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Although Bridge was delighted with the efforts of his friends, the critical reception was predictably hostile. The following day, this appeared in The Morning Post: ‘I fear that Mr Frank Bridge’s Sonata, like so much of his music nowadays, proved rather disappointing. It sounded tortured. The attractive personality that the composer used to show in his earlier chamber music seems to have disappeared completely; there is so little spontaneity, so little charm.’ However, at least one critic, in The Musical Times, seemed to appreciate that this new work was a further example of Bridge’s later voice and not some misguided rejection of the romantic lyricism of familiar works like the earlier Phantasy: ‘Frank Bridge’s Sonata proved a vigorous example of its composer’s mature style—very individual, very masterful in its treatment of the material and very effectively written for the instruments. Structurally it is close-packed, containing the essential four movements of cyclic form compressed into one, which, far from sounding rigid, gives an impression of energetic order and freedom.’
The Sonata is full of late Bridge fingerprints: bitter-sweet lyricism, intense contrapuntal underpinning and capricious mood-swings. The short, arresting opening draws the listener in and the subtle thematic cross-referencing unites the whole conception in a typically skilful and understated manner.
from notes by Paul Hindmarsh © 2013