Mrs Coolidge and the American Experience: 56
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Title graphic: Frank Bridge: A Life in Brief
Mrs Coolidge and the American Experience: 57

Bridge was fired with a new enthusiasm for composition. No longer need he waste his energies on earning a living but could devote himself entirely to composing. The great effort to develop his new style, an effort that had almost defeated him in the Piano Sonata, was at last overcome and composition again became more fluent. He completed the sonata during the first two months of 1924 on his return to England. Then, beginning in 1926, and for the following six years, he composed at least one major work annually, mostly of chamber music in deference to Mrs Coolidge's patronage, her choice combining happily with his own preference for the genre. His considerable output of songs and short piano pieces was terminated by Journey's End (1925) and Gargoyle (1928) respectively, since Bridge had outgrown the current English limitations of both genres and there would be a negligible market for further examples - significantly Gargoyle was rejected for publication by Boosey and Hawkes, and thus remained in manuscript during Bridge's lifetime.29 The first major work to follow the Piano Sonata, the Third String Quartet, reveals Bridge triumphantly at home with his late style, confident in his new powers, as he confesses in his dedicatory letter to Mrs Coolidge (12 October 1927);

That this score contains the best of me I do not doubt.30 It is most truly dedicated to you, being yours before a single note went down on paper, and in my heart it is remembered as a loving token of my devotion to you, dear Souzanne.

29 Gargoyle was published by Thames in 1977.
30 In his correspondence with Mrs Coolidge, Bridge frequently signed his name using musical notation, with the initial of his surname, B, translated into either B natural or B flat (in German nomenclature). The first three pitches of the Third String Quartet, B flat, E and F, could therefore stand for Bridge, Ethel and Frank. Did he also mean this when he wrote, 'the best of me'? Alternatively, the first four pitches, B flat, E, F and E flat, could represent Bridge, Ethel Bridge, Marjorie Fass and Sousie (Mrs Coolidge). ('Es' is E flat in German nomenclature.)