Cherry Ripe for String Quartet
Bridge composed Cherry Ripe in 1916. The title is taken from the words to a traditional English folksong of the same name by C. E. Horn. It was one of two small showcase works based on English folk tunes he wrote for string quartet at this time, the other being Sally in Our Alley. The melody is also taken from the song as the words. The initial use of trills and scale passages eventually lead to a canon between the first violin and cello. The refrain or chorus to the song is also given this canonic treatment. The coda begins in a mood of quiet reflection but soon the exciting scale passages return to end off the piece. There is also a Bass ad libitum part which Bridge provided if which is included.
Born in Sussex, Frank Bridge learned to play violin from his father, and had much early exposure to practical musicianship, playing in theatre orchestras his father conducted. He studied violin and composition, the latter from Charles Stanford, at the Royal College of Music. He later played viola in prominent quartets and was a respected conductor. When Frank Bridge’s chamber music first appeared, it was a revelation to amateurs as well as professional players. Interestingly, the revival in interest in Bridge’s music which took place during the last part of the 20th Century has concerned itself exclusively with his more ‘radical’ works, dating from 1924 onwards. Ironically, these works did nothing to create or further enhance the firm reputation he had established with both professionals and amateurs. Rather, it was works just like Cherry Ripe, his Three Idylls, the Phantasie for String Quartet and his Miniatures for Piano Trio which contributed to his success.