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Britten: Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge, Op.10
by Royal Philarmonic Orchestra
In eleven constituent parts:
I. Introduction and Theme (Lento Maestoso);
II. Adagio;
III. March;
IV. Romance (Allegretto grazioso);
V. Aria Italiana (Allegro brillante);
VI. Bourrée classique (Allegro e pesante);
VII. Wiener Walzer (Lento-Vivace);
VIII. Moto perpetuo (Allegro molto);
IX. Funeral March (Andante ritmico);
X. Chant (Lento);
XI. Fugue and Finale (Allegro molto vivace-Lento e Solenne).
(From Wikipedia.)
Benjamin Britten studied with Frank Bridge from 1927. In 1932, he began writing a set of variations on a theme from one of Bridge's works, as a tribute to his teacher, but he was distracted by other matters and the work went nowhere.

In May 1937, the organisers of the Salzburg Festival invited Boyd Neel and his orchestra to perform three works at that year's Festival, in August, only three months away. One of those works had to be a previously unperformed work by a British composer. Neel knew Britten from having conducted his film score for "Love From a Stranger" in 1936, so he asked him to write a new work for a string orchestra. Britten accepted the commission and immediately started work on a new set of variations on a theme by Bridge. Britten took as his theme the second of Bridge's "Three Idylls for string quartet, Op.6, No. 2". The first sketch was completed in 10 days, and the work was fully scored by 12 July.

He dedicated the work "to F.B. A tribute with affection and admiration". Both Bridge and Britten attended rehearsals of the work.

The work was given its concert premiere, as planned, on 27 August 1937 in Salzburg. However, its broadcast premiere had occurred two days earlier; it was played 'live' on 'Radio Hilversum' on 25 August. Its British premiere took place on 5 October of the same year.
Conductor: Sir Charles Groves. Soloists: Barry Griffiths (1st violin); Ian Rhodes (2nd violin); Andrew Williams (viola); Mats Lidström, cello.
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© Prism Leisure Corporation - CD compilation set described at https://musicbrainz.org/release/71eb5e4a-90e2-4a31-a2d1-a96485fcb667
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