Established: 30
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Title graphic: Frank Bridge: A Life in Brief
Established: 31

Another quartet in which Bridge played, the Ridgehurst Quartet, was formed purely for private performances. It was at Edward Speyer's house, Ridgehurst, at Shenley in Hertfordshire, that the quartet performed, with Speyer's son, Ferdinand, Ethel and Frank Bridge, and Ivor James as the personnel.19 According to Speyer:

Frank's name recalls to me many of the happiest hours of our life at Ridgehurst spent listening to chamber music. By reason of his great qualities as a musician, he dominated and guided the various London quartets with which he was associated from time to time. At Ridgehurst he was always ready not only to do music but to ensure the utmost possible perfection of performance. He has the conscience of the true artist.20

There were many enjoyable music parties at Ridgehurst and these included not only programmes of chamber music but also the private rehearsal of orchestral works when enough visitors could be pressed into service at any given time. Bridge's Dance Poem was played through at one of these rehearsals before its first public performance, and its impact only strengthened his belief in the work:

Ethel says our private rehearsal at Ridgehurst ... was enough to deaden all desire to hear any two consecutive notes of it again. However, this withering criticism only makes me bolder and more determined to show her that besides herself and the 'critics', there are others!21

The Bridges continued to visit Ridgehurst for many years to come, and one of the last parties held there was included in the celebrations for Edward Speyer's ninety-fourth birthday, on 14 May 1933.

19 Mrs Coolidge, Bridge's American patroness (see Mrs Coolidge and the American Experience: 43), called the quartet, 'The Old Gang'.
20 E Speyer, My Life and Friends, Cobden-Sanderson, 1937, p 221.
21 Letter, Frank Bridge to Mrs Speyer, 10 March 1914.