Earning a Living: 10
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Title graphic: Frank Bridge: A Life in Brief
Earning a Living: 11

Bridge was associated in particular with two concert-giving ventures, either as a member of the Grimson and English Quartets or as a free-lance violist. The first was a series of concerts arranged by Thomas Dunhill beginning in 1907. Dunhill, aware that a new work's second or third performance was often more difficult to obtain than the first, wanted to provide a platform for these performances. As a consequence Bridge took part in Friskin's Piano Quintet (7 February 1908), Vaughan Williams's Piano Quintet with Donald Tovey as the pianist (14 February 1908), and Dunhill's own Piano Quartet, Op 16 (5 March 1909). At an early concert in this series, on 14 June 1907, the Grimson Quartet performed Bridge's Piano Quintet (first version, 1904/5), Dunhill playing the piano part, preceded by the three Idylls. Three months earlier at their first performance (on 8 March), the Idylls had been described as 'pleasantly permeated by manly spirit and healthy sentiment',2 and certainly they were particularly important for Bridge. The dedication to Ethel Sinclair, who, when they were being composed, was far away in Australia, and the sombre, meditative character of the opening theme played on the viola,3 testify to the depth of the work's inspiration.

The other, more long-lived, series was that of the Classical Concert Society, the concerts of which usually took place at the Bechstein (now Wigmore) Hall. With the death of Joachim in 1907 and the demise of his annual series of chamber concerts, Edward Speyer, a noted patron of chamber music whom Bridge had first met in 1903, founded the Classical Concert Society to replace them. As the chairman, Speyer insisted on being solely responsible for the choice of programmes and artists, although he relied from time to time on the experience and criticism of Leonard Borwick and Tovey. The English String Quartet was frequently invited to provide programmes culled from their Classical and Romantic repertoires, and sometimes included items by Bridge as well. When works other than string quartets were given, Bridge had the chance to perform with such distinguished players as Maurice Sons (leader of the Queen's Hall Orchestra), Louis Fleury (the French flautist), Percy Grainger and Casals.

2 Musical Times, April 1907, p. 254.
3 At the first performance, Bridge, as a member of the Grimson Quartet, played second violin rather than viola.