24 May 2015

Lord Berners - Exemplary English Eccentric

From Composer of the Week, 9:00 am on 24 May 2015

Lord BernersLord Berners is known for inviting his horse into the house for tea, dyeing pigeons on the lawn in vegetable dye and hosting outrageous parties.

All this time devoted to pranks might make you think his compositions would be trite and amateurish. But that impression is hard to back up when you realise that Stravinsky once described Berners as the most interesting of English composers. In 1920s England there was plenty of competition for that title.

Berners’s forte was in writing ballet music. As Elric Hooper points out in this programme: “He was efficient, swift and understanding of the demands of the dancers’ stamina and breathing. He would cut or increase on demand. Ballet was his natural milieu.”