Splendid Isolation reel

Also known as Brendan McGlinchey’s, Brendan McGlinchy’s, Brendan’s, Farewell To Jim, McGlinchey’s, McGlinchy’s.

There are 64 recordings of a tune by this name.

A tune by this name has been recorded together with McGlinchey’s (lots of times), Sweeney’s Buttermilk (lots of times), Miss Shepherd (a few times), Inches To Dublin (a few times) and Johnny’s Wedding (a few times).

Splendid Isolation has been added to 14 tune sets.

Splendid Isolation has been added to 383 tunebooks.

Download ABC

Eight settings

X: 1
T: Splendid Isolation
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gdor
|:FGGF GdcA|G2AG FGAc|dAcA GABc|dggf ~g3a|
bgag fd~d2|f2eg fdcA|G2AG FGAc|dAcA ~G3z:|
|:g2ag fd~d2|gfdc Acdc|AG~G2 Acdc|AG~G2 F4|
FGGF GdcA|G2AG FGAc|dg~g2 fgag|fdcA G4:|
# Added by JD .
X: 2
T: Splendid Isolation
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gdor
|:(E/F/G) AF GdcA|.G/.G/.G AG FGAc|dAcA GABc|dggf g2 ga|
bgag fd ~d2|~f3 g fdcA|GcAG FGAc|dAcA G4:|
|:~g2 ag fd ~d2|gfdc (A/B/c) dc|AG ~G2 Acdc| AG ~G2 .F2 ~F2|
~F2 AF GdcA| .G/.G/.G AG FGAc| dg ~g2 fgag|fdcA G4:|
X: 3
T: Splendid Isolation
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gdor
|:GG AF Gd cA|DG AG FG Ac|de cA GA Bc|de fd gg ga|
b/2a/2g ag fd de|fd ge fd cA|GG AG FG Ac[1 de cA GG AF:|2 de cA GG df||
|:gg ag fd d^e|gf dc Ad dc|AG GG AG dc|A GG A F2 GE|
FG AF Gd cA|^FG AG FG Ac|df gg fg ag[1 fd cA GG df:|2 fd cA Gd cA||
X: 4
T: Splendid Isolation
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Amin
dcBd cAA^G | A2 (3EF^G ABcA | A2 BG G2 cd |eaag a2 ba |
ge e2 aged | c3d B3d |dedB cA (3Bcd |1 eAA^G A4 :|2 cAA^G A2 cd ||
|:eAcA cedB | (3ABc BG A2 EF | G3A GD D2 | GFGA B2 dB |
ABcd ed d2 | ecBA BG G2 | EFGE ABcd | ea^gb a2 cd :|
|: ea a2 a2 ^ga |eaa^g e2 dA | de e2 dgfg | agdB G2 cd |
e3c d3B | cBcA BGED |AEAB cedB | ^deGB A2 c=d :|
# Added by JACKB .
X: 5
T: Splendid Isolation
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Ador
|:GAAG AedB|A2 BA GABd|eBdB ABcd|eaag a3b|
c'3b ge e2|g2 fa gedB|A2 BA GABd|eBdB AEGA|
A2 BG AedB|A2 BA GABd|e2 dB ABcd|eaag aeab|
c'2 ba ge e2|g2 fa bgdB|A2 BA GABd|eBdB A4||
|:a2 ba ge e2|aged Bded|BA A2 Bded|BA A2 GDEG|
G2 BGAG BG|G2 BA GABd|ea a2 gaba|gedB Adeg|
a2 ba ge e2|aged Bded|BA A2 Bded|BA A2 GDEG|
EAGE AedB|A2 BA GABd|ea a2 gaba|gedB A4||
# Added by JACKB .
X: 6
T: Splendid Isolation
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Edor
|:DEED EBAF|E2 FE DEFA|BFAF DEFA|Beed e3f|
g3e dB B2|d2 ce dBAF|E2 FE DEFA|BFAF E4:||
|:e2 fe dB B2|edBA FABA|FE E2 FABA|FE E2 D4|
DEED EBAF|E2 FE DEFA|Be e2 defe|dBAF E4:||
# Added by JACKB .
X: 7
T: Splendid Isolation
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gdor
F3 F||(E/F/G) AF GdcA|G/G/G AG FGAc|dAcA GABc|dggf g2-ga|
bgag fd d/d/d|fadg fdcA|GcAG FGAc|dAcA [G3G,3]F|
(E/F/G) AF GdcA|G/G/G AG FGAc|dAcA GABc|dg g/g/g g2 ga|
bgag fd d/d/d|fadg fdcA|GcAG FGAc|dAcA GA (B/c/d)||
g2 ag fd d/d/d|gfdc Acdc|AG G/G/G Acdc| AG G/G/G F2 FE|
FGAF GdcA|G/G/G AG FGAc| dg g/g/g fg (3abg|fdcA G2 (B/c/d)|
g2 ag fd d/d/d|gfdc Acdc|AG G/G/G Acdc| AG G/G/G F2 (3FEF|
(3FEF AF GdcA|G/G/G AG FGAc| dg g/g/g fgag|fdcA [G3G,3]F|]
X: 8
T: Splendid Isolation
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Ador
|:GAAG AedB|A2 BA GABd|eBdB ABcd|eaag a3b|
c'3b ae e2|g2 fa gedB|A2 BA GABd|eBdB A4:||
|:a2 ba ge e2|aged Bded|BA A2 Bded|BA A2 G4|
GAAG AedB|A2 BA GABd|ea a2 gaba|gedB A4:||
# Added by JACKB .

Eight comments

Regarding the title; I came across reference to this quotation reading Arnold Toynbee’s books on history. It refers to England.

"We have stood alone in that which is called isolation—our splendid isolation, as one of our Colonial friends was good enough to call it."

- Sir William Edward Goschen, Speech at Lewes

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32 years isolation

it was a great pleasure to meet Brendan Mc’Glinchey for the first time last month at Karen Ryan’s festival in Camden Town. He was delighted when we gave him a copy of our debut CD (launched there the following rainy night) which opens with this splendid reel of his _which he told us he composed in 1973

we hope he enjoys our ”slightly progressive” version of it …

How many years of Isolation?

It seems that Brendan McGlinchey composed this tune earlier than 1973, since it was recorded in Dec. 1972 by Kevin Burke on "Sweeney’s Dream"

Splendid Isolation

I just read an interview with Brendan McGlinchy. The reel was composed while he was in Dublin, at a pub drinking coffee, stressed because a two week trip in Ireland had gone very badly…No one in the group was getting along and he was waiting for a plane to go home to London…So full of emotional enery that this haunting tune happened.

C.Smitty

Direct From the Source

X:2
C:Brendan McGlinchey
S:Live at the West London Folk Club 1973

Splendid Isolation, X:7

My transcription of the youtube version above. I have taken the liberty of expanding the A and B repeats to show Brendan’s ornamentation. In particular I note the ornaments in measures 4 & 5 of the B2, where he ends a musical phrase on an F, then rolls the F twice. On the face of it, it should be boring, but instead gives a growling feel that focuses attention there. I have never come across this ornament before, but now hear it in various places in his other tunes. My fingers were loath to perform this at speed without some attention and practice, but it is definitely worth adding to my repertoire.

The youtube also allows a glimpse of his bowing technique. Wow, such sound, lift and rhythm and he only uses the top third of his bow, and doesn’t look like he is working very hard at it either.

While I don’t particularly appreciate Brendan’s slow air version, the reel works for me both fast and even as a slow reel. The G dorian key lends just the right touch of melancholy and really appeals to me. Definitely a favorite.

Re: Splendid Isolation

Recent Comhaltas upload and note: "Recorded at the Cahir, Co. Tipperary Trad Fest on 17th September 2016, Kirsten Allstaff, Liscannor, Co. Clare (formerly Dundee, Scotland) on concert flute is joined by Michael Harty, Cahir, Co. Tipperary, also on concert flute and Yvonne Casey, Co. Clare on fiddle. They play two Reels “Paddy Fahy’s” and “Splendid isolation” (B. McGlinchey)."
https://comhaltas.ie/music/detail/comhaltaslive_508_12cahir_trad_fest/
BTW, and not entirely to the point, sorry, but a comment with regard to the historical origins of the phrase "Splendid Isolation", and the ironic use of the term every since (bearing in mind the first comment above, posted 12 years ago, and its possible relevance to the post-Brexit future Little England is attempting to drag Britain into),
The speech by Goschen (who was First Lord of The Admiralty at the time) was made at Lewes on February 26, 1896. However, the term was reputedly coined in January 1896 by a Canadian politician, George Eulas Foster, who indicated his approval for Britain’s minimal involvement in European affairs by saying, "In these somewhat troublesome days when the great Mother Empire stands splendidly isolated in Europe." That’s according to wikipedia, anyway, citing "Splendid Isolation? Britain and the Balance of Power 1874–1914", by John Charmley (1999).
For more ironic use of the term ‘splendid’, see "Splendid Isolation" by Warren Zevon (track 6, ‘Transverse City’, the seventh studio album by Zevon, released in October 1989).

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