Isolation: 67
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Title graphic: Frank Bridge: A Life in Brief
Isolation: 68

During the 1930s the situation improved to a certain extent since Bridge was invited fairly regularly to conduct at the BBC. He had followed with great interest the events leading up to the formation of the BBC Symphony Orchestra in 1930, an orchestra which he came to regard as the best in the country, although his dealings with the BBC were hampered by his coolness towards Boult, appointed chief conductor at the orchestra's inception. Their relationship was hardly improved when, in 1938, Boult had to convey to Bridge the BBC's party-line that both his conducting and programmes had lost their freshness.

From among conductors it was Toscanini whom Bridge admired the most:

Toscanini has had, and is having still, a tremendous success with his concerts for the BBC - and with the BBC Orch[estra] too. His integrity has caught the concert-going public to an amazing extent and fortunately the huge army of listeners can enjoy the concerts as well as the 2000 in [the] Queen's Hall. It is always stimulating to find the public appreciating the best of things, not always so I fear, but it will stir their faculties and give them some standard to measure other performances. Even if everything is not precisely what one thinks one's self, I do believe that Toscanini is the nearest to an ideal in the orchestral world.16

On an earlier visit to England, Toscanini, this time conducting the New York Philharmonic on tour, had included Ravel's Boléro as his main novelty, but Bridge was amused to report to Mrs Coolidge that it was not the maestro who had given the first London performance of the work, but he himself (on 7 March 1930).17

16 Letter, Frank Bridge to Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge, 12 June 1935.
17 Letter, Frank Bridge to Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge, 22 April 1930.