Leader, Norris Stanley
Conductor, Johan Hock
Judith de Leeuw (pianoforte)
There can be little doubt that Handel's Concert! Grossi were written chiefly as piéces-d'occasion, and were often performed with great success in the Gardens of Vauxhall and Ranelagh. Handel was, of course, a frequent visitor to the Gardens, and an honoured one. One recalls all this because, if such an imposing title as Concerto Grosso did not appal the very mixed audiences at Vauxhall, it need not appal any listener tonight. As a matter of fact, these ' Grand Concertos' are extremely robust, jolly things, and far more free and unlicensed in form than was the kind ci work which presently took their place - the symphony.
Armstrong Gibbs has shown himself to be a composer of rare poetic sensitiveness and a highly skilled and polished craftsman. In addition to operas and chamber music, he has written innumerable songs, all of which are extremely delicate in conception. It is significant that he has been one of the few composers "who has set with success the frail and fragrant little lyrics of Walter de la Mare, of which the ' Peacock Pie ' Suite is a particularly beautiful example.
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