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Title graphic: Frank Bridge: A Life in Brief
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The critics' disapproval of some of Bridge's more recent compositions did not indeed affect the popularity of his earlier chamber works, which continued to be performed regularly by many different ensembles and soloists. The Philharmonic String Quartet included the Novelletten, Idylls, Two Old English Songs and An Irish Melody in their repertoire and took the Idylls with them on a fortnight's tour of France in November 1919. Felix Salmond, who gave the first performance of the Cello Sonata on 13 July 1917, at the Wigmore Hall, continued to perform the work where possible and included it in a programme at Amsterdam in 1921. Ivor James and Cedric Sharpe both enjoyed playing the sonata as well. It was probably the London String Quartet, however, who were the most enthusiastic in promoting Bridge's chamber compositions. Their policy was to include a British work at each concert and quite often this was by Bridge.16 In 1916 alone, they gave performances in London of his First String Quartet, An Irish Melody, Two Old English Songs, Phantasy Piano Quartet, Piano Quintet and the Second String Quartet, of which they had given the première on 4 November the previous year.

Among the orchestral works, The Sea continued to be performed the most regularly. The fate of the other earlier pieces was not encouraging. Isabella received a performance on 8 May 1915, conducted by Bridge, at one of Isidore de Lara's concerts, but was never heard again. The Dance Rhapsody did not fare much better. After the performance in London in 1914 mentioned previously, there were two performances at the Albert Hall in 1918 and 1919, but after that the score and parts were mislaid (not by Bridge) for fifteen years, a fact that more or less effectively barred further performances of this work during his lifetime.

16 The cellist in the quartet, Charles Warwick-Evans, was an old College friend - see The Beloved Vagabonds: 7.