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Frank Bridge

(1879—1941) composer and conductor


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(b Brighton, 1879; d Eastbourne, 1941).

Eng. composer, conductor, violinist, violist, and teacher. Played vn. and va. in several str. qts., incl. Joachim, Grimson, and English. Was a member of the last‐named until 1915. Also cond. of New SO and of opera during Marie Brema's 1910–11 season at the Savoy. Cond. at CG 1913 and many BBC studio concerts in 1930s. Visited USA 1923, under sponsorship of Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge, to cond. own works. Was noted teacher, but his only composition pupil was Benjamin Britten, who first went to him for lessons at the age of 14.

Bridge's early songs, chamber mus., and orch. works such as The Sea are in an idiom familiar to British audiences from the works of Bax, Ireland, and Delius. However, the impact of the First World War on one of deeply held pacifist convictions wrought a significant change and the piano sonata of 1921–4 showed a tougher harmonic idiom, with a more radical approach which in the 3rd and 4th str. qts. came near to the atonality of the Second Viennese School but nearer still to Scriabin. Yet Bridge never wholly severed his ‘Englishness’, as can be heard in the orch. tone‐poem Enter Spring (1927). His detachment from the ‘establishment’ figures in the Eng. mus. of his day led to his being regarded as an outsider and to the almost complete neglect of such major works as the Phantasm for pf. and orch. (1931) and the vc. conc. Oration (1930). It was not until his works were rehabilitated by his former pupil Britten at Aldeburgh Festivals that a new generation had its interest in him stimulated, leading to many more performances and recordings. Prin. comps.:

opera:

The Christmas Rose

(1918–29).

orch.:

Coronation March

(1901);

3 Orchestral Pieces

(1902);

Isabella

(1907);

Dance Rhapsody

(1908);

Suite

, str. (1910);

The Sea

(1910–11);

Dance Poem

(1913);

Summer

(1914);

Lament

, str. (also pf.) (1915);

Sir Roger de Coverley

, str. (also str. qt.) (1922);

Enter Spring

(1927);

There is a willow grows aslant a brook

(1928);

Oration

, concerto elegiaco, vc. and orch. (1930);

Phantasm

, pf. and orch. (1931);

2 Entr'actesRosemaryCanzonetta

(orch. of , pf. 1906 and , pf. 1926) (1936);

Vignettes de danseNiccollette, ZoraidaCarmelita

(, and , pf. 1925) (1938);

Norse Legend

(vn., pf., 1905) (1938);

Rebus Overture

(1940);

Allegro Moderato

, str. (1941, unfinished, last 21 bars orch. Anthony Pople 1979).

chamber music:

pf. trio (1900);

Scherzo Phantastick

, str. qt. (1901); str. qt. in B♭ (1901); pf. qt. in C minor (1902);

Phantasie String QuartetIdylls

(1905); 3 , str. qt. (1906);

Phantasie Piano Trio

(1907);

Allegro appassionato

, va. and pf. (1908);

Phantasie Piano Quartet

(1910);

Elégie

, vc. and pf. (1911); pf. quintet (1904–7); str. sextet (1906–12);

Heartsease

, vn., pf. (arr. pf. 1921) (1912); vc. sonata (1913–17);

Amaryllis

, vn., pf. (1915); str. qt. (1915);

Sally in our Alley, Cherry Ripe

, str. qt. (1916);

Morning Song

, vn., pf. (1919);

Souvenir

, vn., pf. (1919);

Sir Roger de Coverley

, str. qt. (1922); str. qt. No.3 (1925–6, rev. 1927); trio, rhapsody, 2 vn., va. (1928); pf. trio No.2 (1929); vn. sonata (1932); str. qt. No.4 (1937);

[...]

Subjects: Music.


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