All the Fun of the Fair by L.Berwin

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Each piece in this unique modern piano suite by British composer Lindsey Berwin depicts a different fairground ride or stall. To create the mystery of The Ghost Train and the thrill of The Rollercoaster, the hilarity of The Dodgem Cars and the relaxation of The Lazy Water Ride, the composer uses chromatic passages, whole-tone scales and a variety of dissonance. The tritone parallel motion in The Pirate Ship represents a characterful swagger, and sequences of perfect fourths in The Lotus Flower Ferris Wheel lend an oriental flavour to this composition. The somewhat atonal feel of The Coconut Shy, together with quirky acciaccaturas and two-part imitation portrays two people competing for the prize.

This begins with a slow, rubato 4-bar introduction, setting the scene for the ghostly journey! The left hand then establishes an ostinato pattern based on augmented 4ths, representing the movement of the train, while the right-hand mimics the sound of its whistle. The tension builds, until fortissimo chords herald the appearance of a frightening apparition! The train restarts twice more, the last time accelerating, until octaves, played presto, lead into a final terrifying encounter!

The 6/8 lilt at the start of this piece is intended to represent the movement of the Carousel as it gently turns. The ascending and descending nature of some of the phrases, and the changes in key and time signature, signify the rise and fall of the horses, as well as the carousel’s circular motion. The piece ends with a gradual diminuendo and a small ritenuto, denoting the ending of the ride.

The alternation between 5/4 and 3/4 time signatures, and the use of sequential movement and harmonic twists in unexpected ways recreate the mayhem of the Dodgems in this humorous piece! Accented chords, preceded by sudden crescendi and followed by rests, mimic the collision of cars. As a brief respite, there is a short contrasting middle section more lyrical in character, before the music builds back up to a repeat of the opening material.

The movement of a slowly turning Ferris Wheel is depicted in this piece by its fluid writing and, as in The Carousel, gently rising and falling phrases. To add to the feeling of peace and tranquility, use of parallel 4ths will transport the performer and listener to the beauty of the Orient.

An atmosphere of excitement tinged with fear is set at the start of this composition! The whole-tone scale rises, as the passengers are slowly carried to the summit. Gradually the speed increases, then the cars descend dramatically. This is represented by vivace chromatic semiquavers, becoming dissonant along the way to reflect the cries of the riders! Twice more this scene is repeated, and the final descent builds in contrary motion to a fortissimo climax!

A series of slow, dissonant and eerie arpeggiated chords, followed by a cadenza-like chromatic passage provide the introduction to this mysterious piece. The piu allegro appassionata section gradually rises to a soaring fortissimo. The music then slowly dies away, as the hands imitate each other descending sequentially. A return to the opening style follows, but this time, almost like gravity, the harmony pulls us away from uncertainty to end with a feeling of peace.

In contrast to the intense emotion of The UFO, this composition portrays a calm and relaxed ride, using very little dissonance. Rippling water is depicted by descending semiquaver passages in the high register. These move sequentially through different keys, finally returning the piece to its starting key of A major.

A bold introduction of chords built on 4ths sets the scene for this feisty musical picture. The swaggering character of pirates is then imitated by the use of tritone chords, chromatically rising and falling 3rds and descending broken octaves. A passage with a sturdy left-hand ostinato evokes the swinging movement of the ride, and after a return to the previous material, contrary motion octaves bring the music to a spirited end on a sfz Dm#7 chord.

A Latin-style accompaniment, characteristic rhythms and ornamentation in the melody here carry us to Spain and the world of the matador. The 5/4 time signature of the first section, and the insistent ostinato in the second add humour, as the rider attempts to stay mounted on the bull! As the ending approaches, a repeated pattern rises from the depths of the piano. It culminates in a fortissimo descending glissando, as the rider finally admits defeat!


In this playful piece, the left and right hand each represents a person competing to win the prize. They begin tentatively, taking turns to introduce their short demisemiquaver figure, but they quickly gain the confidence to play with assurance! Acciaccaturas, imitation and changing time signatures, combined with considerable dissonance including bitonality, bring All The Fun Of The Fair to a suitably quirky and light-hearted ending!


28 pages
ISBN 9781911359142
EVC Music Publications Ltd
Copyright © 2017

Additional information

Weight 165 g

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1 review for All the Fun of the Fair by L.Berwin

  1. Rated 5 out of 5

    micky.hillman (verified owner)

    A highly imaginative collection of compositions. The composer has an individual style and yet the pieces are still interesting and varied. The emotion and story within the music is accurately reflected in the title of each piece. I have my own personal favourite (The Lazy Water Ride) but I have to say that all of these pieces are beautifully crafted and a pleasure to listen to as well as play.

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