Thursday, March 24, 2016

Classical Music of Ireland: Frank Bridge

Last time on Clef Notes, we looked at a British composer who used Irish influences in some of his works. Today, let’s look at another man born in England who pulled from Ireland for some of his themes.

Composer, conductor, and violist Frank Bridge (1879–1941) is most famous for teaching Benjamin Britten, who attempted to get the word out about his beloved teacher by writing his Variations on a Theme by Frank Bridge. This work is based on the second of Bridge’s Three Idylls for String Quartet. Bridge received an exemplary education at the Royal College of Music and even had the opportunity to study with Charles Stanford, whom we discussed earlier this month. 

Frank Bridge: Courtesy of 

Below you can listen to one of Bridge’s works that draws heavy influence from Ireland. In it, Bridge uses the famous Irish “Londonderry Air,” made famous as the “Danny Boy” tune. Other composers have used this tune as a theme over time, including the famous Percy Grainger in his Irish tune from County Derry. We will learn more about Grainger next time!

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