The Late Works: 84
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Title graphic: Frank Bridge: A Life in Brief
The Late Works: 85

Performances of The Christmas Rose have been few. The first production, which consisted of a run of three student performances, opened on 8 December 1931 at the Royal College of Music, London, with Bridge conducting. The staging and lighting pleased him immensely.20 Through this production he tried to interest the BBC in the work but the reaction was negative. No further performances took place during Bridge's lifetime, although a revival, again in student performances at the College, ran from 8-11 December, 1965. Subsequently a broadcast (December 1979) and a recording (1983) followed.

Although Bridge knew that Mrs Coolidge's interest lay first and foremost in chamber music (and the occasional work for chamber orchestra such as Hindemith's Konzertmusik for piano, brass and harps), he mentioned to her the completion of his next two works, Oration, Concerto Elegiaco for cello and orchestra and Phantasm,21 Rhapsody for piano and orchestra, in the hope that they might engage her sympathy. However, Mrs Coolidge's reply regarding Oration was an unbroken silence and for Phantasm a polite but firm refusal, despite the fact that Bridge had actually dedicated the latter to her, 'for you from me'. Since Mrs Coolidge's income had been reduced significantly by the current American slump, she felt that she could take on no commitments outside chamber music. Bridge was therefore cast back on his own resources when arranging first performances of these works, a lengthy process in both cases. In the event, the première of Phantasm came first, while the even more prolonged arrangements for Oration were still under way:

It has been fixed for Kathleen Long to play the Rhapsody 'Phantasm' at a series of British concerts in January. So I believe I shall now hear that without waiting to be 75, and with a little more turn of the wheel I think I shall soon hear the Concerto Elegiaco for Cello and Orch, which Felix [Salmond] has not yet played, [and] which Guil[hermina] Suggia might have, if she had any urge to play something later than Sammartini, Tartini and Nardini. O these prima donne.22

20 Letter, Frank Bridge to Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge, 14 December 1931.
21 'Phantasm' is defined in The Shorter Oxford Dictionary as an 'illusion', a 'ghost' or 'shadow'.
22 Letter, Frank Bridge to Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge, 7 October 1933.