WORKS: Piano Quintet; Three Novelletten for String Quartet; Rhapsody Trio for two violins and viola; Lament for two violas; Cherry Ripe; Sir Roger de Coverley
PERFORMER: Colin Twigg, Catherine Schofield (violin), Michael Schofield (viola), Lucy Wilding (cello), Michael Dussek (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: SOMMCD 087
This is the second superb anthology of Frank Bridge’s chamber music to come my way in three months. Like the outstanding Goldner Quartet recital on Hyperion, it includes the Piano Quintet, perhaps the most impressive of Bridge’s pre-World War I chamber scores, and the Bridge Quartet with Michael Dussek give an equally passionate performance.
They perhaps tune in more to its grand, traditionally Romantic gestures (as at the climax of the second movement) rather than the leaner, more ‘advanced’ elements Bridge introduced in his 1912 recomposition of the piece, but if anything they play with even greater intensity. Pianist Michael Dussek, however, does not seem as well balanced with the strings as Hyperion’s Piers Lane; there is
a heaviness to the piano sound that misses some of the delicacy of the Hyperion version, otherwise there is little to choose between them.
There’s nothing amiss with the balance in the other, strings-only works, however, and what makes this Somm disc especially valuable is the spellbinding account of the Rhapsody Trio for two violins and viola, perhaps the most elusive and fantastic of Bridge’s late chamber scores, in the wierd, near-atonal filigree writing of its outer sections.
Bridge’s mastery as a violist comes out also in the dark-coloured 1912 Lament for two violas, another rarely-heard score; and the more familiar 1904 Noveletten for string quartet receives a wonderfully sensitive performance here, especially in the chiaroscuro of the brooding first movement. The two miniatures, Cherry Ripe and Sir Roger de Coverley, are delightfully done. Calum MacDonald
This is another disc that all Bridge enthusiasts will want to own.