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Frank Bridge (1879–1941)
Bridge’s music – beautifully crafted and full of haunting imagination – was much played in the earlier part of his career, during which time he was himself a fine chamber music player and conductor. His later music, particularly such works as the Piano Sonata, Violin Sonata and the Third and Fourth String Quartets, adopted a more radical style to which the general musical public could much less easily respond.
For some 30 years after his death his major works were little played, but since the early 1970s interest has been growing steadily. Benjamin Britten, who owed much to Bridge’s teaching, drew attention to his master’s music and performed it whenever he could.
During Frank Bridge’s lifetime, most of his compositions were issued under the Augener imprint – now part of Stainer & Bell Ltd. They published all of his important chamber music, on which his early reputation was built, as well as his earlier orchestral works, The Sea, Summer, Two Poems and, later, Phantasm and There is a willow grows aslant a brook. They also published all his important piano music, his only choral work of any size, A Prayer and his one opera, The Christmas Rose.