favourite songs to J on Monday. A gorgeous song by Cecil Armstrong Gibbs called Dusk. I hear it a good deal in festivals and have not taught it for years. I said to J how it puzzles me that I have never taught it for maybe 20 years, I simply keep forgetting to seek it out when I am looking for songs ! It is quite delightful and like much of Armstrong Gibbs's song music it has faint feelings of magic and fantasy. He seemed to be a paint pictures of gossamer landscapes or Shakespearean settings in such a way that if you close your eyes a water colour painting magically appears.

'Dusk' has the most beautiful octave leaps in the opening bars and the piano plays creamy harmonies underneath, much in the way the octave leap in You Spotted Snakes also seems to give other worldly feel.

A moment ago I tried to find a youtube performance of the song and found, to my surprise and delight that it was originally an orchestral waltz before he arranged it as a solo song. I listened to the piece, which is longer than the vocal version, watching the pictures of sunsets and thought even more strongly how it has a mystical feel. See I don't know everything, and never will !

One only has to look at a list of many of the titles of songs written by AG to see how his choices of poems all veer towards the fantasy and visions of another world. I think I would have liked the man.

The Song of the Shadows

In the Highlands


The Splendour Falls

To One who Passed Whistling Through the Night



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