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Frank Bridge (1879-1941)

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Bridge: Complete Songs

Bridge: Complete Songs

All forty-five of the songs composed by Frank Bridge


Janice Watson (soprano), Louise Winter (mezzo soprano), Jamie MacDougal (tenor), Gerald Finley (baritone), Roger Vignoles (piano)

This important release brings together all forty-five of the songs composed by Frank Bridge. The programme is presented generally along chronological lines, and although the songs were written over two decades there is a remarkable consistency of style. A good number of the texts will be familiar from the songs of, say, Quilter or Finzi, but many more show Bridge’s enthusiasm for unearthing rather less well-known literary subject matter.

“Prepared and performed with the care and conviction for which Hyperion is famous. Those who simply love vocal recitals will find plenty of enjoyment in these well-documented discs, as well as a further revelation of the wealth of ‘English Renaissance’ contributions to art song. Distinguished performances of little-known but substantial, and often impressive, repertoire” Classic CD

“Another superb collection of songs” Financial Times

“These two CDs, finely recorded and thoughtfully presented, are a most timely and valuable addition to the catalogue” Gramophone Magazine

“This fine collection of settings by poets as diverse as Herrick, Heine and Tagore is full of surprises and beautifully performed by all, especially pianist Roger Vignoles” The Observer

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Hyperion Dyads - CDD22071

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Bridge - Early Chamber Music

Bridge - Early Chamber Music


Bridge:

String Sextet in E flat major

Lament for two violas

String Quintet in E minor


“Bridge was a star student at the RCM, and his E minor String Quintet from 1901, one of four chamber offerings he wrote at that time, reveals a burgeoning talent. Cast in four movements and lasting just over half an hour, it's an accomplished achievement. A scrupulous craft and pleasing sense of proportion attest to lessons well learnt under Stanford's tutelage, yet there's already a strongly emergent personality in pages such as the third-movement trio section. The finale, too, shows enviable skills, the poignant backward glance to the work's opening just before the close being particularly effective. It's preceded by a powerfully wrought Lament for two violas first performed by Lionel Tertis and the composer at London's Aeolian (now Wigmore) Hall in March 1912. Both works are worthy of resuscitation and both are superbly served here.
So too is the Sextet (1906-12) in an even more persuasive performance than that by the Academy of St Martin in the Fields Chamber Ensemble on Chandos. The Raphael Ensemble produce a leaner, more subtly shaded sonority, allied to an extra re-creative spark and expressive urgency (witness the edgy anxiety they locate in the scherzo at the heart of the work). And the opening Allegro moderato is surveyed with due appreciation of its lyrical grace and elegant architecture; likewise, the finale combines pliancy and thrust.
A delightful anthology, highly recommended.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

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Hyperion - CDA67426

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Bridge: Phantasie Trio, Piano Trio & Phantasy for piano quartet

Bridge: Phantasie Trio, Piano Trio & Phantasy for piano quartet


Bridge:

Phantasie Trio (Piano Trio No. 1) In C Minor

for violin, cello and piano

Phantasy in F sharp minor for piano quartet

for violin, viola, cello and piano

Piano Trio No. 2

for violin, cello and piano


The Dartington Piano Trio

'Playing of exceptional eloquence and sensitivity. The Hyperion recording is altogether superb, in the demonstration bracket' (The Penguin Guide to Compact Discs)

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Helios - CDH55063

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Bridge: Phantasy Piano Quartet & Sonatas

Bridge: Phantasy Piano Quartet & Sonatas


Bridge:

Phantasy in F sharp minor for piano quartet

Cello Sonata in D minor, H125

An Irish Melody, "Londonderry Air"

Cherry Ripe

Sally in Our Alley

Christmas Dance 'Sir Roger de Coverley'

Violin Sonata, H. 183 (1932)


The Nash Ensemble: Marianne Thorsen (violin), Laura Samuel (violin), Lawrence Power (viola), Paul Watkins (cello) & Ian Brown (piano)

The Nash Ensemble presents a fascinating compendium of Frank Bridge’s chamber music, demonstrating the composer’s developing style.

Bridge is best known through his most famous pupil, Benjamin Britten, who recognized his teacher’s genius and frequently programmed his works. The Phantasy Piano Quartet, completed in June 1910, reveals Bridge’s early style at its most fluent. Writing in the 1948 Aldeburgh Festival programme book, Benjamin Britten revealed the essence of this work perfectly: ‘Sonorous yet lucid, with clear, clean lines, grateful to listen to and to play. It is the music of a practical musician, brought up in German orthodoxy, but who loved French romanticism and conception of sound—Brahms happily tempered with Fauré.’

In his later works, represented here by the Cello Sonata and Violin Sonata, Bridge made use of more angular melodies, and seemed influenced by contemporary trends in Europe, much to the dismay of critics at home. Britten staunchly defended Bridge and writes about ‘the invariable fascination of the sound; the conversational melodies can be difficult to recognize, but the drama and tensions easy to feel’.

Also included are folk-song arrangements in which Bridge absorbs the material into his musical fabric, taking creative ownership of the melodies.

“The sonata receives a wonderfully searching performance from Paul Watkins and Ian Brown...[in the Violin Sonata] the earlier lyricism is there, but as just one part of an expressive web. Thorsen and Brown catch those moodswings perfectly” The Guardian, 26th September 2013 *****

“Throughout, there's an identifiable melodic flow, initially comparable to Faure, and then Bridge's characteristic harmonic idiom developed from the techniques of Scriabin and early Berg.” Gramophone Magazine, October 2013

“What this beautifully played and thoughtfully programmed disc has going for it are, first, that it presents these works in a chronological survey of Bridge's chamber output...Altogether, a valuable addition to the ever-growing Frank Bridge discography.” BBC Music Magazine, December 2013 ****

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Hyperion - CDA68003

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Bridge - Piano Quintet, String Quartet & Idylls

Bridge - Piano Quintet, String Quartet & Idylls


Bridge:

Piano Quintet in D minor

with Piers Lane (piano)

Three Idylls

String Quartet No. 4


Frank Bridge is one of those composers who has been generally dismissed for his ‘Englishness’ and is probably remembered best today as the teacher of Benjamin Britten. But this disc of chamber music will radically change this appraisal. It particularly reveals Bridge’s strong French influence, the dance-like quality of his writing darkened with a brooding inspiration, and the music’s dramatic and emotional heart. Three important and very different works are collected here: the elegant early Idylls, the ambitious Piano Quintet and the extraordinary String Quartet No 4, Bridge’s last chamber work, written during a period of near-fatal illness, yet displaying a progressive, forward-looking musical language that shows the great range of this undervalued composer.

We are delighted to welcome the Goldner Quartet back to Hyperion for their second disc. Their first—also featuring pianist Piers Lane—was universally acclaimed as a truly great chamber recording, and has been nominated for a BBC Music Magazine award.

“This is an absolutely splendid disc, with powerful, committed performances that illuminate Frank Bridge's mastery of chamber music in two major scores, early and late, as well as the famous Idylls of 1906: programming that offers a fine introduction to Frank Bridge's astonishing stylistic range.” BBC Music Magazine, June 2009 *****

“These unfailingly sympathetic, flexible and exhilarating assured performances (that of the Quartet, on balance, the finest to date) have been most truthfully captured by the microphones…” Gramophone Magazine, July 2009

“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, 3rd May 2009

“Frank Bridge's comprehensive 1912 revision of his D minor Piano Quintet from seven years before remains the sole comparative dud in his early chamber output – and not even this splendidly articulate rendering from Piers Lane and the Goldners can persuade otherwise. The original work's four movements are condensed to three, its centrepiece a gratefully lyrical amalgam of slow movement and scherzo enclosed within one of Bridge's arch-like 'phantasy'structures. Alas, the opening movement (after a promising start) soon drifts into a worryingly humdrum, sequential lassitude, and the finale fails to provide sufficient ballast to counterbalance what has preceded it.
The Three Idylls of 1906 are an infinitely more enticing proposition – exquisitely crafted, keenly proportioned and supremely touching miniatures for string quartet, the second of which later provided the 23-year-old Britten with the theme for his Op 10 Variations for string orchestra. The Fourth Quartet is utterly different again. Completed in 1937 after a near-fatal bout of bronchitis, this 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 have been most truthfully captured. So, despite reservations surrounding the Quintet, this is clearly a release to investigate.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

“the performance here has irresistable impetus and responds to the music's rich, lyrical feeling.” Penguin Guide, 2011 edition

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Hyperion - CDA67726

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Bridge: Three Idylls, etc.

Bridge:

Three Idylls

Elgar:

String Quartet in E minor, Op. 83

Walton:

String Quartet in A Minor


“Eloquent and sensitive performances of some of the finest British chamber works of our century” BBC Music Magazine

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Helios - CDH55218

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A Treasury of English Song

A Treasury of English Song

A selection of songs from the Hyperion catalogue.


Bantock:

Song to the Seals

Bridge:

Go Not, Happy Day

Britten:

Fish in the Unruffled Lakes (No. 4 from Fish in the Unruffled Lakes)

The Choirmaster's Burial (No. 5 from Winter Words)

Browne, W D:

To Gratiana dancing and singing

Butterworth, G:

The lads in their hundreds

Finzi:

To Lizbie Browne

June on Castle Hill

Gibbs, C A:

Five Eyes

Ann's Cradle Song

Gurney:

Down by the Salley Gardens

I will go with my father a-ploughing

Ha'nacker Mill

Under the greenwood tree

Ireland:

Sea Fever

I have twelve oxen

Lehmann, L:

Charles Augustus Fortescue

Lloyd Webber, W:

The Call of the Morning

Milford:

If it's ever spring again

Parry:

Armida's Garden

Quilter:

Come away, death

Now sleeps the crimson petal, Op. 3 No. 2 (Tennyson)

Somervell:

Come into the garden, Maud

Stanford:

From the red rose

A soft day

Blackberry time

The rain it raineth every day

Vaughan Williams:

Orpheus with his lute

Let Beauty awake

Warlock:

As ever I saw

Yarmouth Fair

My own country


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Hyperion - HYP30

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Echoes of Nightingales

Echoes of Nightingales

Encores as sung by Kirsten Flagstad, Eileen Farrell, Helen Traubel and Eleanor Steber


 

'Tis the last rose of summer

traditional & Thomas Moore (1779-1852), arr. Friedrich von Flotow (1812-1883)

Arlen:

Happiness is a thing called Joe

Bernstein:

Some Other Time (from On the Town)

Bridge:

Love went a-riding

Carpenter, J A:

The sleep that flits on baby's eyes

Charles, E:

When I have sung my songs

Dougherty, C:

Last night in Carnegie Hall Miss Sadabelle Smith

Firestone:

In my garden

If l could tell you (Marshall)

Forge:

Hills

Homer:

Sing to me, sing, Op 48

Kramer, A:

Now like a lantern, Op. 44, No. 5

McArthur:

Night

Montaine:

Stopping by woods on a snowy evening

Nordoff:

There shall be more joy

Rogers, J H:

At Parting

Romberg, S:

Will You Remember (from Maytime)

Ronald:

O lovely night!

Sargent, P:

Hickory Hill

Tyson:

Sea Moods

Vicars:

Song of Songs (Chanson du coeur brisé)

Youmans:

Through the years


Christine Brewer (soprano) & Roger Vignoles (piano)

This delightful disc, performed by one of the most admired sopranos of today, accompanied by her long-time collaborator, pays homage to an important musical tradition and part of performance history, and to four great sopranos from the past.

The repertoire includes the encore-songs, mainly by American composers, performed by Kirsten Flagstad, Eileen Farrell, Helen Traubel and Eleanor Steber at the end of their recitals. As Christine Brewer writes in an intimate performance note: ‘These little gems evoke an era of recitals not often encountered these days. Stepping back into that era has been a joy to Roger and me, and I hope it will bring back memories to those who might have heard these women sing these songs, or perhaps ignite a new love affair for younger listeners!’

“unlike many dramatic sopranos, Brewer here demonstrates a clarity of enunciation and a variety of tone that suits this lighter material...Irresistable.” BBC Music Magazine, April 2011 *****

“Brewer hosts her party with flair, unselfconscious enjoyment and unerring style. Never do we sense the opera singer trying to appropriate an alien domain...Vignoles is indeed unfailingly sympathetic, but so much more: an animator and colourist whose rhythmic energy and legerdemain contribute crucially to the success of the whole delightful, offbeat recital.” Gramophone Magazine, June 2011

“It is her ability to reduce her sound that enables her to avoid bringing too much power to 'The Last Rose' and to put across Bernstein's 'Some other time' in a relaxed and intimate manner...Brewer's own [encore], 'Review', has the final word...It's fun and provides a final encore for which it was well worth staying till the end.” International Record Review, April 2011

“Brewer, in tremendous voice, carves out a niche as [Flagstad, Farrell, Traubel and Steber's] successor, partly because the majestic quality of her delivery equals theirs, but more importantly because she, like they, has the ability to make this repertoire live and breathe without sounding mawkish...And Brewer's pianist, Roger Vignoles, sounds as if he's thoroughly enjoying himself.” The Guardian, 14th April 2011 ****

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Hyperion - CDA67813

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Favorite Encores for String Quartet

Favorite Encores for String Quartet


including:

Bloch, E:

Night

Bridge:

Sally in Our Alley

Cherry Ripe

Dvorak:

Waltz in A major (No. 1 from Waltzes, Op. 54)

Waltz in D major (No. 4 from Waltzes, Op. 54)

Puccini:

Crisantemi

Suk:

Meditation on the Old Czech Chorale Saint Wenceslas for String Orchestra, Op. 35a

Wolf, H:

Italian Serenade in G major


The Delmé String Quartet

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Helios - CDH55002

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Organ Dreams 2

Organ Dreams 2


Barber:

Adagio for Strings, Op. 11

(arr. William Strickland)

Bridge:

Adagio in E major (No 2 of Three Pieces, H63)

Dubois, T:

In Paradisum (No 9 of Douze Pièces Nouvelles)

Elgar:

Vesper Voluntaries, Op. 14

Guilmant:

Rêve (from Organ Sonata No. 7 in F major, Op. 89)

Howells:

Siciliano for a High Ceremony

Liszt:

Évocation à la Chapelle Sixtine S658

Schumann:

Study in Canonic Form, Op. 56 No. 4 in A flat major - Innig

Wesley, S:

Four Pieces from Twelve Short Pieces and a Full Voluntary (Nos 5, 8, 9 & 11)


Christopher Herrick (organ of Ripon Cathedral)

“Following eight highly acclaimed discs of 'Organ Fireworks', the winning combination of Christopher Herrick and Hyperion turn their attention towards the calmer and more reflective repertory grouped under the title 'Organ Dreams'. Volume 2 consists mostly of original organ music spanning the period 1815-1952, all of which fits the instrument in Ripon Cathedral like a well-tailored glove.
Not every title reflects a dream-like state, though the disc's opening track – Dubois' Inparadisum creates an aura of calm. Frank Bridge's oft-played Adagio in E is also smoothly shaped, with its grand climax carefully controlled. Guilmant's 'Rêve' of 1902 is delicious, its impressionistic perfume wafting effortlessly.
With a running time of 19 minutes, Elgar's rarely heard Vesper Voluntaries of 1889 form the centrepiece of Herrick's programme. What charmers they are: mostly mezzopiano in dynamic, with occasional fuller-bodied outbursts, none of them outstays its welcome. They are followed by Howells' rambling Siciliano (the most recent piece on the disc), which Herrick keeps moving. However, he does allow himself plenty of time for William Strickland's convincing arrangement of Barber's Adagio.
The Liszt is a shameless piece of kitsch which borrows freely from Allegri's Miserere and Mozart's Ave verum corpus. More worthwhile are Schumann's Study and a quartet of miniatures by Samuel Wesley. The only fault with the whole package is that the portrait purporting to be that of Wesley senior is, in fact, that of his natural son, Samuel Sebastian.
In summary, this thoroughly enjoyable disc is sensitively and affectionately played, and works well at a single hearing.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

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Hyperion Organ Music - CDA67146

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