Bridge: Orchestral Works, Volumes 1-6 (6CD)

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BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Richard Hickox

The complete orchestral works by Frank Bridge are here released in an attractive six-disc box for the first time, as part of the new Hickox Legacy commemorative series on Chandos Records, leading up to (and continuing beyond) the fifth anniversary, in Nov 2013, of the conductor’s untimely death. The box is released on the Chandos Classics label at Mid-Price – 6 CDs for the price of 4.

A couple of orchestral works aside, the repertoire of Frank Bridge was largely ignored until Hickox embarked on the complete cycle of his orchestral music, which revealed to the world what a remarkably varied and imaginative composer he was.

All of Bridge’s orchestral music is about something: there are nature-inspired tone poems, such as The Sea and Enter Spring; there are war-inspired works such as Oration and the Overture Rebus; and there are those pieces with a more ambiguous or elusive ‘emotional’ programme, such as Dance Poem and Phantasm.

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The Arts Desk

"Listening to this comprehensive Chandos set, Bridge’s position as a shadowy transitional figure comes into sharper focus, the early Edwardiana yielding to a much more sharply defined mature style...Despite this being a six-disc compilation, there’s little filler. The lighter pieces charm. The performances are consistently inspired, and the recorded sound is refulgent."

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  • Bridge: A Prayer for Chorus and Orchestra
  • Bridge: A Royal Night of Variety, H 184, epilogue for orchestra
  • Bridge: Adoration, H 57
  • Bridge: Allegro moderato - fragment of a symphony for string orchestra
  • Bridge: Berceuse
  • Bridge: Berceuse, H 8
  • Bridge: Berceuse, H 9, for soprano and orchestra
  • Bridge: Blow out, you bugles, H 132, for tenor & orchestra
  • Bridge: Chant d'espérance, H 18ii
  • Bridge: Cherry Ripe
  • Bridge: Christmas Dance 'Sir Roger de Coverley'
  • Bridge: Coronation March
  • Bridge: Dance Poem
  • Bridge: Dance Rhapsody
  • Bridge: Day after day, H 164, for mezzo-soprano and orchestra
  • Bridge: Enter Spring
  • Bridge: Five Entr'actes
  • Bridge: Isabella
  • Bridge: Lament
  • Bridge: Love went a-riding
  • Bridge: Mantle of blue, H 131, for high voice and orchestra
  • Bridge: Mid of the Night
  • Bridge: Norse Legend
  • Bridge: Oration - Concerto elegiaco for cello and orchestra
  • Bridge: Phantasm
  • Bridge: Rebus Overture
  • Bridge: Sally in Our Alley
  • Bridge: Serenade
  • Bridge: Serenade,H 23
  • Bridge: Speak to me, my love!, H 164ii, for mezzo-soprano and orchestra
  • Bridge: Suite for Strings, H 93
  • Bridge: Summer
  • Bridge: The Hag, H 14
  • Bridge: The Pageant of London, H 98, suite for orchestra
  • Bridge: The Sea
  • Bridge: There is a Willow Grows Aslant a Brook
  • Bridge: Thy hand in mine, H 124, for tenor and orchestra
  • Bridge: Todessehnsucht
  • Bridge: Two Entr'actes: Rosemary, H 68b & Canzonetta, H 169
  • Bridge: Two Intermezzi from ‘Threads', H 151
  • Bridge: Two Old English Songs, H 119
  • Bridge: Two Poems for Orchestra
  • Bridge: Two Songs of Robert Bridges
  • Bridge: Valse Intermezzo à cordes, H 17
  • Bridge: Vignettes de danse
  • Bridge: Where she lies asleep, H 114, for tenor and orchestra

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The Classical Music Collector

"For most listeners, the name Frank Bridge is known primarily from Britten’s Frank Bridge Variations, and the vague recollection that he was Britten’s teacher. This underwhelming first impression will be rapidly evaporated by any exposure to his remarkable music. Bridge’s career can be divided fairly imprecisely into three periods: up to, during, and after, the First World War. As a broad generalisation, his early Edwardian works are chamber music in which he gradually found his voice, followed by a period in which—possibly under the influence of Debussy—he wrote his first two great orchestral works, the Sea and Summer. Then came the War. It is sometimes said that Bridge was unsettled by the conflict and this led him to attempt a deepening of his musical style; facile simplification or not, his subsequent music certainly began to incorporate modernisms of a more radical kind than that of the earlier impressionist works, culminating in the remarkable Oration and Phantasm, for cello and orchestra, and piano and orchestra, respectively. This box set from Chandos includes most if not all of Bridge’s orchestral works, major and minor, and the performances are by some of Britain’s finest musicians, including Howard Shelley and Alban Gerhardt, under the leadership of the late Richard Hickox. Heard en masse like this Bridge’s music, lacking any kind of cyclical element such as symphonies, tends to initially feel somewhat fragmented, but the quality and intelligence of his work brings one back to it again and again. Benjamin Britten admired him deeply; that in itself is enough reason for engaging with Bridge’s work." - Chris Dench