Welcome to Hyperion Records, an independent British classical label devoted to presenting high-quality recordings of music of all styles and from all periods from the twelfth century to the twenty-first.
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Bridge went to the Royal College of Music in 1896, studying violin and piano. In 1899 he started composition lessons with Stanford. Bridge was primarily interested in instrumental music, particularly chamber music. He had a first-class command of the technique of composition and, being a string player, naturally understood the quartet ‘from the inside’. Until the end of the First World War his idiom was conservative, deriving from Brahms and Stanford but acquiring almost Delian chromatics at times. His music was popular, and he was always able to provide pieces the public could understand and love.
After the war his attitude changed. Bridge came under the influence of Alban Berg, and his music became much more dissonant and almost atonal. This took him beyond the reach of many of his contemporaries, and his popularity declined. Nevertheless, his last two Quartets and the second Piano Trio are major works of this century. It is fascinating to wonder what would have happened if Bridge’s efforts to make Benjamin Britten study with Berg had been successful. But the musical establishment of the time did not approve, and Britten stayed in England.
from notes by Michael Pilkington © 1997