• Lord Berners
  • Portsmouth Point (1920)

  • Chester Music Ltd (World)
  • pf
  • 7 min

Programme Note

Described by its composer as a ‘Symphonic sketch after a drawing by Rowlandson’, Portsmouth Point was written at the height of Berners’ Stravinsky-influenced period and is unashamedly in homage to his tutor with its relentlessly discordant tone, and frequent echoes of The Soldier’s Tale, which had appeared in the same year.

Since the young William Walton was to become one of Berners’ few musical acolytes, it can be reasonably assumed that it was he who gave Walton the idea for his own orchestra overture of 1924/5. The success of the piece must have prevented Berners publishing his own work, at least under its original title. (Berners paints a thinly disguised portrait in his novel Count Omega where he is dubbed ‘the great white hope of English music’.)

© Philip Lane

Discography