The Late Works: 81
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Title graphic: Frank Bridge: A Life in Brief
The Late Works: 82

It was not long before the Trio was broadcast by the BBC, on 9 January 1931, and a further prestigious performance took place in the autumn on another of Mrs Coolidge's mobile festivals, with concerts given at European capital cities as far apart as Moscow, Budapest and Paris. While the Europa was anchored off Southampton on its way to the Continent, Bridge met Mrs Coolidge on board for what seemed a very brief quarter of an hour, quickly renewing their acquaintance after their last meeting in America the previous year. He rejoined her a fortnight later in Paris, where the Trio was to be performed (on 30 October). Marcelle Meyer replaced Harriet Cohen in the ensemble, a situation Bridge did not relish at first, although his fears were unfounded as Meyer showed considerable sympathy for the work and the performance was first-rate. It was such a relief to know that the Trio really had no superhuman difficulties.11

At the festival Bridge also conducted a performance of Hindemith's Konzertmusik for piano, brass and harps (1930), another of Mrs Coolidge's commissions, with Emma Lübbecke-Job as the soloist. Bridge had already conducted this work for a BBC broadcast the previous March, but it was the first time he had ever directed a non-English-speaking orchestra. Luckily, there were no problems:

It was extremely interesting to have to rehearse the work with total strangers! Such fun for my French!12 We got on together splendidly. After the concert you would have been amused to have seen the ten brass players solemnly shaking my hand as if to take away a souvenir of the performance.13

Before starting to compose his next major work, Oration, Bridge returned to a project he had left incomplete some years previously, as he explained to Mrs Coolidge:

I am in a queer sort of world at the moment. Looking through a three-quarter-sketched work - kind of opera on the nativity - which I left in the cold some ten years ago, I was surprised to find that I thought it had too many good things in it to discard altogether. So I have been putting it in order - or trying to - and in a little while I expect to put my nose to the grind-stone and make the full-score. Always a tedious business, but as it will be only for a small theatre with a moderate orchestra of about 30 players it ought to be done in two or three months. It is an interesting experience putting one's thoughts into a ten-year-old mould. In fact to be 'forty' again!14

11 Letter, Frank Bridge to Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge, 9 November 1931.
12 Bridge spoke French fairly well, sometimes corresponding in the language.
13 Letter, Frank Bridge to Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge, 9 November 1931.
14 Letter, Frank Bridge to Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge, 5 April 1929.