Sir Alexander Gibson (1926-95) was a versatile conductor – opera, symphonic music, core repertoire, numerous premieres – and he left a sizeable discography. He never came my way in person – no interview, no chance meeting at a function – but when he comes up in conversation he is invariably remembered as much-admired and very likeable. I attended only one Gibson concert, with the Scottish National Orchestra in London’s Royal Festival Hall, early-eighties I guess, which included a very impressive Elgar Second Symphony. On Radio 3, live from the Edinburgh Festival, a few years later, there was a simply electrifying performance of Britten’s Sinfonia da Requiem.
Let’s start with his never-bettered recording (not even by himself, for Chandos) of Malcolm Arnold’s Tam O’Shanter Overture (1959/Decca with the New Symphony Orchestra of London):
And it’s a similar story with Hamish MacCunn’s The Land of the Mountain and the Flood (now Warner Classics):
Gibson was a noted Sibelian, plenty of recordings, including this Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Symphony No.1 for Collins Classics, the beginning of a complete cycle (not Gibson’s first) that he didn’t live to complete:
Or this Sibelius 3 from 1965, SNO, recorded by Waverley and issued by Saga, new to me just now, and excellent:
Anyway, that’s enough for now. I recall a fine Gibson Vaughan Williams 5 (RPO for EMI/now Warner) and he conducted the first of John Lill’s Beethoven Piano Concerto cycles, Classics for Pleasure, a set I keep by me.