Mrs Coolidge and the American Experience: 51
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Title graphic: Frank Bridge: A Life in Brief
Mrs Coolidge and the American Experience: 52

There had been a little friction over the choice of music for Detroit. The engagement of Bridge had been made on the condition that he conducted something of his that was popular; the audience disliked novelties. Finally it was agreed that Summer and Sir Roger de Coverley should be performed and in the event both proved acceptable. Bridge's conducting created a very favourable impression because of his 'straightforward, musicianly style',18 and Ethel felt that Summer had never sounded so lovely. Again Bridge was full of praise for the quality of the orchestra, although his by now deep admiration for American orchestras had its counterpart in deploring the condition of orchestras in England:

Isn't it saddening to think that we have nothing in England, in the way of orchestras to be compared to these in America? In this country you might even say that they have the cream of the European Orchestral instrumentalists. Even if these orchestras are the offspring of civic pride, with the sense of envy or jealousy of other cities, the net result is a great gain for the inhabitants. They do get Music. Just think ... this year the deficits in most of the budgets range from about $200,000 to $250,000. Can you see anyone in England (or any organization) willing to stump up such sums as these, and continue to do so? ... If anything were begun in our Land of Hope and Glory no committee would have the courage to go on in the face of huge deficits, and I can't think of anybody with a large purse who would willingly and gladly disburse their wealth in the way some of them do here.19

The last concert in New York was something of an anticlimax. The programme was too long - Schubert's Unfinished Symphony and Brahms's First Piano Concerto were followed after an interval by the Chant du Rossignol of Stravinsky and finally Bridge's Two Poems. During the Stravinsky the audience became very restive, shuffling noisily, talking and even laughing, and quite a substantial number of the audience left after it. More people walked out after the first of the Poems, leaving the audience further depleted.20

18 M D Furley, Musical America, 17 November 1923, p 33.
19 Letter, Frank Bridge to Marjorie Fass, 4 November 1923.
20 Letter, Frank Bridge to Marjorie Fass, 10 November 1923.