Message from a reader

A couple of weeks ago, I was pleasantly surprised to receive a really nice email from Emma Price in Australia who had come across my website while researching her own project.

Through her work, Emma had compiled some material about ‘F. Bridgetower’ – cellist, composer and younger brother of George Bridgetower. The elder Bridgetower is better remembered as a former friend of Beethoven and the original violinist that the ‘Kreutzer’ Sonata was dedicated to.

Hearing from Emma was great because most of the references I’d found for George don’t mention any siblings at all. Even those that do, can’t agree on the possible younger brother’s name, with mentions of his death based on guesswork. These also assume that he was the same Frederick Joseph Bridgetower who died in Liverpool the mid-1800s. Today though, modern technology and online tools like digitised historical newspapers make this kind of information much easier to research.

New information

Emma was kind enough to pass on some material including newspaper scans and photos of scores that she’d found at the National Library of Ireland, Dublin.

Teaching advertisement for Frederic Bridgtower
Teaching advertisement for Frederic Bridgtower

MR. BRIDGTOWER,

Professor of Music, and Teacher of the Violoncello and Piano-forte,

HAVING at the earnest solicitation of many respectable friends, determined to fix his future residence in Dublin, has taken the house No. 2, Exchange-court, near Dame Street, where he will receive Pupils on the Violoncello, and respectfully attend to any commands he may be honoured with to teach abroad on either of the above instruments.

Pastoral Rondo title page
Title page for 'A Pastoral Rondo' by Frederic Bridgtower

I was also pointed towards other recent work that filled some of the gaps in the brothers’ life stories including New Light on George Bridgtower (Hart, 2017). The relatively recent paper includes lots of new details and reminders, like the different spellings that the family used (Bridgetown/Bridgetower/ Bridgtower), which was a big help. A lot of other research materials end up regurgitating the same old myths and made-up stories, so it was great to see something where the author was able to use original sources and newspapers of the day. Using this new information, I’ve been able to update Frederick’s entry on the timeline.

Updated timeline - still no image of Frederic/k though!

Future additions

Huge thanks to Emma for sending over this material. I set this page up to share my research with other people who find it useful or are just interested in this topic. In the short time since it launched, it’s been great to get messages from people who are keen and willing to share their own work. If you can think of anyone who might be missing from the project, please get in touch using the contact page.

 

NB. It turns out there was also a third brother, Johannes Albertus, who was born in Mainz in 1787. If anyone has any information on him, please pass it on!

Decus poster - Nov 2018

As part of the plainsightSOUND project, Decus Ensemble performs music by Black British and African composers.

The Decus Ensemble performs the first concerts in the project as part of this series. The programme includes music for instrumental ensemble by Segun Akinola, Errollyn Wallen and Samuel Coleridge-Taylor.

Concert dates

If you would like to attend, tickets are FREE but must be booked via Eventbrite.