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The pieces on this recording cover a period of 15 years from when he was in his early thirties, and they all inhabit the musical atmosphere of that southern stretch of England. The Two Poems were inspired by the writings of Richard Jefferies, the Dorset naturalist whose work influenced so many nature writers at the turn of the last century, particularly Thomas Hardy and Henry Williamson. Two of his many acutely observed and reflective books, The Story of my Heart and The Open Air, became the source of these and other sensitive impressions that Bridge conceived for small orchestra. Here, in the second of the two, is Bridge in dazzling form, like an updating of the best aspect of Mendelssohn's character [listen -- track 4, 0:00-0:26].

The Sea, written in 1911, is a suite of four movements -- Seascape, Sea-foam -- a superbly controlled piece of orchestral painting [listen -- track 6, 0.33:1.47], Moonlight and the vividly portrayed Storm [listen -- track 8, 0:31-1:49].

The later pieces, the tone poem Summer of 1915 and the rhapsody Enter Spring (1927) are perhaps better known substantial works, superb examples of Bridge's ability to hold a large single-movement canvas together. James Judd and the New Zealand Symphony deserve much praise for a fine recording of music that has an outstanding place in English musical heritage.

Copyright © 6 April 2005 Patric Standford, Wakefield UK


Frank Bridge: The Sea; Enter Spring

8.557167 DDD Stereo NEW RELEASE 62'17" 2004 Naxos Rights International Ltd

New Zealand Symphony Orchestra; James Judd, conductor

Frank Bridge (1879-1941): Enter Spring (Rhapsody) (1927); Summer (Tone Poem) (1914-15); Two Poems for Orchestra (1915); The Sea (Suite) (1910-11)


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