Phantasie for Piano Trio in c minor
The Phantasie for Piano Trio in c minor dates from 1907. Bridge entered it in the prestigious Cobbett Competition for English Chamber Music and won the First Prize. The style is that of the late romantic as influenced by the French impressionists. In the work, one can hear echos of Faure.
These competitions where designed to encourage the younger generation of British composers to write chamber music. Its founder and benefactor was the chamber music aficionado William Wilson Cobbett. The rules of the competition provided an alternate format, the old English Fancy for Fantasia from the time of Purcell, to the traditional four movement work which had developed from Haydn onwards. While there was to be only a single movement, there are several sections, each embracing a different of mood, tone color and tempi while at the same time retaining an inner unity.
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 the Phantasy for Piano Trio and several other of his Phantasy works which contributed to his success.