Bridging the Day
For Cello and Piano
Composition Date: 1998
Commissioned by Gerry Mattock and first performed by Steven Isserlis and Ian Brown at Painswick House in 1998.
I had a phone call in 1996 from a Dr Gerry Mattock, asking me if I would write a piece for his 70th birthday celebrations. He wanted it to be inspired by the environs of Brook Cottage, the home he shared at weekends with Beryl Calver-Jones, and he later invited me to spend a summer weekend there with my family, `to get the feel of the place.'
The very first thing that struck me on arrival was the little bridge across the brook: of an unusual shape and, unexpectedly, covered with a fine carpet of turf. I was surprised and impressed to learn that Gerry had designed the bridge himself. On closer inspection, I discovered a sundial set into the centre of the parapet. Gerry had described the beauty of the passage of sunlight across the valley in which Brook Cottage lies. The little bridge, and its sundial, seemed to provide a sort of fulcrum for the sun’s passage.
Bridging the Day reflects different aspects of light, beginning with its sudden appearance over the brow of the steep hill to the east of the cottage, its bright shimmer through the forest leaves; then the golden light of the afternoon falling on the brook itself; and sundown, on the opposite side of the valley.
The resident heron also makes an appearance, with its curious rhythmic gait and graceful ascent and flight.
This piece, written as a tribute to a new friend as a celebration of his boundless enthusiasm and energy, marked the beginning of a happy association with Gerry, and also with Beryl, who sadly died in 2015. They went on to commission many more works from me, and have remained an important and lasting inspiration in my work.
Bridging the Day was first performed by Steven Isserlis and Ian Brown at Painswick House in 1998. It was commissioned by Gerry Mattock.
It is available on the BIS CD ‘Bridging the Day’ (2001), performed by Robert Irvine and Sally Beamish.
Bridging the Day (2001)
Sally Beamish (piano)
Robert Irvine (cello)
- Gala Water (1994) for cello solo
- Bridging the Day (1998) for cello and piano
- Entre Chien et Loup (1979) for piano solo
- Lullaby for Owain (1985) for piano solo
- Kyle Song (1993) for piano solo
- Iasg (1993) for cello and piano
- The Wise Maid (2000) for cello solo
- Sonata for Cello and Piano (1999-2000)