BRIDGE Frank - Autograph Letter Signed 1926 discussing his Piano Sonata
Frank BRIDGE (1879-1941)Autograph Letter Signed (“Frank Bridge”) to “My dear Garban” [composer and arranger Lucien Garban] thanking him for sending the “Pavane” and discussing his Piano Sonata.
2 pages large 8vo, 4 Bedford Gardens, Kensington W8, 24 January 1926.
“Yes, thank you. The “Pavane” arrived safely. I am so much obliged to you for getting it. It is for the library of an Orch. which gives concerts in the poor district of London. Professional wind (paid) strings, lady amateurs (unpaid, & on the whole better than the average prof. orchestral string players, because they are keen and interested).
Have you ever heard the Boston or Philadelphia Orchestras? [I forget whether you went to the United States when you went to Canada years ago]. They are marvellous!
The Sonata was finished in March (I think) 1924. It isn’t so very different to the “3 Poems” that I played to you in – was it 1915? Except that ten years is 10 years, and now I think of it, there must be several past(?) things that you haven’t seen. You shall have some more.
It is scarcely credible, but when I began that “Sonata” in (1921?) I hoped to write something EASY that the majority of pianists could, & perhaps would, play!! But, that is how it has turned out. You see what happens to good intentions.
There are no chickens at the cottage, but rabbits? Yes. They have eaten all the young cabbages which were intended to be eaten in the spring by us.
I am going again to New York & California at the end of March!
Again ever so many thanks cher Garban for so kindly doing this little music purchase.
With kindest regards from us both.”
Frank Bridge’s place as Benjamin Britten’s teacher and mentor has, to some extent, obscured his accomplishments as an important British composer of the first half of the twentieth century. Aware of the new direction music was taking in France, the influence of composers such as Ravel and Debussy can be heard in his work. His correspondent here, Lucien Garban, was a composer and also known for his transcriptions for the piano of several of Ravel’s works. The “Pavane” mentioned here would undoubtedly have been the score for Ravel’s Pavane pour une infante défunte.
Bridge first travelled to the United States in 1923, and was to return there several times over the years, giving concert tours as well as visiting friends. He was already on friendly terms with Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge, a wealthy and generous patron of the arts, specifically music. Mrs. Coolidge soon became Bridge’s patron, giving him the freedom to concentrate on his work as a composer rather than teaching to earn a living.
It appears that at one point, he considered moving to the United States, where his work was well appreciated. His music was, however, too rooted in the English landscape and in the mid-1920s he moved to the village of Friston, East Sussex (obviously the home of cabbage-loving rabbits).
A previous collector has written the name “Frank Bridge” in blue biro at the top of the letter, but it is otherwise in excellent condition.
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