Established: 22
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Title graphic: Frank Bridge: A Life in Brief
Established: 23

Not only as a composer but as a performer too, Bridge was a well-known figure, particularly in chamber-music circles. He continued to take part in the concerts arranged by the Classical Concert Society, occasionally conducting, as in a performance of Mozart's Serenade for 13 wind instruments (21 February 1912), but mostly playing the viola as a member of the English String Quartet. Ravel attended a concert given in his honour on 17 December 1913 when the quartet performed his String Quartet, 'played with perfect understanding',2 and the Introduction and Allegro, the latter work being conducted by the composer himself.3 Songs by Reger and Strauss also featured in the programme and piano pieces by Scriabin, including his Fifth Piano Sonata. Fauré was invited the following year, three concerts being devoted principally to his entire piano works but interspersed with selected items of chamber music. Bridge joined Lady Speyer (violin), Ivor James (cello) and the composer (piano) in one of his piano quartets (19 June 1914).

Occasionally contact with the Royal College of Music was still maintained. However, arrangements for the performance of Bridge's song with orchestra, Blow Out, You Bugles, at the first of three concerts held during July 1919 to commemorate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the opening of the new College building, reopened an old wound, his criticisms of its teaching. He explained in a letter to Marjorie Fass:4

Look here Margot, if you had been a mere composer, instead of a landed proprietress amongst your many accomplishments, and had received a message on the 'phone that the Institution, at which you had imbibed water thro' a straw instead of glaxo and bovril, proposed to include a song with orchestra, which had been written during the nursery 1899-1903 period, at a College Festival in July, and as something representative of my work, what would you say?

I know. Precisely what I did. I said I preferred my name should not be on the prog[ramme] than that this thing should be down for performance. In fact I told the Director that the parts were already partly eaten by mice!! ... I also said 'Of course I didn't expect anyone connected with the old regime at Coll[ege], to know anything of my work since 1904'. I said I had the Brooke 'Blow out' for high voice but as they wanted a baritone song I thought it wasn't much use suggesting this.

This morning. 'Phone message. Some Tenor is to do it.'5

2 The Times, 18 December 1913.
3 Bridge once described Ravel as looking 'sparky', a reference to the bird-like impression he produced on him. (See J Longmire, John Ireland, Baker, 1969, p 23.)
4 For Marjorie Fass, see Isolation: 76.
5 Letter, Frank Bridge to Marjorie Fass, 18 June 1919.