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  • Will Davenport

Blade of Light - an ode to the Millennium Bridge (Illuminated River Project)

Updated: Sep 30, 2019






Listen to the wonderful live performance of my piece Blade of Light - my ode to the Millennium Bridge, conducted by Peter Longworth, performed by the Guildhall Session Orchestra, and front of house electronics mixed by the Guildhall AV department. ____________

"I consider the Millennium Bridge to be a triumphant partnership of engineering and artistry. For me, it represents the blazing optimism and momentum of the beginning of the twenty-first century. When you come to walk across the bridge at present you can get a quick, sharp glimpse of the vibrant chaos of London. These are all things that I wanted to embody within my high-octane, jet-fuelled piece, Blade of Light"



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Widely considered a triumphant partnership of engineering and artistry, the Millennium Bridge embodies a spirit of optimism and momentum that was present at the beginning of the 21st century. The bridge is also a cultural landmark for 21st Century British pop culture.






Famously, the bridge was swarmed by Death Eaters in the Harry Potter franchise. It also seems like every single London-based espionage film has to include a shot of the Millennium Bridge to confirm the setting of contemporary London. Perhaps this is because of the bridge’s unabashed cultural representation of forward momentum and looking to the future. This momentum and energy is at the heart of my piece ‘Blade of Light’.



The birds-eye contour of the bridge inspiring the rhythmic string accentuations.

The light artist Leo Villareal has quite literally turned the Millennium Bridge into a ‘blade of light’, now almost like a thin laser beam, giving the bridge an even more contemporary edge and energy. Light travels from one side of the bridge to the other as thin pulsations, transferring momentum and energy from one side to the other. This energy is something that I was very keen on maintaining in my piece. The idea of maintaining the momentum, the optimism of the millennium was very important. Quite unlike London’s other bridges, the engineering of it is focussed horizontally rather than vertically, through the principle of lateral suspension – from one end of the bridge to the other. This suspension from one end of the piece to the other was a very important thing to maintain – I did this through suspending chords that gradually amend themselves throughout, and letting them maintain a sense of constant anticipation, excitement and optimism.


I am very proud to be a part of the long standing Illuminated River project. For more information, go to https://illuminatedriver.london


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