My beloved Fiona and I had a glorious day out under a (mostly) blue sky exploring the compact and attractive Staffordshire city of Lichfield. At the birthplace museum of perhaps the city’s most famous son - the writer, poet, playwright, biographer and lexicographer Dr. Samuel Johnson – It occurred to me that this literary giant and leading figure of the 18th century exhibited remarkably similar attributes to our principal motivation for visiting Lichfield. Like the good doctor, Gordon Giltrap is a prolific giant in his field, has influenced myriad gatherings, and his circle of friends and acquaintances include some of the greats of the musical firmament.
It was a repeat visit to the magnificent wood paneled Guildhall and it was a joy to be attending a live gig again now that the measures to regulate the ghastly endemic pestilence of Covid have been eased. Although Gordon has been devoting himself to passing on his talents and knowledge by teaching, I am pleased to announce that the two-year hiatus to personal performances has not dulled his musical skills or his presentation.
There were fewer guitars in evidence on stage, but the instruments present were put to worthy use. The set list included old established tunes like Maddie goes West: Isabella’s Wedding: The Lord’s Seat: On Camber Sands and Sallie’s Song; and interspersed them with more recent pieces: Sadie in May, Shining Morn and Loren; and introduced recent additions: Po Faced Tilley and Kissing Gate.
The Giltrap signature, Heartsong, was performed unexpectedly early in proceedings and I was most surprised when G bravely asked for requests – resulting in a little voice behind us asking for Rainbow Kites, which was delivered faultlessly.
A notable pleasure was the premier of a delightful brand new composition entitled Silent Sky. Performed without announcement – the inspiration for the work and the story behind the title remains an enigma.
Though he had vowed not to play the piece again, the presence of an electric guitar on its stand presaged an impeccable recording of the Dodo’s Dream. Stressful to play, this popular tune demonstrates the Giltrap mastery so well.
Gordon Giltrap is a naturally humble and self-effacing fellow, and his modesty, combined with the very high musical standards he sets for himself, occasionally elicits an unjustified apology if he feels he has not reached this target. As Fiona remarked to me on one such occasion – there must be many guitarists who aspire to play as badly as Mr. Giltrap.
We will have fewer opportunities to witness it live in the future, but Gordon Giltrap’s spark of genius is still there – the flame that is his passion and enthusiasm for his music is as incandescent as ever. Long may it continue with the important work of passing on his legacy through teaching.
Posts on this board should be directly about Gordon's concerts. Comments, reviews or questions relating to Gordon's concerts are welcome here.
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