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Every day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    


Frank BRIDGE (1879-1941)
Piano Trio No. 1 Phantasie Trio (1907) [17.21]
Piano Trio No. 2 (1929) [30.08]
Miniatures (1907) [23.37]
Dussek Piano Trio
rec. St Olave's School, Orpington, 1994. DDD
MERIDIAN CDE 84290 [71.23]

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www.meridian-records.co.uk

This Meridian contrasts with and complements Hyperion's Helios CDH55063 in which the Dartington Trio tackle the same two Bridge trios [see also Black Box where you can listen to samples of the music- LM]. In place of the Dussek's Miniatures the Dartingtons (augmented) offer the more substantial Phantasy Piano Quartet. The two Cobbett-Phantasy works belong to Bridge's early romantic phase; both at the high watermark of rolling exultant lyricism. The Phantasie Trio in particular is a work by which to warm your hands and heart. It is done equally well by Dusseks and Dartingtons with the Dusseks favoured by a slightly cooler ambience which suits the Bergian tendrils of the Piano Trio No. 2 rather more than the Phantasie world. On the other hand the Meridian disc offers greater playing time and the Miniatures are a rare item that no Bridge enthusiast will want to miss. While the Meridian lacks the Phantasy Quartet and thus stays true to its core artists - using a piano trio throughout - the Miniatures are from the same era as the Phantasy Quartet and so are a more uniform choice. These nine pieces have titles six of which are dance-based with a Romance, Intermezzo and March Militaire - the latter finishing the set. Bridge was good at these miniature pieces and did similar things for string quartet, cello and piano and of course acreages solo piano morsels (on four Continuum CDs). The Miniatures are pretty much charming light music: accomplished mood pastels, sighs, vintage antiquery, salon refreshments for conservatory concerts. They are patently more sincere than the gimcrack peddled by some of the lighter British practitioners such as Ketèlbey. The Romance and Valse Russe link to the spattering of Bridge pieces for cello and piano and indeed to Fauré's similar works. Bridge is good at joy - you can hear it breaking out uncontrollably in both the Saltarello and Hornpipe.


Rob Barnett

see the Frank Bridge web-site



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