Aug 4 2011: Both Sides Of The Bridge: Humber Bridge Suite and Humber Bridge Variations for Group (Writers Reign Productions, 1980)
Like Peter Hall’s The Estates and New Town Suite, as posted here on the 19 July, Both Sides of the Bridge is a privately pressed recording of music made to commemorate the grand opening of a large scale public infrastructure project. Where Peter Hall composed his music to celebrate Bracknell New Town in Berkshire, the various people involved in this recording are anticipating the completion of work on the Humber Bridge, begun in 1971, and – according to the record’s sleevenotes – “scheduled for completion in late 1980/early 1981”.
The record divides into two parts: on the North Side (there is no side one or two but instead a ‘north’ and a ‘south’ side) there is Suite: The Humber Bridge, an orchestral work by DJ Newstone and SL Burnby, arranged in five parts, to “celebrate the building of the Humber Bridge, painting a series of pictures of its development and creation”. Performed by the Arthur Burgan Humberside Concert Orchestra under conductor D. Scotney at the Humberside Theatre, it’s highly accomplished (in a mainly light orchestral manner) but probably not, in the end, essential listening.
The South Side is, to my ears anyway, somewhat more interesting: a rock-based set of Humber Bridge Variations For Group performed by Stoneferry. The Variations consist of the six-piece taking cues from the orchestral suite and interpreting these in new ways, most successfully, to my ears, on a track called Spinning that sounds like exactly the sort of intriguing but unclassifiable thing – all synthesisers, drums and otherworldly atmospherics – I find myself listening out for when checking the contents of dubious looking 1970s library LPs.