Lord Berners

Gerald Hugh Tyrwhitt-Wilson, 14th Baron Berners (1883 – 1950), also known as Gerald Tyrwhitt, was a British composer, novelist, painter, and aesthete. He was also known as Lord Berners.

Berners' early music, written during his period at the British embassy in Rome during World War I, was avant-garde in style. These are mostly songs (in English, French and German) and piano pieces, many written using his original name, Gerald Tyrwhitt. Later pieces were composed in a more accessible style, such as the Trois morceaux, Fantaisie 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, commissioned for a C. B. Cochran London revue in 1930.[20] His final three ballets, A Wedding Bouquet, Cupid and Psyche and Les Sirènes, were all written in collaboration with his friends Frederick Ashton (as choreographer) and Constant Lambert (as music director).[21]

Berners was also friendly with William Walton. Walton dedicated Belshazzar's Feast to Berners, and Lambert arranged a Caprice péruvien for orchestra, from Lord Berners' opera Le carrosse du St Sacrement. There are also scores for two films: The Halfway House (1943) and Nicholas Nickleby (1947), for which Ealing’s music director, Ernest Irving, provided the orchestrations.[21]

Berners himself once said that he would have been a better composer if he had accepted fewer lunch invitations. However, English composer Gavin Bryars, quoted in Peter Dickinson’s biography of Berners, disagrees saying: "If he had spent more time on his music he could have become a duller composer".[5] Dinah Birch, reviewing The Mad Boy, Lord Berners, My Grandmother and Me, a biography of Berners written by Robert's granddaughter, Sofka Zinovieff, concurs saying: "Had he committed himself to composition as his life's work, perhaps his legacy would have been more substantial. But his music might have been less innovative, for its amateur quality — 'amateur in the best sense', as Stravinsky insisted — is inseparable from its distinctive flair".[13]

Compositions by Lord Berners appear on

Summer Waves

A collection of short piano works performed by Len Vorster by composers such as Gershwin, Grieg, Debussy, Ravel and four others.