Personalities and the Piano Sonata: 35
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Title graphic: Frank Bridge: A Life in Brief
Personalities and the Piano Sonata: 36

Amongst friends, Bridge's direct approach was not regarded with unease, but was one of the likeable and refreshing characteristics of his personality. And Ivor James, during a lifetime's friendship, discovered in him a rare sense of loyalty and a heart of gold. He was, in addition, surprised at some of his accomplishments. Bridge was a good swimmer and enjoyed playing tennis. He was also domesticated, entertaining his friends, which included coping with the cooking when Ethel Bridge was away.

Although one of the keys to Bridge's personality was his gentleness, this did not mean that he lacked stamina. On the contrary, he was resilient, withstanding for the most part the negative criticism made of his music with equanimity. It is known that he was distressed by a hostile review of the Second Piano Trio (see Isolation: 64), but for the rest of the criticism - and during the late 1920s and 30s his work met with very little understanding - he could dismiss the attacks with a shrug of the shoulders. The feeling that his musical development was absolutely the right one for him was already well-established by the early 1920s. As Bridge asserted in his artistic credo, the true artist

writes to express his own honest views, not to please the public ... The self-criticism to which the artist subjects himself will prevent him from fostering an ill-prepared work upon the public. The true artist may be trusted to take that care, and the greater the artist he is, the greater the care he takes. After that, the truth of his message must make itself known. If he is sincere, then all is well. It is the sincerity of his work which is the real test. 8

Complete belief in his chosen path helped Bridge to counteract what, for a less self-reliant personality, would have been the depressing events of his later life.

8 Quoted in P J Nolan, Musical America, 17 November 1923, p 3.