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2: Metamorphosis

In 1912, Bridge's substantial revision of the Piano Quintet (1905) and String Sextet (1906) signalled the end of his first period, before he embarked on a stylistic development that led to a more profoundly expressive language but one that was in time to alienate his listeners. This development is most marked in the orchestral Dance Poem (July, 1913), where the music is increasingly chromatic, held together by a more rigorous thematic treatment, and in the piano piece, Solitude (December, 1913). In the latter, a sense of key is often all but suspended, the chord progressions created not through the use of traditional functional tonal relationships, but from the part-writing's semitonal movement.

This stylistic development did not take the form of a logical progression, however. During the First World War, Bridge wanted to write music that would provide comfort and solace. Thus the three orchestral pieces of 1915, Summer and the Two Poems are more easily accessible - the former is a study in pastoral sensuousness reminiscent of Delius. Composed during the war, Bridge's only large-scale choral and orchestral work, A Prayer (1916/8), is indebted to the English choral tradition of Stanford and Parry, enlivened at times by a Holstian intensity.

Nonetheless, the piano suite, The Hour Glass (1920), continues Bridge's progress towards modernism, particularly in the third movement, The Midnight Tide, where processes suggested in Solitude are treated more systematically, and the incipient bitonality found there becomes more pronounced.