Autograph Manuscript of the
Overture: Morte d'Arthur (1885)
Sir (John) Frederick Bridge, CVO, Mus.D
This is the autograph manuscript of an Overture for full orchestra, entitled Morte d'Arthur, composed by Musicians' Company Pastmaster (1892 and again in 1898), Sir Frederick Bridge.
The bound cover is shown left and the early pages of the score are presented below. Click an image to expand, click 'Go to link' to enlarge and zoom in.
Just inside the front cover, a page from a performance programme has been affixed. It indicates that this was the first public performance of the piece and was conducted by the Composer, sadly no date is provided, but according to Who's Who in Music (Saxe Wyndham Ed., Small Maynard & Co., Boston, 1913) this composition had its first performance in Birmingham in 1886.
Bridge's Autobiography (A Westminster Pilgrim, Novello, London, 1918) also refers to this particular Overture and that it was performed in the Norwich Festival of 1905. This Festival was the last one conducted by the celebrated Italian singing teacher Alberto Rendegger. Bridge was amongst 14 British composers that were invited to conduct their own pieces during the event (these included Stanford, Elgar and Parry). Shown right is a newspaper cutting that previews the 1905 Festival - click the image to expand.
Sir Frederick Bridge was Organist and Master of the Choristers at Westminster Abbey (from 1882 to 1919) and the often used sobriquet 'Westminster Bridge' was epitomised by 'Spy' in his 1904 cartoon of that name (shown left).
Bridge was a very significant figure in the History of the Musicians' Company not least for making the first suggestion (in October 1888) that a medal be presented annually to a student at the three Conservatoires. Click here for more on these medals.