Quest - a quick summer poll

This is the place to post items relating to Gordon and his music in a general sense, such as his influences, how he composes, which pieces you enjoy most and why etc.

Moderator: GORDON

What is your favourite version of Quest?

a) Original version from Perilous Journey
5
45%
b) Orchestral version (present on the new edition of Perilous Journey)
2
18%
c) Live version with Shirley Roden (from Live at Oxford)
2
18%
d) Interwoven in The Eye of the Wind rapsody - orchestral version
2
18%
 
Total votes: 11

Johnty8
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Re: Quest - a quick summer poll

Postby Johnty8 » Thu Oct 29, 2015 2:49 pm

This topic seems to have legs and that is possibly because so many people have different views and preferences about music.
I genuinely believe that all styles of music have the capacity to register with large numbers of people and also that many artists decide to remain within their comfort zone and as a consequence miss opportunities when they present to them.

I am certain that Robert Frost's ... 'The Road Not Taken'... is a commentary for us all and that these choices occur more frequently than we think.

I have no particular knowledge of whatever choices may have been available in this case or at any period since passed but we are where we are pretty much as a result of our own decisions.

Without mentioning names one of this country's most significant musicians was given the opportunity in the late 1960/70s to work for a major television broadcaster as a musical director; the opportunity was rejected. How ironic then that 35 yrs later his son told me that his father was annoyed that the most significant jazz label in the world, to whom he was signed, had done nothing to promote him.

Promotion is so much easier when the artist has a wide public profile and just sometimes musicians need to remember that there is a wider public out there that it is important to appeal to if you require their recognition.

Musicians should take every opportunity to step outside the bubble.


Best

John
Last edited by Johnty8 on Fri Oct 30, 2015 11:51 am, edited 1 time in total.

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GORDON
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Re: Quest - a quick summer poll

Postby GORDON » Thu Oct 29, 2015 10:45 pm

steve wrote:
GORDON wrote:From a personal point of view and please don't think this sounds churlish but when I DO get round to listening to archive recordings it reminds me of what my career should have and could have been today if the right combination and chemistry and people were around me at that time to really push all aspects of my music forward.

Yes, of course there were many well meaning people around but sadly that chemistry of personalities and caring...truly caring wasn't there..

Like every thing in life it is a matter of luck, timing and being in the right place. Circumstances plays a huge part in whether an artists breaks into universal big time or not.

Sadly it wasn't meant for me BUT look what I gained along the way...Hilary,a wonderful family and wonderful friends like you who care enough to want to take out precious time to write your thoughts about this Troubadour on this Forum.For that I thank you.

Check out the music of the great Finzi when you get a chance. His romance will I guarantee bring tears to your eyes.

Be well.

G.


I've had some pretty serious discussion about this with other Gordon aficionados over the years. We often mention the fact that Fear Of The Dark dented the UK Top 40 and the 12" single version (I have the picture disc - remember THAT, Gordon?!) even dared to flirt with disco, which was a prevalent force in current music of the day. There was almost an expectation of bigger things to come from a commercial point of view. But, notwithstanding Gordon's own recollection of the period and reasons only he knows as to why maybe some things didn't pan out quite as they might have done, you have to also look at wider trends of the day.

Just around the corner we entered the 1980's. This was a strange decade for music in general. The synth craze influenced production styles as did digital recording, the advent of MIDI keyboards, the fad for gated drums etc, all contributing to a new style of music, which if we're all totally honest, hasn't aged at all well.

Now, let's look at Gordon's music. What did he deliver? The Peacock Party. I'll be completely honest here and say that I for one was disappointed with it, at least to begin with. It seemed as though the prog rock material had been side-lined (temporarily?) in favour of more jazzy and folky material. I also just didn't get the humour of the record. For pete's sake, the book it is inspired by was a children's book. What was I expecting? The album sleeve alone should have been enough of a clue but in my 13 year old wisdom I couldn't grasp it. When Airwaves came out I was only partially relieved. It didn't grab my attention as the earlier trilogy had done. Following this Gordon started making the solo acoustic albums.

The truth is that Gordon's earlier music didn't fit into the music scene of the 80's. There wasn't much market for it due to the changing times. The commercial pop market is a very fickle animal indeed. Not much 70's music transcended the move to "modern" music of the period. In hindsight from a strictly artistic viewpoint, I think Gordon got it right! The late 80's / early 90's saw a revival of interest in guitar based music and there was a concerted effort to get back to basics, stripping off all the high gloss of the 80's production style. If you care to listen to The Peacock Party today, it has aged brilliantly and far better than a lot of contemporary music of the period. It's rootsy feel fits right in with what's been in vogue for the past 20 odd years. A lot of people proclaim that rock music (which presumably must also include prog rock?) is dead today as "popular" music has fractured off into many sub categories and genres. Again, Gordon's acoustic records fit into "genre" headings now.

Personally speaking I've struggled to hear in my head the sound of a "pop" Gordon making prog rock instrumental albums in the 1980's and beyond. I'm sure the additional money achieved from chart success would have been welcomed by Gordon though! Regarding Airwaves, I can now better understand (thank you for the liner notes, Gordon) how and why that album came about. With that in mind I can appreciate certain aspects of that record better than ever before. As for The Peacock Party I now regard that as a totally unique masterpiece.

I do also believe it must be a much more daunting task to put out an album made by just yourself with little other help from others in terms of musical support and backing. The fact that there are so many great albums that are fun to listen to but that are essentially just acoustic guitar, shows a lot about true musicianship and craftmanship that a lot of pop records could only wish for.

I do think the market for instrumental music will always be comparatively small in relative terms when compared with vocal records. Singers, whether justifiably so or not, tend to be the draw and focal point of any group. Instrumental ensembles haven't quite got the same draw when you're looking into the mainstream market. You only have to look at TV programs showcasing raw talent and young hopefuls. How many of these people who want a pop career, are instrumentalists? How many are "singers"?

One final thought on this (I've rambled on too long already) is the world of classical music. Until quite recently it was easy to criticise the establishment for being quite snooty about anyone entering the domain who wasn't professionally trained and who didn't play the "appropriate" pieces. The rock meets classical genre was traditionally looked down upon by those with loftier egos and heritages to preserve. Faced with the inevitable prejudices and demands of the mainstram audience I think anyone working in a primarily instrumental, but non-classical field must find it very difficult to break through. In the days before the advent of the internet, when everybody can get their 15 minutes of fame via Youtube, I think it must have been an incredibly difficult task indeed.

Gordon, you've done pretty good so far in my opinion!


Many thanks once again to you sir for your time in writing down your thoughts about my career and past albums.It is truly interesting reading. You speak the truth about my music not fitting into the 80's and quite honestly my music has never really fitted in.As an artist I just follow my heart and try to do my best to create something of beauty,and the older I get the truth of this remains.For example I'm currently composing a new piece that has more the to do with Bach than the music of today.My inspiration still goes back to my early mentors JANSCH and RENBOURN who's music had nothing whatsoever to do with the dictates of fashion.

Bearing all this in mind you are right my friend when you say I have done pretty good so far.I have pondered long and hard about my life and music since being diagnosed with cancer in June of this year, and you know I think you are right.

Be well.

G.

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Roger
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Re: Quest - a quick summer poll

Postby Roger » Thu Oct 29, 2015 11:38 pm

Hi G

I just have a very simple statement to make and that is that the world is a much better place because of your music. Nuff said I think.

Roger & Em x
If you ever find yourself in the wrong story, leave.

keithmeredith
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Re: Quest - a quick summer poll

Postby keithmeredith » Fri Oct 30, 2015 5:11 am

A resounding "Hear hear" to that , Roger

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steve
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Re: Quest - a quick summer poll

Postby steve » Fri Oct 30, 2015 10:24 am

Gordon, you say your music has never really fitted in, but isn't that the mark of a true revolutionary genius, years ahead of his time? :wink: In 200 years time you'll be pronounced a national hero, I promise you.

On a personal level I'd just like to echo the comments of our friends above. Your music has been around in my life for at least 38 years. When I was a wee lad inevitably there were times when it seemed like the whole world was crashing down around me. It certainly wasn't but you get the idea. We moved house and area a few times when I was in my early teens and this in particular could be quite unsettling. It's a difficult age to make new friends especially if you're one of the "quiet" type as I was. It's true, honestly. The one constant thing in my life I could get comfort from was my music, and in particular, Gordon's music. It sounds like a cliche but it REALLY was like an old friend I knew would be there to constantly cheer me up and inspire positive things to happen, which it certainly did.

There will always be artists creating "something of beauty" which won't always be readily recognised or appreciated by a wide audience at the time, but those who do experience it really get something incredible from it. I think a lot of your music is like poetry with the notes a substitute for words. Listening closely now each piece takes you on a particular journey and makes you think about different things. I'm not certain how much music I listen to (and trust me, I listen to a LOT of very different music these days) that inspires thought but your music certainly does that.

As a guitarist I know you inevitably get into discussions with people about tuning, different chords, and technical stuff about guitars and playing but do you ever get ever so slightly frustrated that your compositions are perhaps "neglected" or taken for granted in favour of technical discussions? I mean I'm just curious if everyone had been far more fascinated with Picasso's paint brushes than his actual work whether he might have been tempted to tip paint over heads! :lol:
Mirrors should think longer before they reflect ~ Jean Cocteau

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GORDON
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Re: Quest - a quick summer poll

Postby GORDON » Sat Oct 31, 2015 9:54 pm

steve wrote:Gordon, you say your music has never really fitted in, but isn't that the mark of a true revolutionary genius, years ahead of his time? :wink: In 200 years time you'll be pronounced a national hero, I promise you.

On a personal level I'd just like to echo the comments of our friends above. Your music has been around in my life for at least 38 years. When I was a wee lad inevitably there were times when it seemed like the whole world was crashing down around me. It certainly wasn't but you get the idea. We moved house and area a few times when I was in my early teens and this in particular could be quite unsettling. It's a difficult age to make new friends especially if you're one of the "quiet" type as I was. It's true, honestly. The one constant thing in my life I could get comfort from was my music, and in particular, Gordon's music. It sounds like a cliche but it REALLY was like an old friend I knew would be there to constantly cheer me up and inspire positive things to happen, which it certainly did.

There will always be artists creating "something of beauty" which won't always be readily recognised or appreciated by a wide audience at the time, but those who do experience it really get something incredible from it. I think a lot of your music is like poetry with the notes a substitute for words. Listening closely now each piece takes you on a particular journey and makes you think about different things. I'm not certain how much music I listen to (and trust me, I listen to a LOT of very different music these days) that inspires thought but your music certainly does that.

As a guitarist I know you inevitably get into discussions with people about tuning, different chords, and technical stuff about guitars and playing but do you ever get ever so slightly frustrated that your compositions are perhaps "neglected" or taken for granted in favour of technical discussions? I mean I'm just curious if everyone had been far more fascinated with Picasso's paint brushes than his actual work whether he might have been tempted to tip paint over heads! :lol:


Hi Steve.

It's late and I have just read your lovely letter which requires a serious and heartfelt reply another day,so please look on this as just a holding reply.

Be well and THANKYOU.

G.

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Re: Quest - a quick summer poll

Postby GORDON » Sun Nov 01, 2015 2:58 pm

GORDON wrote:
steve wrote:Gordon, you say your music has never really fitted in, but isn't that the mark of a true revolutionary genius, years ahead of his time? :wink: In 200 years time you'll be pronounced a national hero, I promise you.

On a personal level I'd just like to echo the comments of our friends above. Your music has been around in my life for at least 38 years. When I was a wee lad inevitably there were times when it seemed like the whole world was crashing down around me. It certainly wasn't but you get the idea. We moved house and area a few times when I was in my early teens and this in particular could be quite unsettling. It's a difficult age to make new friends especially if you're one of the "quiet" type as I was. It's true, honestly. The one constant thing in my life I could get comfort from was my music, and in particular, Gordon's music. It sounds like a cliche but it REALLY was like an old friend I knew would be there to constantly cheer me up and inspire positive things to happen, which it certainly did.

There will always be artists creating "something of beauty" which won't always be readily recognised or appreciated by a wide audience at the time, but those who do experience it really get something incredible from it. I think a lot of your music is like poetry with the notes a substitute for words. Listening closely now each piece takes you on a particular journey and makes you think about different things. I'm not certain how much music I listen to (and trust me, I listen to a LOT of very different music these days) that inspires thought but your music certainly does that.

As a guitarist I know you inevitably get into discussions with people about tuning, different chords, and technical stuff about guitars and playing but do you ever get ever so slightly frustrated that your compositions are perhaps "neglected" or taken for granted in favour of technical discussions? I mean I'm just curious if everyone had been far more fascinated with Picasso's paint brushes than his actual work whether he might have been tempted to tip paint over heads! :lol:


Hi Steve.

It's late and I have just read your lovely letter which requires a serious and heartfelt reply another day,so please look on this as just a holding reply.

Be well and THANKYOU.

G.


Hi Steve .

Yes,naturally I do think that much of my music has been ignored.I have written many pieces that would be perfect for numerous TV programmes and dramas,but a lot of that is down to having the right people to push the material.

Much of this is called Library music,and I have had a few prominent pieces used, most notably the music for World Bowls.

The older I get,the more I adhere to the slower more melodic compositions,and I truly can't compete with the speed freak tapping brigade.I of course have had my moments at speed of light playing but that was years ago.

So,I think I shall just continue for as long as I can to create the best music I can.

THANKYOU again so very much for your letter.

Be well.

G.

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steve
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Re: Quest - a quick summer poll

Postby steve » Mon Nov 02, 2015 11:39 am

Hi Gordon,

You're certainly most welcome and I'm glad you appreciated my post! A few words from me can never compare to the happiness and joy your music has brought to me over the years or indeed many others. I've just received my last of the current Esoteric remasters so we've been playing your music almost exclusively during the past week. Has it been a lot of fun? I feel like a kid again!

I have to say the team behnd the reissues have largely done a superb job, with one notable exception, please see the separate thread I started about Visionary. Apart from that technical glitch it is very pleasing to hear the Electric Trilogy without the over-use of compression or loudness, which is a common trait today when older material gets remastered. All the dynamics appear to be left intact and the sound quality is excellent on all discs. I also like the new artwork and presentation and of course your own sleeve notes / comments on the older albums are always welcomed.

This makes me wonder if you've ever considered writing an autobiography? I'm sure you must have a lot of funny and interesting anecdotes about life travelling around the UK or people you've worked with over the past half a century. That's quite a long time! :)

Regarding the use of your music in TV etc, have you ever been approached to write or provide a film soundtrack? I listened to one of your pieces (forgive me but I've forgotten which one at the present) on the recent "A Time To Reflect" compilation and it reminded me of some vintage Ennio Morricone. As I was not quite as familiar with the albums reissued in Time To Reflect as I was say Troubadour or the pre-1995 material, I'd have to listen again (which I will do again very soon) to find which particular track it was but it made me wonder about the use of your music in films as opposed to TV.

I have collected quite a lot of film soundtrack albums over the years and one that I continually go back to is Ry Cooder's "Paris, Texas". What makes it so brilliant is the use of space and silence. It's certainly slow and evocative, creating just the right mood whilst conveying a real sense of dry desert space. I also like his pieces written for "Southern Comfort" where he creates the swampy vibe. Anyway, just a thought......

All best.

Steve
Mirrors should think longer before they reflect ~ Jean Cocteau

Trevor Raggatt
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Re: Quest - a quick summer poll

Postby Trevor Raggatt » Tue Nov 03, 2015 1:39 pm

Steve,

One of the albums collected on TTR was Music For The Small Screen (the CD with two different band versions of Heartsong). This was a collection of tunes which Gordon has either has used on TV or which had been commissioned for TV use. Don't think that he's ever written in long form for film (yet)!

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steve
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Re: Quest - a quick summer poll

Postby steve » Tue Nov 03, 2015 3:07 pm

Trevor,

Thanks for the reply - yes, I was aware of Music For The Small Screen as I had the earlier CD in its original version which I picked up at one of Gordon's shows in about '95-ish?

I was particularly interested to hear if Gordon had ever been approached for film sound-track music.

Best

Steve
Mirrors should think longer before they reflect ~ Jean Cocteau

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AndrewD
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Re: Quest - a quick summer poll

Postby AndrewD » Fri Nov 13, 2015 11:58 am

My vote went for the Perilous Journey version, but the Eye of the Wind version is in a solid second place.

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steve
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Re: Quest - a quick summer poll

Postby steve » Fri Nov 13, 2015 3:41 pm

Are you referring to the CD version which accompanies the Birmingham Symphony Hall DVD / Dual-disc?

By the way, has anyone else struggled to get their Dual-disc thingy to play? I note it very helpfully states that the DVD might not play in some DVD players but I've tried it in three separate players now. One spits the disc out before assuring me there was "no disc" to start with. Another plays the DVD through perfectly until Gordon exists the stage for the orchestral interlude (sulky DVD player, maybe?) and then freezes. Another one only plays the second half! So guess what? I use two players to play it through. Imagine if I only had one player like most sensible people. This thing would be in the dustbin by now! :shock:

I've never encountered these discs before but they strike me as being slightly thicker than either a standard DVD or CD. They are heavier and stiffer, certainly, which could give rise to problems in some transports. I can't help thinking they are a poor idea. I'm certainly relieved that Gordon's subsequernt DVD's have been standard issues. Please, no more "Dual-discs"!
Mirrors should think longer before they reflect ~ Jean Cocteau

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Re: Quest - a quick summer poll

Postby AndrewD » Sun Dec 13, 2015 9:28 am

steve wrote:Are you referring to the CD version which accompanies the Birmingham Symphony Hall DVD / Dual-disc?


Yes I am. I too have experienced a little temperamental behaviour from my Blu-Ray player when playing that disc, but gentle coaxing usually works, combined with ejecting and reloading a few times :).


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