1970s Bridge orchestral revivals have
been well worth waiting for.
The Dance Rhapsody
and Dance Poem are separated
by only five years. The Rhapsody
is given a grand gait with phrases
and treatments recalling his own Summer,
Elgar's Cockaigne, Julius Harison
in his Troubadour Suite, Tchaikovsky
and even the pomp and circumstance Bliss
of the 1930s. The gong that ends the
first segment of the Rhapsody
- a sumptuous grandly confident piece
- is stunningly recorded.
The Dance Poem is
more subtle, more airily scored and
leaning towards There is a Willow
rather than the frank romanticism of
Summer. It is in six sections
although here tracked as one - The
Dancer, Allurement; Abandon,
Tenderness, Problem and
Disillusionment. It is evidence
that the Great War may have accelerated
and intensified a trend away from grand
romanticism rather than being the fons
et origo of Bridge’s dissonance.
The Two Poems are
from the depths of the Great War. While
both pieces carry pastoral-spiritual
superscriptions from Richard Jefferies
one can sense the dark tinge in the
horizon's clouds. This is not an uncomplicated
untroubled ecstatic mirage although
there are some gloriously ecstatic moments
which hark back to Summer. One
thinks of warm evocations of the countryside
such as Suk's Summer and Schoeck's
Sommernacht in the case of The
Open Air but an elfin irrepressible
energy bristles in the unstoppable scherzo
that is The Story of My Heart –
once recorded by the composer. This
might almost be a harbinger of the great
upward swing of Enter Spring.
It is a delightful piece complete with
its echoes of Chabrier (España),
Ravel and de Falla (El Amor Brujo).
Not to be missed.
from the year before Bridge's death
when another war was already playing
out. It's his last completed work and
is meant to describe how rumour spreads.
Bridge was working
on a Symphony for Strings on
the day of his death. All that survives
is a meaty single Allegro Moderato.
The final page of full score was incomplete
and the movement was brought to fruition
by Anthony Pople. It's fairly gaunt
but not as forbidding as the Fourth
Quartet. Like Rebus the music
is full of intrigue but is fascinatingly
reminiscent of Hindemith and Rawsthorne.
These recordings were
first issued on very expensive vinyl
in the late 1970s as all-Bridge collections:
SRCS-114 Rebus; Dance Poem;
Dance Rhapsody and SRCS-104 Oration;
Two Poems; Allegro Moderato.
Oration will presumably be issued
on CD coupled with Bridge’s Phantasm
in turn ‘extracted’ from an LP SRCS-91
which included Moeran’s Rhapsody No.
3 – the latter appearing on SRCD.248
having already been issued in March
2007. There’s some thoughtful work going
into the Lyrita-Wyastone Estates reissue
programme as the open-handed playing
durations of most of these new CDs goes
The cover of the booklet
includes a detail from the original
LP cover of SRCS 114.
Now facing immense
competition from Richard Hickox’s six
volume Chandos Bridge series this disc
still makes a signally attractive coupling.
It presents the early Tchaikovskian-sumptuous
Bridge (the two Dance works), the transitional
Bridge (Two Poems) and the subtle
and finely dissonant post-Great War