Music CAM

Music 25 – Frank Bridge

Continuing with my wander through my classical music.

Frank Bridge (1879 – 1941) was from a working class family, shoe makers, although his dad did throw it all in to teach violin, so it was a musical family too.

Bridge’s career can be roughly split in two. The first part he was heavily influenced (restrained?) by ‘the establishment’ who were reactionary when it came to ‘new’ music like that of Debussy etc. The second half was when he joined a thrash metal band … no hang on … thinking of someone else there. The second part was more experimental and influenced following composers such as Britten.

I first heard Cherry Ripe (from Two Old English Songs H.119 1916) on an EMI ‘recycle bits from old recordings, stick a pretty picture on, call it something like ‘Country Gardens’ and put it out with a budget price in Woolworths and WH Smith’. Which is where I got it, and a damn fine “just under 80′ of music” it is too.

I then got another one which was a mixture of George Butterworth (very English pastoral) and Frank Bridge which had ‘There is a Willow Grows Aslant a Brook’ which you would think would actually make the room smell of ripening corn, pints of bitter and cowpats, but it does not.

Gradually other bits of his have crept into the collection, somehow three ‘Suites for Orchestra’.

Worthwhile? I’ve grown quite fond of the said Suite, Sir Roger de Coverley and even the half hour long Oration. The Sea is also enjoyable for it furious finale.

A little story. I worked up in the City of London and there was a record/CD shop on my way to the station. One evening I popped in and chose a Frank Bridge compilation. The cases were empty with the discs kept in the store room. The assistant, a nice old guy, went off to get it, but returned empty handed. He asked one of the other guys, a young posh bloke, if he had seen it. The guy half turned round and said something like ‘Probably stolen, but who in their right mind would steal anything by Frankie Bridge is beyond me.’ Rude prat.

A photo? 1973 Thailand one that for some reason I didn’t add.

xThailand 1973 197a

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