Bridge, Frank

/ Brij /

Viola virtuoso and great British composer...Frank Bridge 

Frank Bridge

Frank Bridge was born on 26 February 1879 in Brighton. Bridge began his musical life as a violinist, beginning studies with the instrument at London’s Royal College of Music before switching to the viola. The change proved a good move as Bridge would go on to become something of a virtuoso, performing in both the Joachim and English String Quartets.

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Studying composition under Charles Villiers Stanford no doubt influenced his own writing, in which he developed a penchant for chamber music. While he had a strong Romantic voice, he was also an experimenter.

The events of the First World War troubled him greatly and, although he kept a notable amount of optimism in his writing during the period, his music inevitably took on darker hues as the conflict progressed.

His 1915 Lament was dedicated to victims of the Lusitania disaster and was premiered at the Proms that year.

Did you know? Bridge taught Benjamin Britten privately and the pair remained close. Britten penned his own Variation on a Theme of Frank Bridge in 1937. In 1939, Bridge gave his beloved viola to Britten – who was about to set off for the United States.

Key Works…

Phantasie in F minor (1906)

Three Idylls for String Quartet (1906)

The Sea (1911)

Cello Sonata (1913-17)

Summer (1914)

Lament (1915)

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Rebus (1940)