Bingham String Quartet: Bridge/Scott Piano Quintets

review bridge x1 cong.jpg

Frank Bridge (1879–1941) was an English composer, violist and conductor, while Cheshire-born Cyril Scott (1879–1970) was a composer, writer, and poet.

Bridge was a pacifist and Bridge friends with a Christian Scientist, later becoming interested in metaphysics, and spending many of his latter years living with a clairvoyant. Both the compositions on here — Bridge’s piano quintet in D minor and Scott’s Piano Quintet No.1 have an ethereal feel to them.

Bridge’s quintet was a personal one, inspired by the absence of his fiancée, and the sleeve notes suggest he thought this was a permanent split when he wrote it, so the music is dramatically romantic, if not passionate. The sleeve notes suggest the piano is Ethel and the strings Frank.

Scott’s piece is similar and the notes report it was written around the time he became a vedantist, which, as you will know, means he took up Vedanta, one of the six orthodox schools of Hindu philosophy.

We’ve had trouble writing anything about this. It’s finely played and confident music, but it has got an ethereal feel that means nothing leaps out to hang a review on. We found it too gloomy to be truly romantic and too mystical to be pastoral. It was clearly a modern sound when it was written, though. It’s mood music, really, and would make a good film score for a rather tragic, artily-filmed love story. Scott’s piece slightly less so. Out now on Naxos, 8571355.


About jerobear

Weekly newspaper editor in Cheshire, England. I blog my editorials and the CDs I write about. I play drums, drink coffee, play music, meditate. I hate filling in forms.

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