The Music of Frank Bridge offers an inspiring collection of the British composer’s early instrumental and chamber works newly arranged for string orchestra. The first time Constantine Orbelian heard Bridge’s beautiful Piano Quintet in D Minor, in a performance by pianist Carol Rosenberger and principal players of the Moscow Chamber Orchestra at the June 1999 Palaces of St. Petersburg Festival, he imagined the expressive work expanded into a chamber concerto. His resulting, unique arrangement accentuates the lushness of Bridge’s harmonies, giving the work a cinematic scope. Rosenberger, Orbelian and the Moscow Chamber Orchestra gave the premiere performance in Los Angeles, California in February 2000. This world-premiere recording was made the following month at Skywalker Studios in California.
The Music of Frank Bridge
Moscow Chamber Orchestra
Carol Roseberger, piano
Constantine Orbelian, conductor
In the Autumn of 1999, Paul Hindmarsh, a leading authority on the music of Bridge, was approached by John Bishop, founder of Thames Publishing and administrator of the Royal College of Music’s Frank Bridge music committee, with the invitation to assemble a suite with the early Valse-Intermezzo as the centrepiece. To complement the early string piece, Hindmarsh unearthed three little-known works from the same vintage – Prelude in E Minor for piano solo, Song without words for violin and piano, and Scherzo Phantastick in E Minor for string quartet – all of which strongly suggested string orchestra arrangements. John Bishop never heard the resulting Four Pieces for string orchestra, as he passed away in 2000. Hindmarsh has dedicated the suite “To John, In Memoriam.” Three Idylls is Bridge’s most frequently performed string quartet. Lucas Drew’s addition of a double bass part in his arrangement for full string orchestra has only served to highlight Bridge’s mastery of the string medium. The second movement contains perhaps Bridge’s best-known tune, since his student Benjamin Britten used it as the basis for his Variations on a theme of Frank Bridge. Bridge dedicated Three Idylls to E.E.S., Ethel Elmore Sinclair, an Australian violinist whom he met at the Royal College of Music in London and whom he married in 1908.
American pianist Carol Rosenberger, recognized by The New York Times for her “ravishing, elegant pianism,” continues to attract admirers around the world with her special blend of virtuosity and poetically compelling interpretations both on the concert stage and in her numerous recordings. Since her 1970 debut tour she has played in most major European and American cities. With his appointment in 1991 as Music Director of the celebrated Moscow Chamber Orchestra, Constantine Orbelian became the first American ever to be appointed music director of an ensemble in Russia. At that time, he was already enjoying a brilliant career as a pianist. He is Founder and Music Director of the annual Palaces of St. Petersburg International Music Festival.
Frank Bridge: Chamber Concerto for piano and strings * (Quintet, 1912, H.49, arr. Constantine Orbelian) World-premiere recording; Four pieces for string orchestra “To John, In Memoriam” Prelude: Moderato in E Minor (H.29) Valse-Intermezzo in E Minor (H.17) Song without words: (Andante) con moto (H.22) Scherzo Phantastick in E Minor (H.6); Three Idylls (H.67) (arr. Lucas Drew) Adagio / Allegretto poco lento / Finale