(1949) is a setting of a most unusual poem by Charles Lamb (1775–1834) from his collection Rosamund Gray
(1859). The author was notoriously unmusical himself, amusingly so, and a setting of his words is an extreme rarity. To fully savour the piquancy of this anguished misanthropy readers should acquaint themselves with Lamb’s far more famous prose style and his Essays of Elia
. Cecil Armstrong Gibbs turns this outburst of spleen into a virtuoso patter song and a musical scherzo. It reminds us that pessimism and black humour are English qualities too, and not only the province of the Scandinavians and Russians.
from notes by Graham Johnson © 2012