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Title graphic: Frank Bridge: A Life in Brief
The Beloved Vagabonds: 6

Bridge's progress at his studies was given official recognition in 1899 when he was awarded a foundation scholarship that enabled him to remain at the College a further four years and study composition with Stanford. Bridge's fellow composition students included Boughton, Dunhill, Holst, Hurlstone and Ireland; Coleridge-Taylor and Vaughan Williams had just left and Bliss, Eugene Goossens, Howells and Moeran were soon to arrive. In technical matters Stanford was rigorous and highly critical; he hated anything that was slovenly or vulgar.7 The first year's study consisted of a thorough grounding in the modes and in Palestrinian counterpoint, while original composition was forbidden until the second year. With original work, Stanford would insist that compositions were above all practicable, that they should suit entirely the medium for which they were composed. He would ask pupils to play through their compositions with fellow students, or if they were better than the usual run of the mill, would himself arrange for the College orchestra to perform them.

Stanford's emphasis on complete practicability and professionalism made a lasting impression on Bridge as, indeed, it did on his other pupils, and in this way, his teaching was truly beneficial. On the other hand, his musical imagination was limited. His wholehearted admiration for the classics, on which his own compositions had been based, led him to disapprove with equal intensity the music of his more progressive contemporaries. A terminal report received by George Dyson read: 'Has a bad fit of chromatics. Hope he will soon grow healthy and diatonic'.8 A too frequent use of dissonance could actually produce a distressing physical reaction in Stanford. For young composers eager to come to grips with the latest music, this conservatism was particularly galling. The oft-repeated, 'It won't do, me bhoy' or 'This is damned ugly, me bhoy', even if accompanied by traces of a softening smile, could leave the pupil sullen and resentful.

7 H Howells in Walford Davies et al., 'Charles Villiers Stanford by some of his pupils', Music and Letters, July 1924, p 199.
8 G Dyson in Walford Davies et al., 'Charles Villiers Stanford by some of his pupils', Music and Letters, July 1924, p 196.