Lichfield Arts closed their season of concerts at the Guildhall when the critically acclaimed guitarist and composer Gordon Giltrap performed there.

Gordon Giltrap
Gordon Giltrap

Ever since starting his career in the late 1960s, Giltrap has ploughed a singular furrow, writing intricate, atmospheric solo guitar music that has found its way into the public domain through television.

He has worked with a range of household names such as Cliff Richard and Queen’s Brian May, while the quality of his musicianship and writing has won him admiration from many musicians.

His unique instrumentals take in influences from around the world, with elements of classical, roots, blues, jazz, celtic and world music all making their presence felt.

This concert, only his second one in two years, was a showcase for his intricate, detailed music, bolstered not only by a flawless, fleet-fingered technique, but by modern technology and looping pedals, allowing for a fuller sound.

The stage was littered with three acoustic guitars and an electric one, all of which saw active duty during the evening.

The performance began with the slow country style of Maddie Goes West, which blended a celtic theme with fast strummed passages.

Shining Morn and The Kissing Gate were also fine exercises in atmosphere and technique.

The brooding Roots showed the influence of such figures as Bert Jansch and John Renbourn, before his best-known piece, Heartsong – known as a theme to the Holiday programme – although written when he was a younger man, still had the required amount of energy and uplift.

The first half closed with Dodo’s Dream, an exercise for electric guitar and live looping, blending difficult sounding chords, walking bass and clean and distorted lead guitar sounds together into a maelstrom of emotional activity. 

The second half was a more sedate affair, with opener Isabella’s Wedding a fine display of filigree playing, while Court of the Silent Squire received both its world premiere and a strong ovation.

On Camber Sands and Sallie’s Song made great use of a digital delay pedal to create an atmosphere of melancholy longing, before Down the River raised the tempo, switching between blues and folk styles with ease.

The concert’s closing number, Lucifer’s Cage, was an exercise in prog rock pyrotechnics with fast strummed passages and a brooding atmosphere owing more to the spirit of Pete Townshend from The Who than it did the playing of any more folk and classically orientated player.

Leave a comment

Our volunteers moderated 1713 comments in the last 30 days. Say thanks with a coffee.

Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy before posting.

Your email address will not be published.