Lord Berners

Gerald Hugh Tyrwhitt-Wilson, 14th Baron Berners, also known as Lord Berners or Gerald Tyrwhitt, was a British composer of classical music, novelist, painter, & conspicuous aesthete.

Lord Berners was educated at Eton College, travelled widely in his youth, and served as a diplomat before inheriting his title. As well as being a talented musician, he was a skilled artist and writer. His works included Trois morceaux, Fantasie espagnole (1919), Fugue in C minor (1924), and several ballets, including The Triumph of Neptune (1926) (based on a story by Sacheverell Sitwell) and Luna Park (1930). In later years he composed several songs and film scores, notably for the 1946 film of Nicholas Nickleby. His friends included the composers Constant Lambert , William Walton and Igor Stravinsky and he worked with Frederick Ashton; William Walton dedicated Belshazzar's Feast to Berners. Lord Berners suffered from depression for much of his life.

Lord Berners wrote several autobiographical works and some novels, mostly of a humorous nature. He is also known for his roman The Girls of Radcliff Hall, (named apropos the famous lesbian writer), in where he depicts himself and his circle of friends, such as Cecil Beaton and Oliver Messel, as girls that are members of a school named Radcliff Hall. The indiscretions made in this novel (which was published privately and distributed the same), created an uproar among his intimates and acquaintances, turning the whole affair highly discussed in the 1930's. The novel subsequently disappeared from circulation, making it an extremely rare book among collectors of gay literature. Rumor has it that Beaton was responsible for gathering most of the already scarce copies of the book and destroying them. However, the book has been reprinted in 2000.

Lord Berners is a curious personality in the British literature circle of the mid 20th century. He is cited in many books and biographies en passant; always seemed to be present at some more famous person's party. He was portrayed as the delightful Lord Merlin in Nancy Mitford's The Pursuit of Love. He was notorious for his eccentricity, dyeing his Faringdon house pigeons in vibrant colors and at one point having a giraffe as a pet and tea companion. As a child, having heard that if you throw a dog into water it will learn how to swim, he threw his mother's canine companion out of the window on the grounds that if one applies the same logic it should learn how to fly. (The dog was unharmed, and he was "thrashed" by his mother.) At some point he also accused the dog of having a face like George Eliot. He lived in Rome during the fascism years and found himself in trouble after his return to England, for his friendship with fascists. He was also a great friend and supporter of Diana Guinness. He published many autobiographical accounts of his privileged childhood and teenager years.

Berner is one of the best served composers and writers by the modern media. All his music and writimgs are available as CD and book. Mainly due to the foundation, managed by the daughter of Robert Heber Percy, the young man, nicknamed "Mad Boy", who lived with Berrners and was the sole heir of the estate.

Fun reading!

A special page with Lord Berners books and biographies

Year / Artwork Title Importance Medium
1914 Dispute entre le Papillon et le Crapaud 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
Comments:

Susan Bradshaw - Piano

1914 Dispute entre le Papillon et le Crapaud 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
Comments:

Len Vorster - Piano

ca. 1915 Fragments Psychologique 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
Comments:
La Haine
Le Rire
Un Soupir

Peter Dickinson - Piano

ca. 1915 Fragments Psychologique 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
Comments:
La Haine
Le Rire
Un Soupir

Len Vorster - Piano

1915 Le Poisson d'Or 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
Comments:
Susan Bradshaw - Piano
1915 Le Poisson d'Or 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
Comments:
Len Vorster - Piano
1916 Trois Petites Marches Funèbres 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
Comments:
For a Statesman
For a Canary
For a Rich Aunt

Susan Bradshaw - Piano

1916 Trois Petites Marches Funèbres 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
Comments:
For a Statesman
For a Canary
For a Rich Aunt

Len Vorster - Piano

1913-1918 Three Songs in the German Manner 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
Comments:
Du bist wie eine Blume
Koenig Wiswamitra
Weinachtslied

Meriel Dickinson - Mezzo Sporano
Peter Dickinson - Piano

1913-1918 Three Songs in the German Manner 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
Comments:
Du bist wie eine Blume
Koenig Wiswamitra
Weinachtslied

Ian Partridge - Tenor
Len Vorster - Piano

1918 Trois Morceaux - Quatre Mains (Piano Duo?) Version 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
Comments:
Chinoiserie
Valse Sentimentale
Kasatchok

Peter Lawson and Alan MacLean - piano

1918 Trois Morceaux - Orchestrated Version 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
Comments:
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra cond. Barry Wordsworth
1918 Valses Bourgeoises 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
  Lord Berners Comments:
Royal Ballet Sinfonia cond. David Lloyd-Jones
1918 L'Uomo dai Baffi 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
  Lord Berners Comments:
English Northern Philharmonia cond. David Lloyd-Jones
1919 Valses Bourgeoises 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
Comments:
Valse Brilliante
Valse Caprice
Strauss, Strauss and Straus

Susan Bradshaw and Richard Rodney Bennett

1919 Valses Bourgeoises 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
Comments:
Valse Brilliante
Valse Caprice
Strauss, Strauss and Straus

Peter Lawson and Alan MacLean - piano

1919 Fantaisie Espagnole 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
Comments:
Prelude
Fandango
Pasadoble

Peter Lawson and Alan MacLean - piano

1919 Fantaisie Espagnole 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
Comments:
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra cond. Barry Wordsworth
1920 Three Songs 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
Comments:
Lullaby
The Lady Visitor in the Pauper Ward
The Green-Eyed Monster

Ian Partridge - Tenor
Len Vorster - Piano

1920 Three Songs 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
Comments:
Lullaby
The Lady Visitor in the Pauper Ward
The Green-Eyed Monster

Meriel and Peter Dickinson

1920 Trois Chanson 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
Comments:
Romance
L'Etoile Filante
La Fianceé du Timbilier

Meriel and Peter Dickinson

1920 Trois Chanson 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
Comments:
Romance
L'Etoile Filante
La Fianceé du Timbilier

Ian Partridge - Tenor
Len Vorster - Piano

1921 Dialogue between Tom Filuter and his Man, by Ned the Dog Stealer 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
Comments:
Bernard Dickinson - Tenor
Richard Rodney Bennett - Piano
1921 Dialogue between Tom Filuter and his Man, by Ned the Dog Stealer 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
Comments:
Ian Partridge - Tenor
Len Vorster - Piano
1921 Three Songs [Sea Shanties] 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
Comments:
The Rio Grande
A Long Time Ago
Theodore or the Pirate King

Bernard Dickinson - Tenor
Richard Rodney Bennett - Piano

1921 Three Songs [Sea Shanties] 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
Comments:
The Rio Grande
A Long Time Ago
Theodore or the Pirate King

Ian Partridge - Tenor
Len Vorstert - Piano

1923 Caprice Péruvien 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
  Lord Berners Comments:
Miriam Blennerhassett - Contralto
RTE Sinfonietta cond. David Lloyd-Jones
1923 Le Carrosse Du Saint-Sacrement 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
Comments:
Berners only opera

Solists,
BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra cond. Nicholas Cleobury

1924 Fugue 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
Comments:
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra cond. Barry Wordsworth
1926 The Triumph of Neptune 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
  Lord Berners Comments:
Complete music from the ballet

Clive Bayley - Bass
English Northern Philharmonia cond. David Lloyd-Jones

1926 The Triumph of Neptune 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
Comments:
Complete music from the ballet

Robert Grooters - Bass
Philidelphia Orchestra cond. Sir Thomas Beecham

1926 The Triumph of Neptune (Suite) 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
Comments:
Suite in seven parts from the ballet

Christopher Underwood - Bass
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra cond. Barry Wordsworth

1930 Luna Park 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
  Lord Berners Comments:
This ballet could have been the score for a musical.
Choreographed by Balanchine.

RTE Sinfonietta cond. Kennith Alwyn

1931 Fanfare (and March) 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
Comments:

Royal Ballet Sinfonia cond. Gavin Sutherland

1937 Wedding Bouquet 4.50 out of 5 stars CD
Lord berners Comments:
His most succesfull ballet.

RTE Chamber Choir
RTE Sinfonietta cond. Kennith Alwyn

1938 Caprice Péruvien 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
Comments:
Arranged by Constant Lambert

RTE Sinfonietta cond. David Lloyd-Jones

1939 Cupid and Psyche (Ballet Suite) 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
  Lord Berners Comments:
RTE Sinfonietta cond. David Lloyd-Jones
ca 1941 Red Roses and Red Noses 3.50 out of 5 stars CD
Comments:
La Haine
Le Rire
Un Soupir

Meriel and Peter Dickinson - Piano

ca 1941 Red Roses and Red Noses 3.50 out of 5 stars CD
Comments:
La Haine
Le Rire
Un Soupir

Ian Partridge - Tenor
Len Vorster - Piano

1941 Polka 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
Comments:
Piano Version

Len Vorster - Piano

1941 Polka 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
  Lord Berners Comments:
Orchestrated Version

Royal Ballet Sinfonia cond. David Lloyd-Jones

Comments:
Piano Version

Peter Dickinson - Piano

+ Lord Berners - Piano (Historical recording)

1943 Valse 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
Comments:

Len Vorster - Piano

1944 Suite from The Halfway House 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
Comments:
Orchestrations by Philip Lane

BBC Concert Orchestra cond. Rumon Gamba

1944 Come on Algeron 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
Comments:
Meriel & Peter Dickinson
1944 Come on Algeron 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
Comments:
Ian Partridge - Tenor
Len Vorster - Piano
1944 From: Champagne Charlie (Movie) 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
Comments:
- Come on Algeron*
- Polka

Orchestration by Philip Lane

*Mary Carewe - Soprano
BBC Concert Orchestra cond. Rumon Gamba

1945 March 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
Lord berners Comments:
Original piano version

Len Vorster - Piano

1945 March 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
Lord berners Comments:
Orchestration by

RTE Sinfonietta cond. Kennith Alwyn

1945 The Expulsion from Paradise 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
Lord berners Comments:

Len Vorster - Piano

1946 Les Sirènes (Complete Ballet) 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
  Lord Berners Comments:
RTE Sinfonietta cond. David Lloyd-Jones
1946 Les Sirènes [Ballet Music] 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
Comments:
Habanera
Farruca
Valse

Historical recording

The Philharmonica Orchstra cond. Robert Irving

+ Prelude and Mazurka played by Lord Berners - Piano (Historical recording)

1947 Nicholas Nickleby [Soundtrack] 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
Comments:
Incidental music from the movie

Historical recording

The Philharmonia Orchestra cond. Ernest Irving

1947 Suite from Nicholas Nickelby 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
Comments:
Orchestrations by Philip Lane

BBC Concert Orchestra cond. Rumon Gamba

1947 Suite from Nicholas Nickelby 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
Comments:
Orchestrations by Ernest Irving

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra cond. Barry Wordsworth