The rest of the track titles refer to Blake's individual works. Instead of containing notable highlights, the whole album is very enjoyable -- if it meets the listener's taste in the first place, of course. It may sound a bit too lame to many progheads. As Kev Rowland says, it serves well as a good night's music.
One might also think of the most classical guitar oriented pieces of SKY. Thinking of that, I'm tempted to imagine what if there was a good vocalist too and the album wasn't entirely instrumental. But that's useless speculation: it could be more dynamic, or the songs could feel unattached. The Esoteric Recordings' reissue from has plenty of valuable bonus tracks previously unreleased: the three- movement 'Concerto' is an acoustic guitar solo work in a classical style.
It contains old instruments like rebec, viol and crumhorn that are not heard on the album, which makes it very interesting. These bonuses stretch the CD's length to nearly 63 minutes. This is exactly what I am always on the lookout for: instrumental, progressives, symphonic, folky rock.
I never heard of Gordon Giltrap before, except the occasional namedropping. But this one really caught me by suprise. It reminds me of Mike Oldfield, Camel, Caravan, Sky, and even John Miles, but that's not a surprise, because the musicians have all connections to said artists.
The drumming is really heavy on this album, and maybe this is Simon's best drumming, I have heard. Gordon is guitarist but doesn't overdo it, wich is a great thing. Hey plays mostly acoustic, folky stuff over the heavy music. Wich gives it a folky, pastoral atmosphere. When Gordon has a chance to play solos acoustic he really shines.
The guestmusicians add strings and horns to the music, wich is put to good use. As said, the music is fully instrumental, but because the melodies and compositions are never dull or too repetitive the album is constantly interesting. In the world of progressive music, I can honestly say, that this album is rather unique, because of it's focus on acoustic guitar, accompanied by a rock-backing band.
As others have mentioned, the songs are inspired by paintings, drawings and poems of English painter, poet and mystic William Blake The tracks are short 11 tracks in 31 minutes , but each has a memorable theme and they don't overstay their welcome.
Most compositions feature the technique of gradually adding more instruments, which probably brought comparisons to Mike Oldfield in addition to the fact that both Gordon and Mike are primarily guitarists known for their multi-instrumental compositions. Giltrap himself plays six and twelve string guitars, both acoustic and electric. Rod Edwards, one of the album's producers, plays keyboards and helped with the arrangements. John G. Perry, who recorded one album with both of Caravan and Curved Air, handles the bass.
The core lineup is completed by prolific session drummer Simon Phillips, then only seventeen years old. These four musicians comprise the core band that recorded the next two albums in Giltrap's prog trilogy, as well. The orchestral accompaniment is provided by several brass and string players. The album's genre is somewhat difficult to classify. Giltrap started out as a folk guitarist, and he is backed by a standard rock band, but almost all songs feature orchestration.
The songs started out as acoustic guitar compositions and were subsequently arranged for rock band and orchestra. Some pieces have a Renaissance feel. The album starts with what sounds like a click track or metronomic drum beat As I had read some reviews here, you can imagine my anticipation, thinking of all the instruments to be added on this blank slate.
As soon as the intricate guitar fades in, I knew I was listening to something special. Instruments are soon layered on: synths, strings, bass, swirling Minimoog and drums. Born in Kent in , Giltrap grew up in the South East London district of Deptford, where he began playing guitar at the age of Developing his own distinctive playing style without ever receiving any formal training, he played in local rock bands in his early teens and eventually gravitated toward the mid-'60s London folk scene alongside John Renbourn, John Martyn, and Bert Jansch.
In , at the age of 18, Giltrap signed a deal with Transatlantic Records and released his self-titled debut two years later. A mix of inventive instrumental pieces and vocal songs with experimental and psych flourishes, it was followed in by the similarly minded Portrait, Giltrap's second and last release for Transatlantic.
In the spring of that year, he joined famed U. Although he wrote several songs and played lead guitar for the project, Giltrap left Accolade in following the release of their first album. After another brief one-off tenure on the Philips label for 's Giltrap, he landed on a new approach that focused more intensely on instrumental compositions and leaned toward orchestrally arranged prog rock.
Released in , Visionary was based on the art and poetry of William Blake and marked Giltrap's first release in this new mode. A chart success reaching number 29 on the U. One, "Ive's Horizon", first appeared on Giltrap's very first album which was released in This version with overdubbing tries to replicate the feeling given during live performances of the piece. In Giltrap, reflecting upon the work he had done since Elegy , decided to change tack and produce a completely different type of album.
To this end, he teamed up with Oliver Wakeman , one of Rick's sons, who had recently departed from the band Yes. The pair of them produced together the prog rock album Ravens and Lullabies , which was released the following year.
Giltrap decided that this collaboration was to involve both their writing skills. Wakeman arranged Esoteric as the record label, found recording studios and located a suitable vocalist in the form of Paul Manzi. This album reacquainted Giltrap with the electric guitar. Despite on many previous occasions revealing considerable skills with this instrument, he still lacked faith in his own abilities. However, the results he achieved even surprised himself. The track "From the Turn of a Card" featured the vocals of Benoit David with whom Wakeman had worked during his time with the band Yes.
The album was well received and sold well. The album was supported by a tour complete with a full band. Giltrap felt uncomfortable attempting to play all the necessary guitar parts himself which would have involved frequent changes of instrument. For this reason, they drafted in guitarist Nick Kendall.
Giltrap also undertook a tour with Oliver Wakeman at this time with both artists showcasing their own material. They were recruited to support Barclay James Harvest on their tour. Alongside his performances with the Ravens band, during Giltrap continued to tour with his Four Parts Guitar ensemble. These gigs were well attended and Giltrap found them very uplifting. He was getting uncomfortable gastric symptoms and these turned out to be very serious when, in June , he was diagnosed with having a GIST or gastrointestinal stromal tumor.
Surgery took place on 6 May and was considerably more invasive than they had hoped it would be. After surgery, which was to prove to be twice as long as expected, Giltrap was very weak and there initially was concern for his future.
However, he gradually regained his strength, returning home just a fortnight later. A period of convalescence followed and gradually, despite occasional setbacks, he recovered. During this time, Giltrap had been working on his next album. One of Giltrap's main targets on this album was to finally do justice to his "Brotherhood Suite". Giltrap recorded all his contributions at home and, once completed, sent them to Ward to add keyboards and arrange the pieces.
They were both delighted with the resultant pieces, and Giltrap believed them to be amongst the best work he had ever produced. The album was released in to critical acclaim. Critics admired it greatly and also singled out "Ania's Dream" and "The Anna Fantasia" as representing some of Giltrap's best work of the last twenty years.
Whilst Giltrap continued gigging he also began to run workshops teaching his guitar pieces to groups of students. These events have proved popular and have became regular, most, recently, taking place at a large scout hall near his home in Sutton Coldfield. Events are publicised and sold through his website. Giltrap is a member of the Registry of Guitar Tutors, and has long been passionate about sharing guitar techniques with his students. I have taught in schools, conducted guitar workshops, written columns for various guitar publications, and as already mentioned, have a strong association with the RGT.
I was asked to be a patron quite a few years ago. They are bringing out a book of my pieces under the umbrella of The London College of Music. The title itself just makes me smile. On 31 January Giltrap learnt the devastating news that Jamie, his son, had passed away suddenly after a short illness. He was not considered to be in danger and so this was very unexpected news. He was well respected and according to one source:.
Thousands traveled from all over the UK to queue for hours to get in. For those who had pleasure to know him or go to one of his sets, it was always a good night.
In order to help overcome his grief, Giltrap threw himself into other projects. One most dear to his own heart was an album he was working on at the time of Jamie's passing.
It had been conceived to help to raise funds for Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham where Giltrap himself had been treated. This was his way of saying thank you for the wonderful treatment he had received at the hospital and to the many friends he had made there. Entitled Heartsongs , the album, a revised release of Shining Morn , included his all-star version of "Heartsong". The album is available for purchase only through the hospital charity and all proceeds are diverted towards cancer research.
The album is dedicated to Jamie's memory. Another project which came to fruition around the time of Jamie's passing was the publication of Giltrap's authorised biography by Steve Pilkington. The book was published on 5 October and is dedicated to Jamie's memory. During his years in the music business Giltrap has worked with many well-known names and has also attracted admiration from other celebrities one such being Pete Townshend of The Who.
Giltrap has always cited Townshend as being a strong influence on his guitar playing. In a interview he stated:. He really is a towering genius within the annals of rock music and for me The Who were and still are the greatest rock band EVER. I had the great pleasure of meeting Pete for the first time in and a more gracious and generous man you couldn't wish to be with.
When I was going through serious health problems, he gifted me one of his Gibson J signature guitars, and we hadn't even met at that time. Brian May did a similar thing to help raise my spirits. I shall never forget both those acts of kindness. To his delight, Giltrap and Townshend finally met at a Who concert in Birmingham's Barclaycard Arena in and, subsequently he was delighted to be asked to play on a Who album Townshend was working on.
The piece he was asked to contribute to was entitled "She Rocked My World", and Giltrap travelled to Townshend's home to record it. In recent years, Giltrap has continued touring the country playing smaller, more intimate venues occasionally supported by Nick Hooper or Carrie Martin.
The COVID pandemic of has limited all artists' abilities to perform but, according to his website, Giltrap has remained creative during this period of restriction. No longer having to concentrate on his performances, he has been busy composing pieces for a new album, again with Paul Ward but also using other musicians such as Ian Mosley and Rod Edwards. On 31 January Giltrap released the album Woman.
This was inspired by the many women who had influenced Giltrap during his life, particularly his wife, Hilary. It is her photograph which graces the album's cover. Many of the tracks were commissions from husbands dedicated to their wives.
Giltrap married his first wife Maureen in June and they had two children, Jamie The couple divorced in Music Search. Gordon Giltrap born 6 April, in Brenchley, Kent is a renowned English acoustic and electric guitarist and composer, whose musical styles cross multiple genres, including folk, blues, folk rock, pop, classical and rock.
Giltrap has released 25 original studio albums, plus numerous live albums and compilations. Over the years, Giltrap has worked with an amazingly broad range of artists, from rock musicians - including Brian May, Rick Wakeman and Midge Ure to the jazz virtuoso Martin Taylor, the classical guitarist Raymond Burley and the London Symphony Orchestra.
Giltrap has developed a unique guitar playing technique, teaching himself a hybrid technique of plectrum and little finger, in doing so creating the individual sound that is his trademark. The son of a labourer, he grew up in an austere but protective community of terraced houses in Deptford, south-east London.
His obsession with stringed instruments began nine years later, when a friend turned up at the house with an out-of-tune Spanish guitar.
Keen to encourage his new hobby, his parents bought him a plastic ukulele with a picture of Elvis on the headstock, then a Martin Coletti archtop jazz guitar with a sunburst finish and a brown canvas case.
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