Movement 1: The Huntsmen: Allegro
Movement 2: The Sunken Garden: Tranquillo ma non troppo lento
Movement 3: The Ride-by-Nights: Con brio
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