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Eccentric British composer, novelist and painter Gerald Tyrwhitt, also known as Gerald Hugh Tyrwhitt-Wilson, 14th Baron Berners and as Lord Berners, was born in Apley Hall, Stockton, Shropshire on 18 September 1883 as Gerald Hugh Tyrwhitt. From 1931 he lived at Faringdon House, Faringdon, Oxfordshire. In 1932 he fell in love with the much younger Robert Heber-Percy, and Heber-Percy married an even younger woman, Jennifer Fry.
Tyrwhitt was notorious for his eccentricity, driving around his estate wearing a pig's head and dying pigeons bright colours. His Rolls Royce contained a small clavichord, and he once entertained John Betjeman's wife's horse to tea. Other guests at Faringdon included H G Wells, Salvador Dali and Igor Stravinsky. He was also friendly with William Walton (who dedicated Belshazzar's Feast to Tyrwhitt) and with Constant Lambert and Frederick Ashton, with whom he collaborated on his last three ballets.
Tyrwhitt suffered from periods of depression, and these became stronger during World War II. He lost his eyesight after the production of his last ballet, Les Sirènes. He died on 19 April 1950, aged sixty-six.
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CD Spotlight. Very Infectious - Gerald Fenech listens to several recent recordings of British music. 'Another stylish re-issue in a series that is experiencing a highly deserved renaissance.'
CD Spotlight. Welcome back Lord Berners - Gerald Fenech listens to two stage works by an enigmatic English composer. 'Soloists and chorus deliver some flawless singing, and their great attention to the text creates a sense of reverential homage to the sacred.'
CD Spotlight. A Wayward Artist with Many Talents - Gerald Fenech listens to music by Gerald Hugh Tyrwhitt-Wilson. 'David Lloyd-Jones has this music under his skin ...'