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scores by Bernard Hughes

scores by Bernard Hughes

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November 2014
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News

  • Hughes on the high seas

    Bernard Hughes’s new piece, A Nuicracker Fantasy, for flute and piano, will be premiered by Claire Overbury (flute) and Elspeth Wyllie (piano) on the Cunard liner Queen Mary 2.

    Read more »
  • Composer-in-Residence

    Bernard Hughes has been appointed as Composer-in-Residence at St Paul’s Girls’ School in London, and will take up his position there in January 2015.

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  • Crouch End Festival Chorus premiere

    Bernard Hughes’s new choral work Salve Regina will be premiered by the Crouch End Festival Chorus on Tuesday 17 June 2014.

    Read more »
  • New Voices unveiled

    Bernard Hughes is included as one of the composers in the recently unveiled New Voices scheme, a gathering of young and mid-career composers promoted by Sound and Music.

    Read more »
posted February 21, 2010



Vanity project

Composers can’t afford to have thin skins, or they might get their vanity pricked. As William Walton once found at the hands of Lord Berners.

 The name of Lord Berners (1883-1950) is little-known today. He was unusual amongst the hereditary peerage of his time in showing more interest in the arts than in huntin’, shootin’ and fishin’. He was not only one of the leading composers of his generation (a respected friend of Stravinsky) but also an author and a more than competent landscape painter.  During the 1910s, whilst in the diplomatic service in Rome, Berners (then Gerald Tyrwhitt) was one of the most ‘advanced’ and interesting of British composers. This early music is intriguing, and worth a hearing.

 

But he was also renowned as an eccentric and a wit, and certainly no respecter of reputations. During the 1940s Berners wrote a number of novels, often featuring characters thinly disguised from real-life acquaintances. William Walton heard that Berners’ next novel would be about a composer his solicitors wrote asking that Walton not appear in the new novel. 

 
Berners’ reply to Walton was pointed. ‘Something must have happened to your sense of proportion as well as to your sense of humour. You surely don’t imagine that your personality is sufficiently interesting to appeal to me as a literary theme. If you insist on trying to thrust yourself into my novels in this fashion, I shall be obliged to apply for an injunction to restrain you from doing so.’ 
 
 Skewered.  
 
[Quotations come from the excellent and highly-recommended Lord Berners: Composer, Writer, Painter by Peter Dickinson.] 

This article first appeared at soundandmusic.org. See all postings by The Earwig. 

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