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Author Topic: Frank Bridge  (Read 937 times)
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Man of Kent1
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« on: April 20, 2012, 17:48:52 PM »

A very British composer!
I have to confess I'd never heard of him until, twenty years ago, a work colleague brought in a cassette of a BBC broadcast and played it, very loudly, in the shop in St Peter's Street where we worked at the time.
It was Bridge's "The Sea", and I was immediately smitten  Cheesy !
Bridge was, as pomme homme kindly mentioned, born in Brighton, and helped his father out with the orchestra he ran, gaining much musical knowhow in the process.
He was more a players' composer than anything else, and his relative lack of popular, commercial success forced him to become a professional musician(viola) and conductor in order to make ends meet.  His rather irascible nature, and acerbic comments on some of his contemporaries, and the BBC, did not endear him to those with influence, and undoubtedly contributed to the Corporation passing him over for the position of Chief Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra.  Adrian Boult got the job instead.
Later in life he was financially supported by a wealthy American heiress and started, gradually, to experiment with different musical forms before his sudden death in 1941 in Eastbourne.
Bridge was also well-known as composition tutor to the young Benjamin Britten, who later paid tribute to his mentor with 'Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge', which is probably better known than Bridge's own music!
My favourite pieces of Bridge's are 'The Sea', 'Dance Rhapsody' and his last major work, 'Rhebus'.  Every Christmas I also play a 20-year old off-the-radio recording of his one and only opera, 'The Christmas Rose', which has never been commercially recorded.



Frank Bridge, (1879 - 1941)
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tallstory
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« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2012, 17:26:24 PM »

He lived quite close to me in Friston (when he wasn't in London). Could supply photo of house if interested.
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Man of Kent1
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« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2012, 23:50:20 PM »

Yes please, tallstory, and thank you!
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tallstory
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« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2012, 15:52:07 PM »

Happy to. Here are Frank and Ethel Bridge outside their Friston home called Friston Field. It is still there today but a little extended. This photo of the house was taken about 1930.

BTW his grave is in Friston churchyard.

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Man of Kent1
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« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2012, 23:14:43 PM »

Thanks!
The 14-year-old Benjamin Britten attended a concert after WWI at which Frank Bridge conducted his 'The Sea' Suite, and having heard it, he demanded that his parents let him study composition with the Bridge.
They agreed, and Britten was greatly influenced by his mentor when he came to compose in later years.  In fact I believe that Britten probably started writing the sort of music that Bridge himself may have done had he lived long enough.
Bridge's last work, 'Rhebus', was certainly different to anything else he'd done before!
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MichaelBully
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« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2017, 17:15:15 PM »

Have only just started listening to the work of Frank Bridge, born in in Brighton on 26th February 1879. Though attended  the Royal College Music, and there is a blue plaque to him in Kensington, Frank Bridge maintained a strong connection to  Sussex, regularly staying at Friston, between Seaford and Eastbourne. In the 1920's he relocated to Friston permanently.

There is some useful information here.

http://www.musicweb-international.com/bridge/chapt1.htm

Particularly like Frank Bridge's 'The Sea'





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Man of Kent1
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« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2017, 18:27:10 PM »

A convert - well done!
Bridge wrote some of the most seductive of British music here, and also shows how well he can use the orchestra's many colours.
Despite this he is never played on ClassicFm!
Richard Hickox, sadly no longer with us, made several 'Chandos' recordings of Bridge's music which encompassed much of his better-known output.
In addition, I have two 'Naxos' recordings of his piano music, played by Ashley Wass, and some works for string Quartet played by Canterbury's very own Maggini Quartet.
Among the most poignant pieces in my collection is Bridge's 'Lament', a five-minute tribute to a 9-year-old girl called Catherine, whose family he knew socially, who drowned in the sinking of the 'Lusitania' off Ireland in 1915. 
It makes me think of the true cost of war.
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MichaelBully
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« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2017, 19:47:19 PM »

A convert indeed.  I started a new thread about Frank Bridge not realising there was one already ! Said post now joins the existing thread but repeats what others  have already written.

Going to enjoy looking through the other posts and checking out pieces that are recommended.
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Man of Kent1
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« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2017, 09:07:21 AM »

"Enter Spring" is a satisfying piece to listen to, although I found I needed two or three hearings necessary to get to the soul of the music.
Good to play at this time of year when the garden looks a bit drab but the bulbs have started to poke through the earth and some of the early crocus have flowered!
Full of promise to come!
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alkhamhills
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« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2017, 10:07:20 AM »

Frank Bridge

Born 26.2.1879 Brighton

In 1911 with wife Ethel Elmore at 23 Foster Road, Chiswick. Also a servant and a Boarder(a trained nurse) Frank was a professor of Music

In 1939, at Friston Field with Ethel(born 10.7.1881). He was a Music Composer & Contractor.

Probate. Of 4 Bedford Gdns, Kensington and of Friston Field, Friston, Eastbourne. Died 10.1.1941 at Friston Field. Probate to Ethel Elmore Bridge, widow. Effects £8101.

Buried:-
Cemetery:   St Mary the Virgin Churchyard
Burial or Cremation Place:   Friston, Wealden District, East Sussex, England

From Find a Grave:_
“Composer. Born in Brighton, England, he studied at the Royal College of Music under Charles Villiers Stanford. Following his graduation in 1904 he played viola in the English String Quartet and acted as assistant to conductors Sir Thomas Beecham and Sir Henry Wood. His early compositions - including the "Three Idylls for String Quartet" (1906), the orchestral suite "The Sea" (1911), and the tone poem "Summer" (1914) - were influenced by Delius and the French Impressionists. A pacifist, Bridge was profoundly depressed by the slaughter of World War I, especially after his close friend, composer Ernest Farrar, was killed in battle in 1917. The Piano Sonata he dedicated to Farrar's memory (1925) introduced his mature phase, which was marked by harmonic advances along the lines of Schoenberg and Berg while remaining thoroughly English in character. His other important works include the Cello Sonata in D Minor (1917), the String Quartets No. 2 (1915), No. 3 (1925), and No. 4 (1937), the opera "The Christmas Rose" (1932), and "Enter Spring" (1927), "Oration" (1930), "Phantasm" (1931), and the "Rebus Overture" (1940) for orchestra. In his later years Bridge conducted abroad and made three tours of the United States, the last in 1938. He also taught privately, with Benjamin Britten emerging as his greatest pupil. Britten paid him tribute with his famous "Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge" (1937), and for many years the older composer was better known through this piece than for his own music. Today his chamber output in particular is highly regarded. “

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