• Lord Berners
  • Fragments Psychologiques (1916)

  • Chester Music Ltd (World)

i. La Haine (Hatred)
ii. Le Rire (Laughter)
iii. Un Soupir (A Sigh)

  • pf
  • 7 min

Programme Note

Berners’ musical pictures of these three human characteristics are delivered in some of his most uncompromising language. Although dissonances constitute the norm from the outset, harmonic coherence is maintained through comparatively conventional chromatic melodic progressions. One commentator dubbed the result "an oil and vinegar mixture”. Laugher has been called ‘a convulsion of the lungs’, a definition Berners might well have had in mind in this Allegro Molto. A sigh, on the other hand, one would usually hear as a downward gesture, yet Berners chose to express it as a chromatic rise and fall, suggesting a wistful rather than a regretful yearning, as if to suggest, ‘Oh, that it might be so’ rather than ‘Oh, that it had been’.

© Philip Lane