The Late Works: 80
Site Map
Title graphic: Frank Bridge: A Life in Brief
The Late Works: 81

Just as the experiences of the 1923 visit had clarified in Bridge's mind some important issues in his life, so on this third visit some reflections as to whether or not to attend a concert given by the Brosa Quartet brought home to him the importance of tact when handling people, especially such sensitive people as musicians. This perception, if taken to heart earlier during his career, might have guaranteed Bridge greater success, particularly in the conducting world:

In some ways it is just as well [that I shall not attend the concert after all]. You know it is at times rather difficult not to say what is really wanted and when it is within an ace of a public performance a good many suggestions would be upsetting. You see, Toni has practically no knowledge and instinct is not enough, as we all know. Last night I arrived at a house where they were playing. I missed the Mozart quartet (or whatever it was) and heard Hindemith No. 3, which they appeared to be doing well (but undistinguished) and then the large G maj[or] Q[uarte]t [by] Schubert. I don't know how to keep from saying all I am aware of - but I did last night anyway. It is possible that the Quartet will eventually be a success, and as the general public and critics really do not know it would seem that the things that I want don't matter anyway. Still, if I had had to rehearse the B[rosa] Q[uartet] in that Schubert G maj[or] after three hours I guess that all four would have confessed that they realised they knew precious little before or else would have consigned me to the flames of hell. So there is only one way to get them to see various things and that is to rehearse my works and make them play nearer 100%. But, ye Gods, that won't really do it because each classic work has its own problems and so far as two of the four are concerned I don't think they are capable of applying the knowledge gained in one work to any other. Rather disturbing. And like most small minds, when one is asked for a criticism there is some half surprise upon hearing that what they are doing is not considered perfectly right. So I see that to remain friends it is simpler not to go and hear either the rehearsal this morning or the concert tomorrow afternoon ... And in spite of what I think they will probably do very well here. 75% or 80% of musical understanding doesn't please me. Of course I should never hesitate to say what I want with my own work - quite easy - and they would take it willingly and loyally, but I see I shall never interfere with their affairs of the printed note and the musical content of the classics ... N'importe. Toni is just a real pet. Wish I could give him tabloids of my 35 years' experience, but it is not likely, ever.10

10 Letter, Frank Bridge to Marjorie Fass, 6 November 1930.