The Golden Thread

February 29, 2020
John Holden

Libby: As I was already involved with lyric writing, John challenged me to write a whole song that he would then write the music for. This is the opposite of his usual way of working so it posed a challenge for him too. For personal reasons, I wanted to write my own requiem that was also a love song. I was interested by the idea of the golden thread of a person’s life as referenced in the ancient Greek and Roman myths of the ‘Three Fates’. While researching the topic, I came across the 1885 painting, ‘A Golden Thread’ by John Melhuish Strudwick, a lesser-known Pre-Raphaelite artist. I’m a big fan of the Pre-Raphaelite movement so decided to dig deeper. I discovered that some of Strudwick’s paintings were inspired by the poetry of his close friend, George Frederick Bodley whose poetry turned out to be a rich source of inspiration for my lyrics.

We wanted the structure and feel of the song to be in keeping with love songs performed in Victorian parlours with a piano accompaniment. For me, the combination of John’s music, Oliver Wakeman’s piano, the sublime voices of That Joe Payne and Lauren Nolan plus the beautiful orchestral arrangement by Vikram Shankar have resulted in a track that perfectly conveys the meaning and emotion of the piece I had envisaged. I am deeply thankful to them all.

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