Bridge to the Sea

July 10, 2016 at 9:00 am

There’s something magical about the big water. A trip to the sea refreshes us, helps us to forget, makes us think about bigger things. I myself have just arrived at the ocean for a week of trying to remember (or figure out?) who I am.

Not surprisingly, the sea has been an inspiration to countless composers. If I were to write a post about every water-themed piece, I would need to spend more than a month at the seaside, and sadly I’m not given that much vacation time.

I stumbled on today’s piece indirectly through my studies on Benjamin Britten (who, incidentally, wrote a TON of sea-themed music.)  Britten was a wee lad of thirteen when he heard Frank Bridge‘s composition, The Sea, and was completely blown away by it – so much so, that Britten sought Bridge out as a composition teacher, thus starting a lifelong, loving relationship of student and mentor. Bridge was considered one of England’s leading composers during his lifetime, but has since fallen into a bit of obscurity; this just means that his music is due for a revival! The Sea was written a few years after Debussy wrote La Mer (the English and the French are always trying to one-up each other.) La Mer is better-known, perhaps, since Bridge’s take on the ocean is much more musically conservative. Even so, it’s a lovely piece, and I’m glad to have found it, even if through the back door.