And the Bridge is Love

In 2008 Howard’s commission for Julian Lloyd Webber and the Chipping Campden Music Festival, And the bridge is love, premièred at St James’ Church in Chipping Campden on May 21st. Thomas Hull conducted the Festival Academy Orchestra.

Howard wrote the following as a programme note for the first performance:

And the bridge is love is a quotation from Thornton Wilder’s novel, The Bridge of San Luis Rey, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1928. The story of the collapse in 1714 of “the finest bridge in all Peru”, killing five people, it is a parable of the struggle to find meaning in chance and in inexplicable tragedy. The finale of the novel concludes: “But soon we will die, and all memories of those five will have left Earth, and we ourselves shall be loved for a while and forgotten. But the love will have been enough; all those impulses of love return to the love that made them. Even memory is not necessary for love. There is a land of the living and a land of the dead, and the bridge is love. The only survival, the only meaning.” This work, for solo ‘cello and strings, is composed in memory of a teenage cellist, the daughter of close family friends, who died tragically in September 2007. Julian and I had been trying to find an opportunity to work together on a new piece for some time and the possibility of my writing a work for the Chipping Camden Festival has made this collaboration possible. My intention has always been to write something that would, after its first performance, be accessible to younger performers, especially in schools and colleges, that would be contemporary and beautiful without being absurdly difficult and that would not require a large orchestra. My view is that works written with young performers in mind need more attention drawn to them by leading artists, not less, as is usually the case, and I’m therefore thrilled that Julian Lloyd Webber, who shares my aspiration to make classical music a modern experience that is as meaningful and fulfilling to as many young people as possible, has instigated its commissioning and is adding it to his concert repertoire.

Following the première, additional performances followed at Birmingham Town Hall with students of Birmigham Conservatoire in June 2008, and with the Edinburgh Youth Orchestra in Linlithgow (19th August) Stirling (20th August) and Edinburgh (21st August).

A review of it in the Independent can be found here.

Key information:

Instrumentation: harp – strings (66442)

Première: 21.5.08, Chipping Campden Festival, St James’s Church, Chipping Campden: Julian Lloyd Webber/Chipping Campden Festival Academy Orchestra/Thomas Hull

Availability: Score and parts for hire from Faber Music