ANDREW LLOYD-WEBBER – GREAT AND FRUITFUL
Even those who are far from the world of music have probably heard at least once about the outstanding composer Andrew Lloyd-Webber and his immortal creations – the musicals The Phantom of the Opera, Cats, Evita and the rock opera Jesus Christ the Superstar. For nearly half a century, he dedicated to creating music that resonated in the hearts of hundreds of millions of listeners all over the world.
March 22, 1948 was a significant day in the history of South Kensington – one of the districts of London. I must say that at that time only two people understood this – Gene and William Lloyd Webbers, because they were incredibly excited about the birth of their first child, Andrew. Grandmother Molly Johnstone was also happy about her grandson, in whose apartment the whole family settled. The boy was lucky to be born in a musical family – his father played the organ and was the director of the Royal College of Music, his mother taught piano.
Andrew grew up on fertile soil, he enjoyed playing the violin, and at the age of six earned flattering reviews in a local music magazine about several piano compositions published. Mama Jean noticed that the son does not like to perform someone’s work, only his own. Pedagogical flair prompted her composer Andrew Lloyd-Webburn to cross the child in such a sensitive issue. So began the thorny path of Andrew in art. By the way, his younger brother Julian, who became a famous cellist, chose the same path.
At the age of eight, Andrew was accepted into a prestigious educational institution, the Westminster Preparatory School, and he was enrolled in the secondary school itself. In those years, Andrew made love not only to music, but also to the history of the Middle Ages, which contributed to the trip to numerous monuments of architecture in England. Parents even predicted a great future for him in the academic world, but these dreams remained unfulfilled. And all thanks to one of the concerts, where thirteen-year-old Andrew won the applause of the public and, inspired with success, made the final choice in favor of music. At this evening, he had to play several pieces, and he unexpectedly for all performed excerpts from his compositions, which won the audience.
While the world was hippovat and fanatel from the Beatles group, sixteen-year-old Lloyd-Webber pored over his works, one of which he decided to send to an authoritative record company “Decca”. By happy coincidence, his melody did not get lost among thousands of others, but caught the eye of musical agent Desmond Elliot. This fact is unlikely to have played any role in the fate of Andrew, composer Andrew Lloyd-Webber, if not this acquaintance of Desmond in absentia with a certain Timothy Rice – a member of a little-known pop group and songwriter. It was Eliot who told Rice about the existence of Webber.
Tim wrote a letter to Andrew, and after a few days they began to work together on the musical “Such as We.” Rice was the exact opposite of Lloyd-Webber in everything, which is probably why they complemented each other in the first place in his work.
The full work of young creators was hampered by the fact that Andrew was to go to Magdalen College, Oxford, where he won a scholarship to study by writing an excellent work on Victorian architecture. Andrew was afraid that while he was learning, the co-author of the librettist would be taken from under his nose. After taking academic leave after the first semester, he did not return to Webber College.
Lloyd-Webber’s Second Attempt
The debut musical Tim and Andrew, contrary to the expectations of the authors, had no success. However, the guys were not very upset and took up the new project – composer Andrew Lloyd-Webber teacher Julian (Andrew’s younger brother) invited them to write a small cantata for the school concert on the biblical story. Thus was born another brainchild of Timothy and Andrew called “Joseph and his amazing colorful raincoat of dreams.”
The school community had the honor to hear this creation on March 1, 1968. The presentation included, among other parents, the author of the Sunday Times music column, who wrote positive material about this event. A few flattering reviews in other editions did their job, and the musicians had a contract with New Ventures in their pocket.
And the superstar has risen
In 1969, the authors created a rock opera “Jesus Christ – superstar”. The appearance of this work was one of the most striking cultural events of the last century. The album with singles from “Jesus” was sold in huge circulation, making celebrities Andrew and Tim. It should be noted that the libretto of a rock opera caused a mixed reaction from the public. Interpretation of the last week of Jesus’s life, as Judas saw it, caused many protests of believers. Although they did not prevent the authors from making a theatrical production and becoming witnesses of the film adaptation of the musical in 1973.
At the same time in the life of Andrew Lloyd-Webber there were changes on a personal front. He married Sarah Hugill, who had just graduated from school. The couple had two children – a daughter Imogen and a son Nicholas.