While arrangements for the first performance of Bridge's Third String Quartet in Vienna were coming to fruition, Bridge composed two orchestral works, the Impression: There is a Willow Grows Aslant a Brook and Enter Spring, the latter commissioned for the 1927 Norwich Festival. He began work on Enter Spring during August 1926, titles such as 'On Friston Down' and 'On Friston Hill' suggesting themselves, and completed the sketch by January the following year. However, further progress was interrupted by the composition of There is a Willow Grows Aslant a Brook. The title refers to the Queen's speech in Hamlet (Act 4, scene vii), where she describes Ophelia's death, drowned in a brook entangled by the 'fantastic' garlands of wild flowers that she had made for herself - Bridge called the work 'Ophelia' for short - and the music was completed in only a little over three weeks. Bridge could then return to Enter Spring, its scoring taking four months.
Neither work was received by the critics with approval. With Enter Spring, Ernest Newman in The Times,1 while not openly hostile, was not explicitly enthusiastic either. On the other hand, the Daily News critic was unashamedly unsympathetic: 'Truth to tell it has little to recommend it. It lacks spontaneity, melody, and, indeed, everything that makes music but noise'.2 So too was the reception of There is a Willow Grows Aslant a Brook by the Manchester Guardian critic:
[The piece] did not strike one either as a tremendously important contribution to modern British music or as a work likely to figure prominently among the fine musician's output ... His music ... is a completely satisfying equivalent neither of the poetical nor the dramatic value of the scene it depicts.3