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seaside john tilbury christian wolff john lely dirar kalash

at100   ‘Seaside’  -  John Tilbury, Dirar Kalash, John Lely, Christian Wolff


Compositions by Christian Wolff and John Lely, and improvisations played by

John Tilbury (clavichord), John Lely (electronics) and Dirar Kalash (oud)


1 - John Lely  ‘Line’ (2016)                                   3’41”

2 - Biyar ‘Adas  (improvisation)                             10’54”      Youtube extract

3 - Saqiya (improvisation)                                      6’45”

4 - Christian Wolff  ‘Tilbury 2’ (1969)                      3’42”

5 - Jarisha (improvisation)                                    13’28”

6 - Christian Wolff  ‘Tilbury 4’ (1970)                      5’14”

7 - al-Safirriya (improvisation)                                11’34”

8 - John Lely  ‘Line with Accompaniment’  (2016)    7’13”      Youtube extract


In late 2015 John Tilbury bought a clavichord, which is now in the conservatory of his house in the Kentish seaside town of Deal. This is the first CD on which John plays clavichord rather than piano. Fittingly for the hundredth Cd on Another Timbre, the disc combines compositions and improvisations.

Christian Wolff and John Tilbury first met and worked together in the late 1960’s. At that time Christian composed a series of piano pieces for John with the general title ‘Tilbury’. For this disc John arranged two of these pieces for clavichord. ‘Tilbury 4’ is written in different parts for ‘at least two players’. In this recording two parts were recorded separately and then over-dubbed.

John Lely has been a frequent collaborator with John Tilbury since the 1990’s when they met at Goldsmith’s College in South London. Lely composed ‘Line’ for John’s clavichord specifically for this recording session. Having recorded the piece as a solo, John Tilbury suggested that they should also record a duo version with John Lely improvising an accompaniment on electronics, and that recording has become the final piece on the CD.

Dirar Kalash is a young Palestinian artist and musician currently living and studying in The Hague in Holland. John Tilbury came across him in early 2016 and suggested that he would make a good recording partner for the session. Dirar often improvises using electronics, but on these recordings he plays oud, a guitar-like instrument common in North Africa and the Middle East. We believe that it is the first time that this combination of instruments (clavichord, oud and electronics) have played together as a trio.

The clavichord is a very quiet instrument, and was played without amplification so that the other instruments had to come down to its volume. The recordings took place in the conservatory of John Tilbury’s house, and extraneous sounds often drifted in and became another layer of the music. Most frequent were the calls of seagulls, but other sounds included the low-flying aeroplane that passes overhead shortly after the start of the track entitled ‘al-Safirriya’.

The titles of the improvised pieces are taken from the names of former Palestinian villages near to the area where Dirar was born, and which were depopulated or destroyed in 1948 at the time of the creation of the state of Israel.

The recordings were made on 18th July and 4th October 2016.

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