Hyperion Records

Three Idylls, H67
composer
1906; dedicated to EES (Ethel Elmore Sinclair, the future Mrs Bridge)

Recordings
'Elgar: String Quartet; Bridge: Idylls; Walton: String Quartet' (CDH55218)
Elgar: String Quartet; Bridge: Idylls; Walton: String Quartet
Buy by post £5.50 CDH55218  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)  
'Bridge: Piano Quintet, String Quartet & Idylls' (CDA67726)
Bridge: Piano Quintet, String Quartet & Idylls
Buy by post £10.50 CDA67726 
Details
No 1: Adagio molto espressivo
No 2: Allegretto poco lento
Track 5 on CDA67726 [2'42]
Track 5 on CDH55218 [3'05] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
No 3: Allegro con moto
Track 6 on CDA67726 [3'40]
Track 6 on CDH55218 [3'50] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)

Three Idylls, H67
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Bridge dedicated the Three Idylls (H67) to E.E.S.—Ethel Elmore Sinclair was an Australian who sat with Bridge on the first desk of the second violins in the Royal College of Music Symphony Orchestra at the turn of the twentieth century. She returned from Australia in October 1907, six months after Bridge, playing second violin, had given the premiere of the suite with the Grimson Quartet. Frank and Ethel were married on 2 September 1908.

Bridge’s mastery of the string medium is evident right from the outset. The first movement opens in subdued, almost melancholy vein, with the main theme on Bridge’s favourite instrument, the viola. The Adagio molto espressivo in C sharp minor blossoms into a serene and lyrical E major, one of Bridge’s characteristic ‘stringy’ keys. After a stirring climax, the music subsides once more into a more melancholic mood. The second Idyll has become Frank Bridge’s most often played composition. In 1936 Benjamin Britten used it as the theme for his Variations on a theme of Frank Bridge for string orchestra, Op 10, which is in fact Britten’s affectionate character study of his teacher. Britten was attracted to this music because of its subtle harmonic ambiguities. The central section is more animated and direct in harmony. The finale, with its bustling energy and vitality reveals the influence of Debussy’s String Quartet—a work which Bridge’s had admired since his student days.

from notes by Paul Hindmarsh © 2009

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