When interviewed by the magazine Musical America
during his 1923 tour of the United States, Bridge made his views on the subject of musical nationalism based on traditional sources perfectly clear: ‘If there is to be any expression of national spirit, it must be the expression of the composer’s own thoughts and feelings, and must come from the promptings of his own inspiration; he cannot seek it and any effort on his part to aim at it as a national expression must end in failure.’ Not surprisingly, he rarely made use of folk and traditional sources, preferring to look to the European Continent for his influences and inspiration. On the occasions when he did, as in An Irish Melody
, Sally in our alley
, Cherry Ripe
and Sir Roger de Coverley
, he absorbed the ‘given’ material into his musical fabric, taking creative ownership of the melodies, just as Benjamin Britten did a generation later in his folksong settings. Sally in our alley
, from 1916, is refined and embellished, with highly perfumed harmonies.
from notes by Paul Hindmarsh © 2013