Mrs Coolidge and the American Experience: 53
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Title graphic: Frank Bridge: A Life in Brief
Mrs Coolidge and the American Experience: 54

For Bridge, the most important social occasion to take place during the American visit was the reception given for him by Mrs Coolidge at the Colony Club, New York, on 28 October. Neither Frank nor Ethel were looking forward particularly to the reception as they had spent most of the day travelling back from Boston to New York, but it proved most enjoyable. The evening's entertainment began with a dinner for about forty guests - Bridge led in Mrs Coolidge and Damrosch, Ethel - and it was followed by the reception, with the numbers swelling to nearly 200. Friends from England were well in evidence - Salmond and his wife, Friskin, Bliss, Grainger and the Rogers - and Bridge's American well-wishers included Gabrilovitch, Kochański, the Kniesels, Willeke and Kurt Schindler. Bridge was not at all happy until it became clearly established in his mind that there were to be no speeches. The highlight of the evening was the performance of some of Bridge's songs by Elena Gerhardt and the Idylls and Second String Quartet by the London Quartet. The inclusion of the quartet in the programme gave Bridge particular pleasure as it was one of his more recent works and provided the audience with some idea of his developing style. The second movement created the deepest impression, Ethel reporting that Damrosch was quite 'dotty' over it. Unfortunately, Gerhardt did not sing her best. She told Ethel afterwards that she had never felt so nervous during her career, on account of the very distinguished audience. None the less, much of the impact of the songs, which included Adoration, E'en as a Lovely Flower and Love Went a-Riding, came across.23

Further performances of Bridge's works in New York took place a few weeks later. Following the disappointing début of the Two Poems on 11 November, both the Cello Sonata and the Second String Quartet were given in concerts at the Aeolian Hall two days later, one in the afternoon, the other in the evening. According to Bridge,24 Salmond played splendidly in the Cello Sonata, and both Rubinstein and Kindler had high praise for the work. The London String Quartet played the quartet even better than at the reception, returning to the platform four times to receive the applause. Bridge naturally felt most encouraged by all this sympathy for his work and in a letter to Marjorie Fass poured out his plans for the future:

There was an enthusiastic note in the audience which, whether it really counts or not, makes me want to rush home and write music. You would have enjoyed the sho' Margany. All I want is a large commission to write a symphony, large enough to keep me off practical professional work for two years. Not that I don't want to write another st[rin]g quartet, but I do want to create a big work for orchestra, and by gad, I know I don't want to be in Detroit or Cleveland! but in Fripon or B.Gs. [Bedford Gardens]25

23 Letters, Ethel Bridge to Marjorie Fass, 29 October 1923 and Frank Bridge to Marjorie Fass, 2 November 1923.
24 Letter, Frank Bridge to Marjorie Fass, 15 November 1923.
25 Letter, Frank Bridge to Marjorie Fass, 15 November 1923.