The Garden: Background


“The Garden” comes at “11 o’clock” on the Clockwork Angels clock, and relates to the hieroglyphic rune for earth.

Neil says the piece moved everyone in the studio to tears when the classical orchestration was recorded. “One very special aspect of this project is the lush and exotic string arrangements, by David Campbell. One January afternoon at Ocean Way Studios in Hollywood, I stood in the control room listening while the strings were being recorded. It occurred to me that all songwriters should experience the sensual delight of hearing their songs performed by an accomplished string section. For example, when these virtuoso artists on violin, viola, cello, and double-bass executed David’s plangent orchestration for ‘The Garden,’ there was not a dry eye in the studio.”

“For me, ‘The Garden’ was a major step forward as a songwriter and as a singer. I’ve always wanted to do that kind of song where the melody was the thing that made it conect with you, that gave it resonance, where the voice kind of comes out of the soundscape and delivers the story to you in a heartfelt way. To achieve that without it being schmaltzy or feeling forced, and with the music around the voice to be very relaxed, I think can only come from years of playing and from confidence. It’s a confidence that maybe we  did not have 10 years ago, but certainly that confidence comes through as the song goes trough its various changes, which are many, but yet they come at you easily. To me it’s one of my proudest moments as a songwriter in my entire career.”—Geddy in Classic Rock video interview included in Clocwork Angels fanpack promotion

Alex in a Metal Express Radio interview calls the final note in the piece a poignant end to the story. “We put down keyboard, sample strings, and we really liked the piece. But we thought, rather than use sampled strings we’d bring in a real orchestra and Geddy and I were the catalysts for that. He`s a real sucker for those sorts of things. We decided to bring the strings in and David Campbell did a great job on the arrangement. That really tugs at your heart. I think there’s something that’s really classic about that arrangement and really heartfelt. The song works really well as a closer, the final chapter of the story. That single cello note at the very end is very poignant.”

In the same interview, Alex says the solo in the piece and in “Clockwork Angels” are among his favorites of all time, yet they were almost throwaways. “Geddy went away for a few days, so I continued working and filling things in a little bit and I threw down a couple of solos in just a few takes and that was it. The thing is that after a while they kind of grow on you and you don’t think about them when you’re doing them as they were so natural and spontaneous. So, those solos were two throwaways that I did very early on, before those songs were really fully developed. With me, when I don’t think too much about what I’m doing, that’s when I tend to do my best work.”

Dave Everley of Classic Rock calls the ringing chords of the piece “a suitably stately finale to the whole show.”

“A pastoral delight that comes over you like a daydream. Graceful and buoyant acoustics, tasteful orchestration, and Lee singing in a simple, unaffected style make up the bedrock of The Garden. Peart joins in on a second verse, laying down a soft shuffle, and even when he appears to be doing very little, his sense of composition and movement has a profound impact. His patterns are so natural that it’s almost as if the sticks breezed into his hands and started playing him. After a spellbindingly romantic piano interlude, Lifeson reaches in and pulls out a multi-dimensional guitar solo, one which recalls the mysterious epiphanies from Limelight. There’s a certain melancholy quality to his phrasing, as is he’s pausing briefly to look behind his shoulder. By the end, he’s rejoined his bandmates and the three march off intrepidly together. They don’t dwell in the moment – there’s no needlessly showy flourishes or building the crescendo up as “epic” – but the further away they get the more it becomes apparent that the spell they’ve cast and the resonance of Clockwork Angels will linger on.”—Joe Bosso, MusicRadar

And so to the finale, and with ‘The Garden’ we are thankfully back to classic Rush as the acoustic guitar re-emerges for some of that stonking pop-prog they defined so many years ago. The song builds into this glorious mesh of pleasing guitars and a giant wall of those strings that have littered the album, quietly propping up the background but now taking centre stage for themselves in one last hurrah. “—Dominic Hemy, The Digital Fix

“‘The Garden’ closes the journey, with another almost laughably epic flourish (although the epic surge is undermined by sorta like the hangover of the epic, in the final strained strains). It’s a chilling finale, supposed to give hope, but more about how the (aforementioned) idea of Candide’s garden . . . in the final analysis what else have you got? It’s all very Zen-like as is the musical accompaniment which oscillates between operating room anesthesia drone and heavy metal drone.”—Martin Popoff, BraveWords

“The final song on the album is the masterpiece of the entire thing. ‘The Garden’ is a 24 carat epic. The gentle, acoustic opening—which reminded me of ‘The Sphere,’ the final part of ‘Hemispheres’—is only the beginning of a song that builds into a string-driven thing of sumptuous beauty. A piano echoes a loneliness and maybe hints at a sad end to the journey but, in any case, this is a moving and majestic way to end what is bound to become a Rush classic.”—Rob Palladino, Audio Times

More about “The Garden”

Back to Rush Vault

~ by rvkeeper on May 23, 2012.

%d bloggers like this: