Lord Berners

Episodes

EpisodeTitleFirst
Broadcast
RepeatedComments
Berners the Humourist2008091520141201 (R3)

Donald Macleod concentrates on a work for puppet theatre and an essay in Spanish colour.

Berners the Humourist2008091520141201 (R3)

Gerald Tyrwhitt-Wilson, the 14th Lord Berners, was a painter, novelist, writer of poetry and nonsense verse, and a composer of brilliant and whimsical music. He was famous for his wit and and outlandish behaviour. His eccentricities marked him out as a very English Englishman, but his music was a different matter entirely. Unlike many of his contemporaries on the British musical scene, he developed a distinctly European slant to his compositions, and came to be regarded as one of the truly original composers of the early 20th century.

Donald Macleod explores Berners's colourful life and music, starting with a work for puppet theatre, an exuberant essay in Spanish colour and a trio of waltzes which contain a passage Stravinsky described as "one of the most impudent in modern music".

Berners the Humourist2008091520141201 (R3)

Gerald Tyrwhitt-Wilson, the 14th Lord Berners, was a painter, novelist, writer of poetry and nonsense verse, and a composer of brilliant and whimsical music. He was famous for his wit and and outlandish behaviour. His eccentricities marked him out as a very English Englishman, but his music was a different matter entirely. Unlike many of his contemporaries on the British musical scene, he developed a distinctly European slant to his compositions, and came to be regarded as one of the truly original composers of the early 20th century.

Donald Macleod explores Berners's colourful life and music, starting with a work for puppet theatre, an exuberant essay in Spanish colour and a trio of waltzes which contain a passage Stravinsky described as "one of the most impudent in modern music".

Donald Macleod concentrates on a work for puppet theatre and an essay in Spanish colour.

01Berners the Humorist2008091520141201

Gerald Tyrwhitt-Wilson, the 14th Lord Berners, was a painter, novelist, writer of poetry and nonsense verse, and a composer of brilliant and whimsical music. He was famous for his wit and and outlandish behaviour. His eccentricities marked him out as a very English Englishman, but his music was a different matter entirely. Unlike many of his contemporaries on the British musical scene, he developed a distinctly European slant to his compositions, and came to be regarded as one of the truly original composers of the early 20th century.

Donald Macleod explores Berners’s colourful life and music, starting with a work for puppet theatre, an exuberant essay in Spanish colour and a trio of waltzes which contain a passage Stravinsky described as “one of the most impudent in modern music?

Du bist wie eine blume from Three Songs in the German Manner

Felicity Lott (soprano)

Peter Lawson (piano)

ALBANY TROY 290 T1-3

Le Poisson d’Or

Len Vorster (piano)

MARCO POLO 8.225159 T5

Three Pieces for Orchestra

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra

Barry Wordsworth, conductor

CAMPION CAMEO 2054

L’uomo dai baffi

English Northern Philharmonia

David Lloyd-Jones, conductor

MARCO POLO 8.223711

T20-26

Valses Bourgeoises

Peter Lawson and Alan MacLean (piano)

ALBANY TROY 142 T1-3

Fantaisie Espagnole

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra

Barry Wordsworth, conductor

CAMPION CAMEO 2054

Donald Macleod concentrates on a work for puppet theatre and an essay in Spanish colour.

02Berners and Diaghilev2008091620141202

With works commissioned by Diaghilev - Berners's only opera and his fairytale ballet suite

In spite of his ultra-establishment position as a peer of the realm, Lord Berners didn’t connect at all with the old guard in the artistic world. He found he had more in common with the wildly eccentric Sitwells who, like him, were rebelling against a conventional Victorian upbringing. Berners’ idiosyncratic ways didn’t deter some of the greatest artistic talents of the time from a desire to work with him. Donald Macleod introduces two works commissioned by the renowned impresario Serge Diaghilev – Berners’s first and only opera and the suite from his fairytale ballet.

Trois Chansons

Felicity Lott (soprano)

Peter Lawson (piano)

ALBANY TROY 290

T6-8

Le Carosse du Saint-Sacrement – Scenes 7 & 8

The Viceroy

Ian Caddy (baritone)

La Perichole

Cynthia Buchan (soprano)

Thomas d’Esquivel

Thomas Lawlor

Bishop of Lima

Anthony Smith

Balthasar (Viceroy’s servant) John Winfield

BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra

Nicholas Cleobury, conductor

MARCO POLO 8.225155

T9&10

Fugue in C minor

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra

Barry Wordsworth, conductor

CAMPION CAMEO 2054

The Triumph of Neptune

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra

Barry Wordsworth, conductor

CAMPION CAMEO 2054

032008091720141203

In the mid 1920s, Lord Berners started to take painting much more seriously and composing fell by the wayside. But that was soon to change: with the advent of the Wall Street Crash Berners felt the need for a reliable source of income and returned to writing music.

Donald Macleod introduces Berners's next two ballets – one, devised in collaboration with the American writer Gertrude Stein about unrequited love, the other a fantastical work featuring a three-headed man, a three-legged juggler, a one-legged ballerina, and a man with six arms!

Fanfare

Royal Ballet Sinfonia

Gavin Sutherland

MARCO POLO 8.225155

T1

Luna Park

RTE Sinfonietta

Kenneth Alwyn, conductor

MARCO POLO 8.223716

T6-10

A Wedding Bouquet

RTE Choir

RTE Sinfonietta

Kenneth Alwyn, conductor

MARCO POLO 8.223716

T1-4

Donald Macleod presents a fantastical Berners ballet, featuring various strange characers.

04Berners the Versatile Poet2008091820141204

Lord Berners wasn’t just a skilful composer; he also had great success as both painter and writer. He produced two short stories, two volumes of memoirs, a play and seven novels in which Berners himself and many of his friends are portrayed, not always in the most flattering light.

Donald Macleod explores Berners’ literary endeavours and introduces music from the war-time years, including a ballet based on the legend of Cupid and Psyche and his first venture into film music.

Lullaby and The Green-Eyed Monster from Three English Songs

Felicity Lott (soprano)

Peter Lawson (piano)

ALBANY TROY290

T12

Cupid and Psyche

RTE SINFONIETTA

David Lloyd-Jones, conductor

MARCO POLO 8.223780

T12-18

Red Roses and Red Noses

Felicity Lott (soprano)

Peter Lawson (piano)

ALBANY TROY290

T26

Halfway House suite

BBC Concert Orchestra

Rumon Gamba

CHANDOS CHAN 10459

T19-24

Donald Macleod explores Berners's literary endeavours and introduces war-time music.

05 LASTBerners the Socialite2008091920141205

Donald Macleod presents Berners's fifth ballet and his Nicholas Nickelby film score.

Berners spent his life mixing with some of the most conspicuous names in the artistic world. Throughout his career he had fruitful collaborations with such luminaries as Serge Diaghilev, George Balanchine, Gertrude Stein, Sacheverell Sitwell and Constant Lambert. Donald Macleod introduces Berners’ fifth ballet, which was to be his final association with Frederick Ashton and Cecil Beaton, and the suite from his very last work – the score for the 1947 film of Charles Dickens’ novel Nicholas Nickleby.

Come on, Algernon

Mary Carewe (soprano)

BBC Concert Orchestra

Rumon Gamba, conductor

CHANDOS

CHAN 104590

T16

Les Sirènes

RTE Sinfonietta

David Lloyd-Jones, conductor

MARCO POLO 8.223780

T1-10

Nicholas Nickleby Suite

BBC Concert Orchestra

Rumon Gamba, conductor

CHANDOS

CHAN10459

T18

The Sailor’s Return (from The Triumph of Neptune)

Robert Grooters (baritone)

Philadelphia Orchestra

Sir Thomas Beecham, conductor

SONY CLASSICAL SMK46683