27 Oct 2013

Frank Bridge (1879-1941)

From Composer of the Week, 9:16 am on 27 October 2013
Frank Bridge

Frank Bridge Photo: Frank Bridge Trust


Frank Bridge is best remembered for having taught Benjamin Britten, rather than as a composer of captivating music. But Michael Stewart describes Bridge as “one of the most under-rated and inspired British composers of the early 20th century.” Britten himself championed his teacher’s works. So what happened? If he really was good, why don’t we know his music better?

Before the First World War Bridge was content writing works in a late-Romantic idiom, but he couldn’t reconcile that style with the horrors of war, so left it behind. His later works are edgier, expressing anger and bitterness. The public didn’t like the change and Bridge remained known by many for his earlier and less substantial works. Was Bridge’s real problem that he was out of step with his time and place?

Thanks to London Conchord Ensemble for the use of your recording in this programme

Music Details:

BRIDGE:  Enter Spring - New Philharmonia/ Benjamin Britten (BBC Music BBCB 8007)
BRIDGE trans Jacob:  Allegro Appassionato - Louise Williams (vla), David Owen Norris (pno) (ASV CD DCA 1064)
BRIDGE:  Go not, happy day - Paul Whelan (bar), David Harper (pno) (Trust MMT 2023)
BRIDGE: Phantasie Piano Quartet in F# minor - London Bridge Ensemble (Dutton CDLX 7205)
BRIDGE:  Stg Quartet No 3  - Maggini Quartet (Naxos 8.557133)
BRIDGE:  The Sea - NZSO/ James Judd (Naxos 8.557167)
BRIDGE:  Piano Sonata, mvt 3 - Ashley Wass (pno) (Naxos 8.557921)
BRIDGE:  Oration - Alban Gerhardt (cello), BBC National Orch of Wales/ Richard Hickox (Chandos CHAN 10188)
BRIDGE: Divertimenti for Wind - London Conchord ensemble (Private)
BRIDGE: The Sea - NZSO/ James Judd (Naxos 8.557167)

Get the new RNZ app

for easy access to all your favourite programmes