Three Miniatures for Piano Trio, Nos.4-6
Bridge (1879-1941) composed three sets of three miniatures for piano trio during the first two decades of the 20th Century. Because these works were written for one of his violin students and her sister who studied the cello, these works have been written-off as ‘student works.’ But, as Professor Renz Opolis wrote in his article on the Miniatures in The Chamber Music Journal
"There is a difference between works written for students and student works and it can be said with certainty that the Miniatures are not the latter and they ought not to be dismissed as inconsequential student works suitable for neither amateur nor professional. To the contrary, any one of these tonally diverse and brilliantly written cameos would serve as a superb encore for a professional piano trio while amateurs will spend many a happy hour with these delightful works."
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 the Miniatures which contributed to his success.
The three miniatures presented here are from his second set composed in 1910. The lovely melody to the first of the set, entitled Romance, has an air of sadness about it. This is followed by a jaunty, very English-sounding Intermezzo. The final miniature of this set, Saltarello, begins with a brilliant but nervous theme. The spiffy, buoyant second subject could well have been an upbeat tune that Noel Coward might have written for one of his musicals.