PROGRAMME NOTES

Suite for the Centenary of Lord Berners

Orchestra (1983)

Blues – Jig – March – Dirge – Waltz – Blues

First public performance, BBC Concert Orchestra/Barry Wordsworth, Snape Maltings, 22 August 2016, also BBC R3 subsequently.

This Suite is based on music originally written for the film, A Great Day for Bonzo, an H. E. Bates story about three children. It was adapted for Granada TV by Ian Curteis and directed by Michael Apted, and shown on 12 May 1974. The music was written for that very soft instrument the clavichord and the Suite is on CD that way as well as in the orchestral version which was made in 2015 for the recording with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales/Clark Rundell, now out on Heritage.

The opening and closing Blues creates the atmosphere of the farming landscape which frames the action of the story. The Jig has a mildly jazzy atmosphere over a regular beat featuring muted trumpet and brass outbursts. The March starts conventionally but peters out quietly. The Dirge is a funeral march followed by two variations, the second reaching a climax. This subsides straight into the Waltz which was a conventional chase in the film. It was written close to the style of Lord Berners’ music hence the title marking his centenary in 1983. Peter Dickinson’s music shows great variety, and this Suite is very much at the lighter end of the spectrum.

Published by Goodmusic 2015

© 2008-17 Peter Dickinson

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