Another prolific pupil of Corder, Sir Arnold Bax (1883-1953), self-confessed "brazen romantic" and Celtic enthusiast, established his reputation with a substantial collection of tone poems, including In the Faery Hills (1909) and Tintagel (1919). Subsequently he embarked on a series of seven symphonies, the First (1922), by turns aggressive and searingly elegiac, a bitter response to the events of the First World War and the Easter Rising of 1916. John Ireland (1879-1962), too, was deeply affected by the war, the Edwardian pleasantries of his Phantasie Piano Trio (1906) being displaced by the sour harmonies of the Second Piano Trio (1917), written, according to Ireland, with "the boys going over the top of the trenches" in mind. Also like Bax, Ireland was an accomplished pianist, and both developed an individual pianism - Bax, for instance, in his Second Piano Sonata (1919) and in Winter Legends for piano and orchestra (1930), Ireland in his Concerto (1930) and in Sarnia (1941), three pieces celebrating Guernsey, one of Ireland's spiritual homes.
In contrast to Ireland's stylistic evolution, that of Frank Bridge (1879-1941) paralleled radical trends on the Continent more closely. As a pupil of Stanford (as was Ireland and the vast majority of English composers of his generation), Bridge's initial idiom was conservative, although invigorated by thorough professionalism as in the First String Quartet (1906) and Phantasy Piano Quartet (1910). However, in response to an increasing awareness of musical developments abroad and a deepening consciousness accelerated by his reaction to the war - Bridge was a pacifist - his late style, heralded in the monumental and sometimes systematically bitonal Piano Sonata (1924), was brought to fruition in the highly chromatic, aggressively energetic Third String Quartet (1927). The latter work, dedicated to the American patron of chamber music, Mrs. Sprague Coolidge, who supported Bridge financially from 1923 on, was succeeded by further chamber works in similar style, including the spacious Piano Trio (1929), before a partial relaxation was achieved in the partly neoclassical Fourth String Quartet (1938). The centrepiece of these late works is the elegiac cello concerto, Oration (1930), a funereal address for the lost of the First World War and, by implication, a passionate indictment of all war.