Bridge, Frank


Bridge, Frank

Quintet for Piano, Two Violins, Viola & Violoncello (score and parts)


Frank Bridge

(b. Brighton, 26 February, 1879 – d. Eastbourne, 10 January, 1941)

Quintet for Piano, Two Violins, Viola & Violoncello

In the first two decades of the twentieth century Frank Bridge was a professional violist and violinist in both string quartets and orchestras. He was a regular deputy for the two most celebrated British conductors of the time, Thomas Beecham and Henry Wood, and he taught violin and coached chamber groups at the Royal College of Music. But his career as a composer was less well established, and it was not until he acquired the patronage of the wealthy American Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge in 1923 that he was able to devote more time to composition.

His creative life divides neatly into three periods. His early compositions were written when he was a member of the English String Quartet; five large works were written over the period that included the First World War, and when Bridge was well established as an orchestral player and sometime conductor; and a final group of works date from the 1920s and 30s, and in which Bridge explored many ‘modern’ musical styles.

The Piano Quintet is from the first period. It was begun in 1904. He revised it in 1912, after only two performances, fusing the two central movements into one. The first movement begins with a restless brooding theme which is subsequently followed by a more wistful melody introduced by the piano; only later it’s importance is established when it returns at key moments in each of the two subsequent movements. The second is a slow movement based on a tender melody, with the original scherzo embedded within it, in the fashion of Franz Berwald’s Sinfonie Singulière. The last movement is largely a struggle between themes from the first two.

Phillip Brookes, 201

Score No.

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