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Track(s) taken from CDA67726

Three Idylls, H67

1906; dedicated to EES (Ethel Elmore Sinclair, the future Mrs Bridge)

Goldner String Quartet
Recording details: July 2008
Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk, United Kingdom
Produced by Jeremy Hayes
Engineered by Ben Connellan
Release date: May 2009
Total duration: 13 minutes 29 seconds

Cover artwork: On the Pier, Brighton by Charles Edward Conder (1868-1909)
Private Collection / The Fine Art Society, London / Bridgeman Art Library, London

Other recordings available for download

Coull Quartet


'[Fourth Quartet] is arguably Bridge's most rivetingly cogent and harmonically bracing statement, evincing a deftness, compassion, and unerring intellectual scope that beg comparison with the greatest 20th-century examples in the medium … these unfailingly sympathetic, flexible and exhilaratingly assured performances (that of the Quartet, on balance, the finest to date) have been most truthfully captured by the microphones; Bridge's cataloguer Paul Hindmarsh provides the scholarly annotation … this is clearly a release to investigate, as well as a distinguished addition to the steadily growing Bridge discography' (Gramophone)

'This is an absolutely splendid disc, with powerful, committed performances that illuminate Bridge's mastery of chamber music' (BBC Music Magazine)

'The tremendous sweep of Frank Bridge's chamber music is beautifully captured in this revelatory CD … the Goldner Quartet really understand this music and with masterly pianist Piers Lane throw welcome light on a neglected page of British music' (The Observer)

'An important and fascinating disc, which anyone interested in 20th-century music should hear' (The Guardian)

'Bridge's musical personality shines through in the sweeping phrases, tinged with a certain brooding quality … the performance by Piers Lane and the Goldner Quartet is very fine, with a particularly strong sense of musical line … this newcomer on Hyperion is especially welcome' (International Record Review)
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

Bridge dédia ses Three Idylls (H67) à E.E.S.—Ethel Elmore Sinclair, une Australienne qui était assise à ses côtés au premier pupitre des seconds violons du Royal College of Music Symphony Orchestra, au tournant du XXe siècle. Elle rentra d’Australie en octobre 1907, six mois après que Bridge (au second violon) eut créé sa suite avec le Grimson Quartet. Frank et Ethel se marièrent le 2 septembre 1908.

D’emblée, on voit combien Bridge maîtrise le quatuor à cordes. Il ouvre le premier mouvement sur une retenue presque mélancolique, avec le thème principal à l’alto (son instrument favori) et fait s’épanouir l’Adagio molto espressivo en ut dièse mineur dans un serein et lyrique mi majeur, l’une de ses tonalités «de cordes» typiques. Passé un vibrant apogée, il refond la musique dans un climat plus mélancolique. La deuxième Idyll est devenue l’une de ses compositions les plus souvent jouées. En 1936, Benjamin Britten en fit le thème de ses Variations on a theme of Frank Bridge pour orchestre à cordes op. 10, qui sont en réalité une tendre étude de caractère consacrée à son professeur. Britten fut attiré par les subtiles ambiguïtés harmoniques de cette musique. La section centrale affiche une harmonie plus animée et directe. Quant au finale grouillant d’énergie et de vitalité, il dévoile l’influence d’une œuvre que Bridge admirait depuis ses années estudiantines: le Quatuor à cordes de Debussy.

extrait des notes rédigées par Paul Hindmarsh © 2009
Français: Hypérion

Bridge widmete die Three Idylls („Drei Idyllen“, H67) E.E.S.—Ethel Elmore Sinclair, einer Australierin, die um die Jahrhundertwende zum 20. Jahrhundert im Symphonieorchester des Royal College of Music mit Bridge am ersten Pult der zweiten Violinen saß. Sie kehrte im Oktober 1907 aus Australien zurück, sechs Monate nachdem Bridge, die Uraufführung der Suite mit dem Grimson Quartett, in dem er zweite Violine spielte, gegeben hatte. Frank und Ethel heirateten am 2. September 1908.

Bridges meisterliche Beherrschung des Streichermediums ist von Anfang an deutlich. Der erste Satz beginnt in einer verhaltenen, nahezu melancholischen Ader mit dem Hauptthema auf der Bratsche, Bridges Lieblingsinstrument. Das Adagio molto espressivo in cis-Moll erblüht in ein heiter-gelassenes, lyrisches E-Dur, einer charakteristischen „streicherischen“ Tonart Bridges. Nach einer mitreißenden Steigerung gleitet die Musik wieder in eine melancholischere Stimmung ab. Das zweite Idyll sollte eine der am häufigsten gespielten Kompositionen von Bridge werden. 1936 verwendete Benjamin Britten es als Grundlage für seine Variationen über ein Thema von Frank Bridge für Streichorchester, op. 10—einer liebevollen Charakterstudie seines Lehrers. Britten fühlte sich wegen ihrer subtilen harmonischen Doppeldeutigkeiten zu dieser Musik hingezogen. Der Mittelteil ist animierter und harmonisch direkter. Das Finale mit seiner emsigen Energie und Lebhaftigkeit verrät den Einfluss von Debussys Streichquartett—eines Werkes, das Bridge seit seiner Studienzeit bewundert hatte.

aus dem Begleittext von Paul Hindmarsh © 2009
Deutsch: Renate Wendel

Other albums featuring this work

Elgar: String Quartet; Bridge: Idylls; Walton: String Quartet
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