Early in 1905 Bridge composed an ambitious Piano Quintet in D minor (H49). This was a muscular, four-movement work, with a huge piano part, brim full of musical ideas, but rather unwieldy and certainly lacking the refinement and elegance of his mature chamber works. After two performances in 1907, Bridge consigned it to a bottom drawer. Then in 1912 he took it up again. The revisions amounted to complete re-write, in which he fashioned something characteristic out of immature beginnings. The unbridled energy of the original first movement is toned down to be replaced by a more brooding inspiration infused with that ‘Gallic’ impulse. Bridge condensed the original second and third movements into a single span, the principal melody of the B major Adagio ma non troppo framing the fleet-footed A minor scherzo (Allegro con brio). The finale also benefitted from a major prune and the final climax is clinched by a re-introduction of the first and second subjects from the first movement. Bridge’s substantially revised the piano part in line with his Phantasie Piano Trio
(1907) and Phantasy Piano Quartet
(1910). Most of the angularities from 1905 have been smoothed out and there is a greater reliance on Fauré-inspired arpeggiated figuration.
from notes by Paul Hindmarsh © 2009