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Thread: Frank Bridge

  1. #16
    Moderator TurnaboutVox's Avatar
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    As we compile a TC list of recommended piano trios, I would particularly like to draw people's attention to Bridge's two substantial works in the genre.

    The 'Phantasie' (single movement in arch-form) Piano Trio in C minor (1907) for violin, cello and piano, H. 79, which won first prize in the 1908 Cobbett Chamber Music Competition, is a late romantic work of lush, melancholy beauty

    The Piano Trio No. 2, H.178 (1928–1929) is astringent, chromatic and dissonant - and as fine a piano trio as has been written in the first half of the 20th century. It was not well received by critics at its premiere in the UK in 1929 ("It seems evident that he has made common cause with the advocates of modernity and put technical interest before aesthetic pleasure") but it received a more enthusiastic reception in the US. It is now widely regarded as one of Bridge’s "most satisfying and imaginative achievements".

    There exists also an early Piano Trio in D minor, H.1, (1900) and three sets of three miniatures (H. 87, 88 & 89) written as study pieces.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TurnaboutVox View Post
    As we compile a TC list of recommended piano trios, I would particularly like to draw people's attention to Bridge's two substantial works in the genre.

    The 'Phantasie' (single movement in arch-form) Piano Trio in C minor (1907) for violin, cello and piano, H. 79, which won first prize in the 1908 Cobbett Chamber Music Competition, is a late romantic work of lush, melancholy beauty

    The Piano Trio No. 2, H.178 (1928–1929) is astringent, chromatic and dissonant - and as fine a piano trio as has been written in the first half of the 20th century. It was not well received by critics at its premiere in the UK in 1929 ("It seems evident that he has made common cause with the advocates of modernity and put technical interest before aesthetic pleasure") but it received a more enthusiastic reception in the US. It is now widely regarded as one of Bridge’s "most satisfying and imaginative achievements".

    There exists also an early Piano Trio in D minor, H.1, (1900) and three sets of three miniatures (H. 87, 88 & 89) written as study pieces.
    I have quite a bit of Frank Bridge's work. I like it a lot. Among his piano trios I have:

    H 79 - Phantasie Piano Trio in C minor: Jack Liebeck (violin), Alexander Chaushian (cello), Ashley Wass (piano)

    H 178 - Piano Trio No 2: Bernard Watts Piano Trio

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    Earlier I was listening to the String Quartet No. 3 (Naxos, Maggini Quartet), a work written in the late period of the composer. It's a grim, astringent piece that possibly doesn't appeal to some, but I found it engaging and with substance. The development is thorny, yet the music has a visceral nature.

    Something I have noticed over the years is that the more works I listen to from different composers and styles, the more I become tolerant of that music. This has happened with this quartet. If I had listened to this work when I started listening to classical music, I would have hated it. It's definitely a rewarding experience.

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    Came across this composer at one of Steven Isserlis recitals. Was impressed.

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    The 3rd string quartet is indeed astringent and austere, and it was the last of Bridge's quartets that I came to appreciate. I've been playing it a few times lately (Maggini Quartet on Naxos), along with three early works of easier charm but also some considerable merit - the early "Phantasie" string quartet in F# of 1905, the Novelletten (1904) and the Three Idylls (1906). These all preceded his 'first' (numbered) string quartet but contain elements of the later works, with an impressionist style and an experimental use of tonality.

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    Yesterday I played the Piano Trio No. 2 and the Violin Sonata. These ones are the more demanding works I've heard so far, they belong to another more advanced league with no doubts. I'll have to be more patient if I want to absorb them appropriately.

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    I'm happy to inform you that Bridge wrote two (published) violin sonatas. The first was recorded by Tasmin Little (and Piers Lane, I think) on one of her volumes of British violin sonatas. The second, a latish (1925) and modernist work is much better known, though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TurnaboutVox View Post
    I'm happy to inform you that Bridge wrote two (published) violin sonatas. The first was recorded by Tasmin Little (and Piers Lane, I think) on one of her volumes of British violin sonatas. The second, a latish (1925) and modernist work is much better known, though.
    I only know the last Violin Sonata. Thanks for alerting me of the early sonata.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TurnaboutVox View Post
    I'm happy to inform you that Bridge wrote two (published) violin sonatas. The first was recorded by Tasmin Little (and Piers Lane, I think) on one of her volumes of British violin sonatas. The second, a latish (1925) and modernist work is much better known, though.
    Any recording info, TV? Amazon's not offering anything apart from the Tasmin Little recording of the earlier sonata.
    '...a violator of his word, a libertine over head and ears in debt and disgrace, a despiser of domestic ties, the companion of gamblers and demireps, a man who has just closed half a century without a single claim on the gratitude of his country or the respect of posterity...' - Leigh Hunt on the Prince Regent (later George IV).

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    This is the one I have (may not be another currently available, I'm not sure though. Edit - no, there are a few recordings to choose from). Into the bargain, the CD cover art is from a painting by the splendid Eric Ravilious.




    Bridge: Phantasy Piano Quartet & Sonatas

    The Nash Ensemble:
    Marianne Thorsen (violin), Laura Samuel (violin), Lawrence Power (viola), Paul Watkins (cello) & Ian Brown (piano)

    "What this beautifully played and thoughtfully programmed disc has going for it are, first, that it presents these works in a chronological survey of Bridge's chamber output...Altogether, a valuable... — BBC Music Magazine, December 2013, **** "

    Release Date: 30th Sep 2013
    Catalogue No: CDA68003
    Label: Hyperion
    Last edited by TurnaboutVox; Jun-14-2018 at 22:40.

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