Originally from the album
Free Hand (Shulman, Shulman, Minnear)
(Requires a sound card and software for playing MP3 files)
The Inside Story
- by Ian McGrath
Talybont has long been one of my favorite GG pieces. It is catchy and
simple, but has a distinctly (and unabashedly) renaissance-y feel that is
very winning. It is also a fine example of the wonderful contrapuntal
writing that distinguishes GG's music from the rest of the pack. I chose
this piece as soon as I heard about the tribute, in mid-1995, shortly after
getting online for the first time (nothing but an tadpolesque AOL-er
then!). However, I had no real idea how I was going to execute the
By the fall, the original deadline was rolling around and it
looked like I was going to bail out of the tribute: alas, another
unrealized project. But then I read a posting to the project's list from
someone who said they would have joined the project and chosen Talybont
themselves, but it had already been taken. In light of this, I would have
felt horrible if I had not lived up to my claim of this piece, so a new
urgency came to the project for me. Shortly thereafter, I had a rehearsal
with a couple of friends with whom I play on occasion, one a cellist, the
other a pianist (I play clarinet). I realized that it would not be
difficult to score Talybont for this instrumentation. This was all the
inspiration I needed - within three weeks I had transcribed the piece and
written the arrangement.
The form of Talybont is very simple: A B A B A' B A.
The 4 contrapuntal lines in the original recording of Talybont's "A"
section are played by clavinet, bass guitar, electric guitar, and a
recorder-y synth sound (which plays only from the 2nd A section on). This
version takes each of these lines and hands them out to a different
instrument for each repetition of the "A" section.
1st time through the "A" melody:
This is the part of the arrangement that gets me the most excited. In the
original, this repetition is performed staccato, each note short and dry
(with delay effects added). To produce a similar but distinct effect in an
"acoustic" interpretation, the melody is first hocketed note by note
between the clarinet, pizzicato cello and piano right hand, in a
pointilistic fashion, while the piano's left hand plays bass. Next the
pizzicato cello takes the guitar part, while the clarinet and piano bounce
the notes of the melody back and forth. After this, the "B" melody returns
in bombastic pseudo-romantic style, leading to a Grand Pause before the
final statement of the happy main melody.
At the end, instead of fading out, the arrangment segues into the middle
section of On Reflection.
I made this decision because the melody is a
little similar (first 3 notes), and because my girlfriend at the time loved
Unfortunately, due to the rigors of the 9-5 work week, children,
significant others and various hobbies, getting enough time to practice the
piece adequately with my little ensemble became somewhat problematic. A
couple of recordings were made, both single-take and by editing several
performances together, but these proved unsatisfactory. Eventually
deadlines were becoming real and I resorted to making a MIDI version of
this arrangement. This MIDIfied recording is a good representation of my
idea, but to paraphrase my esteemed colleague (see next track!), Richard
Hilton, sacrifices texture for accuracy. Well, we all have to make
sacrifices! Hopefully, one day a nice acoustic version of this piece with
all the proper instruments will be realized, as originally envisioned. For
now, we will have to be satisfied with this version, and it's pretty good!
The main synthetic protagonist is a Roland JV-880, who substitutes a
ELP-ish square wave lead sound (with a Kawai K-1's Jazz Harp chiming in)
for the clarinet, and a fretless bass sound for the cello.
The piece was performed by Master Tracks Pro 4.5.2 software.
Thanks to the members of the Ca Va Ensemble: Andre Hosza (piano), Matt
Anderson (cello) and Rob Steckman (djembe) for unreleased efforts, also
Peter Flint for post-production studio work, both released and unreleased.
might be dedicated to Amy, if I felt a dedication was necessary.