The Beloved Vagabonds: 3
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Title graphic: Frank Bridge: A Life in Brief
The Beloved Vagabonds: 4

Lacking such learning aids as the radio, cassette and CD player (and now the world wide web), music students at the turn of the century had a more limited opportunity of becoming acquainted with a representative cross-section of the orchestral repertoire than today. However, a convenient way of becoming familiar with orchestral music was in the College rehearsals, and Stanford's choice of music was revealing. During Bridge's studentship, most of the music was by Romantic composers, with relatively little Mozart or Haydn. Beethoven was well represented, but Stanford performed Brahms's symphonies more regularly than Beethoven's. Of Wagner's works, the Siegfried Idyll, the overture to Die Meistersinger and two extracts from Parsifal were given, and Bridge played in a performance given by the College of Der fliegende Holländer (on 9 December 1898). However, the music of Berlioz, Liszt and Richard Strauss did not feature in the programmes. (To be fair to Stanford, it must be admitted that before Bridge's studentship both Berlioz's Harold en Italie and Symphonie Fantastique were performed, and during December 1903, after Bridge had left the College, Berlioz's Roméo et Juliette was included as part of the centenary celebrations of his birth. In addition, during the previous month (on 12 November), Stanford conducted the College orchestra in a performance of Strauss's Tod und Verklärung.5) There were a number of first performances of both staff and student works - Parry's Ode to Music, Hurlstone's Variations on a Hungarian Theme and suite The Magic Mirror, Vaughan Williams's Heroic Elegy - and two early performances of Elgar's Enigma Variations were given during December 1901 and the following February. By the time of the performances Bridge must have known these works well.

5 This performance provoked the following quip from Stanford: 'If it's to be Richard, I prefer Wagner. If Strauss, then give me Johann'. G Dyson, in Walford Davies et al, 'Charles Villiers Stanford by some of his pupils', Music and Letters, July 1924, p 196.