Earning a Living: 20
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Title graphic: Frank Bridge: A Life in Brief
Earning a Living: 21

By contrast, the reception history of The Sea was much more positive. Wood conducted the first performance at the Proms on 24 September 1912 with immediate success. The Times critic found the whole work 'vividly picturesque and full of fine feeling', and reported that 'the audience showed strong appreciation of each movement'.20 From then on it featured regularly at the Proms - Bridge conducted it the following year on 23 September - and elsewhere. Wood recounts in his autobiography, My Life of Music, how he played The Sea subsequently in France, Germany, Italy, Holland, South Africa and America with the greatest success. However, he was rather taken aback in later years by Bridge's apparent lack of interest when he told him of performances - 'Oh that. It's such an old work, why do you play it?', Bridge would remark.21

A final date from this period is worth mentioning. On 2 September 1908, Bridge was married to Ethel at St Mary's Church, Fulham. Having been awarded an ARCM(violin) and the Hill and Sons Violin Prize at the College, Ethel had travelled home to Elmore and had begun pursuing a career as a violinist there - a local concert generated so much interest that people had to be turned away from the doors. However, she returned to England in 1907 ready to take part in the first performance of Bridge's Piano Quintet (1904/5 version) (see Earning a Living: 12), and to play Bridge's Gondoliera at a recital at the Steinway Hall on 7 June.22 For the wedding, the Sinclairs arrived from Australia, and Ivy (Ethel's sister), who acted as a bridesmaid, took part in the first performance at the King's Room, Broadwoods of two of the Three Songs with Viola Obbligato, with Audrey Alston as the violist, and Bridge playing the piano. This was one of Bridge's very rare appearances as a pianist in public.

20 The Times, 25 September 1912.
21 H Wood, My Life of Music, Gollancz, 1938, p 274.
22 Ethel Bridge's presence in England during late May and early June suggests that she may have arrived earlier during the year, before 8 March (1907), so that she could attend the first performance of Bridge's Idylls, dedicated to her.