Release date: 8 June 2018
Credits and About
Tim Garland Saxophone
Jason Rebello Piano
Pablo Held Piano
Yuri Goloubev Bass
English Session Orchestra 35 piece string section
Recorded at Abbey Road Studio 1, London
All music by Tim Garland
English Session Orchestra (35 strings) lead by David Juritz recorded at Abbey Road Studio, London 1 by Lewis Jones in Nov 2017.
String Octet recorded at Abbey Road Studio 3, London by Andrew Dudman in Dec 2017.
Soloists session recorded at at Masterchord Studio, London by Ronan Phelan in Jan 2018.
Produced by Andrew Sunnucks and Tim Garland
Studio 3 Octet:
Thomas Gould violin
Ben Hancox violin
Magdalena Filipczak violin
Rakhi Singh viola
Juan-Miguel Hernandez viola
Robin Ashwell viola
Cecilia Bignall cello
Yuri Goloubev double bass
Soloists on The Sky Is An Empty Mirror:
Thomas Gould violin
Magdalena Filipczak violin
Mixed by Dan Hayden and Tim Garland
Mastered by Chris Brooke @ AudioNetwork
Executive Producer: Dave Stapleton
Weather Walker, the monumental, atmospheric and unfailingly melodic new orchestral album from one of Europe’s most prolific composers and instrumentalists, Tim Garland, takes its inspiration from The Lake District in the North West of England. Tim is a musician with equal talent and scope both as a performer and composer and Weather Walker showcases his sheer brilliance and ambition, confirming his reputation as one of contemporary music’s most forward-thinking figures. Recorded at the iconic Abbey Road Studio 1 with a 43 piece string section, this epic production contains some of his best large ensemble writing. Uniting his regular collaborators, pianist Jason Rebello and bassist Yuri Goloubev, with a 35 piece string orchestra, Weather Walker is also a first-time collaboration with the exciting and progressive German pianist Pablo Held, a musician with an equally strong sense of harmony and freedom of expression.
For Weather Walker, the inspiration came from the Lake District, as Tim explains: ‘It was at the Lakes that I first had the sensation that it is us, human beings, that nature permits to live here, and not us permitting and cultivating nature where we choose to allow it! I’ve felt this in lots of places around the globe since then, but because this is my home country and early memories linger, The Lakes, which has a melancholy beauty even throughout the cold grey months, remains magical. Given the inspiring visual setting of this music, it is naturally cinematic’.
The album derives its central theme from the traditional folk song The Snows They Melt The Soonest, from which Tim wrote new pieces, reworking melodic shapes and harmonic fragments. Once or twice when the orchestra play alone, it’s almost as if the folk melody can be heard like a ghost over the top. The large, sweeping lines of the string orchestra represent the wide vistas encountered whilst the soloists bring a kind of intimacy, constantly changing like the perspective of the walker.
At the core of this approach is the balance between improvised and composed. As Tim explains: Sometimes the beating heart of a piece is the moment the improvisors take off on a journey of their own. Importantly there is space when the orchestra just lets us explore. This prevents the composition from becoming staid and even in the most lyrical romantic pieces, allows for some surprises and unusual turns’.
Tim Garland has built a formidable body of recorded work in his long and productive career, yet with Weather Walker he has produced a work that is undoubtedly his finest yet.
In His Own Words
What is it about the Lake District that inspires you?
It was at the Lakes that I first had the sensation that it is us, human beings, that nature permits to live here, and not us permitting and cultivating nature where we choose to allow it! I’ve felt this in lots of places around the globe since then, but because this is my home country and early memories linger, The Lakes, which has a melancholy beauty even throughout the cold grey months, remains magical.
Can you speak about the folk song The Snows They Melt The Soonest that appears in the piece?
The Snows They Melt The Soonest is one of a handful of northern English folk tunes that can still cast a powerful spell. You can hear its influence in several of Weather Walker’s tracks. Once or twice when the orchestra play alone, it’s almost as if that melody can be heard like a ghost over the top.
Are there specific locations that have fed into your writing for the album?
Well there’s Ambleside, Black Crag, Tarn Hows and Kirkstone Pass. Further West there is WastWater.
What approach did you take in writing the music?
Many people these days hear orchestral music through film first. Given the inspiring visual setting of this music, it is naturally cinematic. It’s a short trip from the movies back into the concert hall.
Why did you opt for a drummerless group this time?
I wanted to show just how rhythmic the string orchestra can be. It is not just sweeping romance and landscape sustained chords! The overall feel of the album is kinda pastoral too, with connections to classical music.
Did you always hear strings or did that evolve as it developed?
Yes I felt a large, sweeping string orchestra represented the wide vistas you encounter, and the soloists bring a kind of intimacy, like the changing perspective of the walker.
Can you describe some of the challenges involved in working with a 35 piece string section!
We had 35 string orchestra in studio 1, Abbey Road, “The Big Views”, we also had an eight piece in the smaller Studio 3, a more intimate sound. Its like the old Concerto Grosso at times: a smaller group nestled within a larger one. This also gave us the chance to really use some production technique and experiment with unusual stereo placements, a wide landscape of sound. This took a while to write, working in the moments where us soloists would, a few weeks later, be recording our own parts over the top.
You’re playing with regular collaborators but also pianist Pablo Held It’s is the first time you’re working with him – How did that come about?
Pablo is wonderful to play duet with, he’s a harmony-head like me. We first met in order to record this and we rehearsed the day before. Dave from Edition suggested I invite him. I heard his recording with John Schofield and felt it’d be great to ask him, as someone new, amongst the familiar faces also featured here.
What is it like recording at the iconic Abbey Road Studio 1? Does working in such a storied place affect the music?
I have recorded at Abbey Road many times in the context of writing more commercial music for the company AudioNetwork. It is they that have effectively sponsored this album, which is licensed to Edition. You get back after a session to your own studio and push up the faders and straight away: Wow, THATS the sound. Its movie magic, (but not as we know it!). The fact that the folk song influence makes for more modal sounds, which for a start bring this closer to the atmosphere of film scores, made working there the very perfect place.
What’s the balance between composition and improvisation in this piece?
I’d say this about half and half. Sometimes the beating heart of a piece is the moment the improvisors take off on a journey of their own. Importantly there is space when the orchestra just let us explore. This prevents the composition from becoming staid and even in the most lyrical romantic pieces, allows for some surprises and unusual turns.
"There’s nothing quite like Tim Garland’s music...Everything fits with such perfection...His soundscapes certainly present us with atmospheres and images subtler than any picture.”