The Late Works: 92
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Title graphic: Frank Bridge: A Life in Brief
The Late Works: 93

If such a thing [as arranging the Divertimenti for string quartet] had been at all possible, dear Souzanne, I should have at once got down to a transcription for St[rin]g Quartet, but they are born for wind instruments and their own particular idiosyncracies! (Hope that's the way to spell such a word!) And so that's that for their début on the great 30th. Never mind (to both of us). They'll certainly keep. But it was odd that they should have turned themselves as [into?] pieces for wood-wind when a second's wiser consideration would have said: 'Why not good-old Stg 4tet! [String Quartet]' However, they simply had to be as they are, my dear, and some time or other I hope you'll have them done. In any case, I'm holding these wind pieces aloof from publishers and performers alike until after I've been over [to America].36

As we have seen, the Fourth String Quartet was chosen for the 1938 Founder's Day Concert instead.

Bridge, although disappointed, still wished for a time to pursue his original plan, and hoped that the Divertimenti could be performed for the first time at a Founder's Day Concert and hence on Mrs Coolidge's birthday. However, the first performance was given in a broadcast by the BBC during July 1939. Subsequently Mrs Coolidge arranged for the American première to take place at the Ninth Festival of Chamber Music at the Library of Congress, Washington, on 14 April 1940, which meant that, with the war in progress, Bridge could not attend. There was no alternative but to draw some solace from the situation:

You can imagine my pleasure at hearing that the 'Divertimenti' came to a performance at the Washington Fest[ival]. I am quite in the dark as to the wind players who were concerned. But, no matter, as I could not be present, it is sufficient to know that it was played. Things have to find their own niche somehow. One cannot always prepare the feather-bed for fledglings, however desirable it may be, although I always hanker after the slogan of 'under the composer's direction'.37

Sadly, this was the last work Bridge was able to dedicate to Mrs Coolidge.

36 Letter, Frank Bridge to Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge, 2 June 1938.
37 Letter, Frank Bridge to Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge, 18 May 1940.