BRITTEN Benjamin, Phantasy Quartet in F sharp minor

Andante con moto – Allegro vivace – Andante con moto

Bridge had already been successful in Walter Wilson Cobbett’s competition to write a ‘Phantasy’ – Cobbett’s reinvention of the Elizabeth Fantasy as new single-movement chamber works – and in 1910 he (along with Vaughan Williams and others) was commissioned by Cobbett to compose a Phantasy Piano Quartet. It’s a work in a satisfying arch form based on free-flowing musical ideas all of which derive from the powerful opening gesture. Bridge’s most famous pupil, Benjamin Britten, wrote in a programme note for the Aldeburgh Festival about this piece. He described the music as ‘Sonorous yet lucid, with clear, clean lines, grateful to listen to and to play. It is the music of a practical musician, brought up in German orthodoxy, but who loved French romanticism and conception of sound—Brahms happily tempered with Fauré.’

Nigel Simeone 2013


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