Duration: 11′

  • Flute orchestra (1 picc. 4 flutes 2 altos 1 contra alto (optional) bass flute and contrabass flute (also optional)
  • 1. Mostar  |  2. London Bridge – crossing to America: a short span  |  3. Brooklyn Bridge
  • Brass Wind Publications
  • Commissioned by National Flute Orchestra  |  First performance 27 February, 2011  |  Birmingham Conservatoire

Crossing the Bridge was commissioned by the National Flute Orchestra with financial support from the Birmingham Flute Commission, the British Flute Society and individual sponsors. The first performance will be given by the National Flute Orchestra, conductor Kenneth Bell, on 27 February 2011 at the Birmingham Conservatoire, England. The work is dedicated to four of the leading flautists and teachers who had a great impact on British flute playing in the twentieth century – Geoffrey Gilbert, Gareth Morris, John Francis and Harold Clarke (Cecilia’s father).

1. Mostar  |  2. London Bridge – crossing to America: a short span  |  3. Brooklyn Bridge

The structure of this work is itself like that of a bridge. The short middle movement, London Bridge, spans the divide by taking the last phrase of Mostar as its opening, exploring the darker tones of the lower instruments, and the first bar of Brooklyn Bridge as its close. In this movement the old English song, London bridge is falling down, is playfully decorated and shared between the parts. London Bridge, which had spanned the River Thames, England, was transported to Lake Havasu City, Arizona, in 1967.

The opening movement, Mostar, refers to the old single arch stone bridge in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina, which became such a symbol of peace and hope in the late 1990’s. In the outer sections of this movement the flutes explore the characteristic ‘fall’ at the end of the phrase which is quite a feature of some middle European music. The central section is lively and has a whirling, folk-dance feel to it.

At the time Brooklyn Bridge was built (1883) it was one of the longest suspension bridges in the world. It connects Manhattan with Brooklyn across the East River, always busy with traffic, and has a powerful presence on the New York skyline. The third movement of Crossing the Bridge is one of perpetual motion, opening with a bright, staccato texture, and is in the shape of a palindrome or arch. Restless and energetic it drives the work to an upbeat conclusion.

The title, Crossing the Bridge, comes from a Haiku by the poet Alan Spence:

  • Crossing the bridge – the other side is lost in mist.

The work is scored for piccolo, 4 flutes in C, 2 alto flutes and bass flute. The score includes optional parts for both the contra bass and the contra alto flutes.