Biography 3: Increasing Isolation
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Title graphic: Letters
1: Bridge's views of the RCM and of orchestral players

Frank Bridge to Marjorie Fass, 18 June 1919

Look here Margot, if you had been a mere composer, instead of a landed proprietress amongst your many accomplishments, and had received a message on the 'phone that the Institution, at which you had imbibed water thro' a straw instead of glaxo and bovril, proposed to included a song with orchestra, which had been written during the nursery 1899-1903 period, at a College Festival in July, and as something representative of my work, what would you say?

I know. Precisely what I did. I said I preferred my name should not be on the prog[ramme] than that this thing should be down for performance. In fact I told the Director that the parts were already partly eaten by mice!! ... I also said 'Of course I didn't expect anyone connected with the old regime at Coll[ege] to know anything of my work since 1904'. I said I had the Brooke 'Blow out' for high voice but as they wanted a baritone song I thought it wasn't much use suggesting this.

This morning. 'Phone message. Some Tenor is to do it.

Frank Bridge to Marjorie Fass, dated 24 May 1927

Deep in me I know that there are too many instrumentalists in our orchestras who are indifferent to music. They have no musical faith whatsoever, but are merely labourers. They are even dishonest traders into the bargain. Willingly giving second best when paid for their first. The opening last night was awful. The Brass - when they came in - just blowing anyhow, only half sure they were right and some quite wrong ... I know why the poor devil of a conductor started the 'Ride' [from Wagner's Die Walküre] that much too fast and which couldn't be maintained when the subject was announced - awful feeling that when the pulse was changed - it was because he tried to get some kind of vitality into the playing. Unfortunately speed doesn't do it, but one's instinct is to do something to galvanize the players into living organisms.