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Track(s) taken from CDA67316

Peacock Pie 'Suite for string orchestra and piano'

composer

Martin Roscoe (piano), Guildhall Strings, Robert Salter (conductor)
Recording details: July 2001
Henry Wood Hall, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Andrew Keener
Engineered by Simon Eadon
Release date: March 2002
Total duration: 9 minutes 45 seconds
 
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Reviews

'Altogether this is a wholly delectable disc of spirited miniature concertos where the composers are never let down by paucity of invention. Performances are lighthearted and polished, and beautifully recorded. Most rewarding and entertaining' (Gramophone)

'Roscoe and the Guildhall Strings have put together an attractive collection here' (American Record Guide)

'Martin Roscoe's playing is sparklingly sympathetic, as are the accompaniments from the Guildhall Strings. This is music which you are seldom likely to encounter in the concert hall, but is ideally suited to revival on disc' (International Record Review)

'I have to be honest: of all recent CDs from our 'land without music', this has been spinning on my player the most' (The Times)

'Martin Roscoe and the Guildhall Strings approach these light-as-a-feather gems with sincerity and assurance. Their playing is impeccable and agile … those of you who have developed a taste for the ongoing light music series on Hyperion … will find this release a required purchase … this is a truly delightful, genial compilation of attractive and shamefully neglected English early-to-mid-20th-century light music for piano and string orchestra … I enjoyed this album immensely' (Fanfare, USA)

'Bravo to all' (International Piano)

'Martin Roscoe and his colleagues obviously enjoy themselves enormously, and their readings of these attractive works are beautifully recorded … this delightful release is a joy from first to last, and is unreservedly recommended' (MusicWeb International)

'Martin Roscoe … is the sparking soloist in this enchanting disc' (Yorkshire Post)
So many British composers from the earlier part of the twentieth century have found the simple children’s verse of Walter de la Mare an inspiration for music, notably in the period immediately after the nightmare of 1914/18. De la Mare’s archetypal collection, Peacock Pie: a book of rhymes, from which Gibbs takes his title, first appeared in 1913. Each of the three movements of Gibbs’s work takes its title and mood from the de la Mare poem standing at the head of the music. Thus the first movement, ‘The Huntsmen’:

Three jolly gentlemen,
In coats of red,
Rode their horses
Up to bed.

The contrast from the brilliance of ‘The Huntsmen’ to ‘The Sunken Garden’ is achieved by using muted strings throughout, with a pianissimo piano part consisting almost entirely of a soft low E in the left hand playing across the bar.

Speak not – whisper not;
Here bloweth thyme and bergamot

This time the words come from de la Mare’s 1918 collection, Motley and Other Poems.

For the third movement ‘The Ride-by-Nights’ we are back with Peacock Pie in Gibbs’s favourite galloping 6/8 time.

Up on their brooms their Witches stream,
Crooked and black in the crescent’s gleam;
One foot high, and one foot low,
Bearded, cloaked, and cowled, they go.

There is, however, nothing spooky or fearsome about these witches; they are strictly of the nursery, and a nursery remembered through nostalgic adult eyes.

from notes by Lewis Foreman 2002

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