• Lord Berners
  • Trois Chansons (1920)

  • Chester Music Ltd (World)
  • medium voicepf
  • 4 min 30 s

Programme Note

i. Romance
ii. L'Etoile filante
iii. La Fiancée du Timbalier

Berners’ Trois Chansons have an honest and sympathetic quality, reflecting Berners overriding love of French culture. His command and understanding of the language is as firmly imprinted in these settings as it is in the opera La Carosse du Saint-Sacrement.

The author of the texts here, Georges Jean-Aubry (1882-1949) was known personally to the composer, since as editor of his publisher’s magazine, The Chesterian, he was resident in London until 1930. (Falla, Goosens, Malipiero, Roussel and Schmidt also set his texts.)

The ruminative quality of the first two songs is reflected in Berners’ mostly fragmentary treatment of the words. The third sets off the scene with mock bugle calls amidst a field of chromaticism – even the call itself is ‘annoyingly’ off-centre. The Stravinsky of Soldier’s Tale and Petrushka is never far away, but it is often Poulenc that comes more readily to mind. (It is worth saying here that Poulenc is a far more credible French equivalent of Berners than the more oft-quoted Satie, given their backgrounds, lifestyles and aesthetic proclivities.)

Philip Lane