scores by Bernard Hughes

scores by Bernard Hughes

Event Calendar

April 2014


  • Trinity Boys Choir performance

    The world famous Trinity Boys Choir will be performing Bernard Hughes’s Lux Aeterna at a concert of British choral music at St John’s Smith Square in London on Wednesday 7 May 2014.

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  • Juice premiere

    Bernard Hughes’s new vocal piece Does a Firm Perswasion that a Thing is So, Make it So? is being premiered by the renowned Juice Vocal Ensemble at the National Portrait Gallery on Friday 31 January 2014.

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  • Isabel’s Noisy Tummy

    Bernard Hughes’s family concert piece for narrator and orchestra Isabel’s Noisy Tummy is being performed by Woking Symphony Orchestra at the HG Wells Centre in Woking on Saturday 18 January at 3.30, with the Bernard as Narrator.

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  • Herne Hill Music Festival

    Bernard Hughes’s piano trio Without Ceremony will be performed as part of the Herne Hill Music Festival on Wednesday 16 October 2013.

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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.’ 
[Quotations come from the excellent and highly-recommended Lord Berners: Composer, Writer, Painter by Peter Dickinson.] 

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

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