The Music Room > Composer Discussion

Peter Warlock (Philip Heseltine) 1894-1930

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canninator:
Well, The Curlew is surely the highlight of the Naxos CD. Without trying to sound to fuzzy, the violin in its brief solo parts is very reminiscent of RVW, particularly the viola of the Tallis Fantasia (I can pick out timings if people really want). The piece is also strewn with Delius but, despite this, does come off as an assured and original work rather than a pastiche. The rest of the songs is more of a mixed bag, I can't pick out individual songs at the moment but it's clear that as a song writer of any measure, Warlock lacks both the emotive capacity of Finzi and the wit of Britten. Some of the more jaunty songs here are downright clunky (Mr Bellocs Fancy springs to mind).

This CD pretty much confirms my preconception that Warlock is a minor figure at best. I don't think I would recommend this CD unless you were a completist for the English Song Series (guilty as charged here) but would recommend instead getting The Curlew on a separate disc with the Capriol Suite (probably on one of the discs Sarge recommended).

Irons:
I believe Peter Warlock was touched by genius but the problem was he couldn't handle it. Like Constant Lambert, who also had a short life, you can be too clever for your own good. For both, composing was one of many strings to their bow. No one can accuse Warlock for not living life to the full - how many composers rode a motorbike around their village stark naked! He had a dark side, it is said that it was through his influence that Moeran became an alcoholic. Not Britain's greatest composer, but one of it's most interesting.
I think the haunting "The Curlew" was Warlock's finest work. Similar in scope to RVW "On Wenlock Edge" I never tire of either. Ian Partridge and Music Group of London have recorded both excellently. Not as well recorded, I would be surprised if ever released on CD, but I have a special attachment to the old Argo with Alexander Young and the Sebastian String Quartet which take "haunting" to a whole new level.

     

vandermolen:

--- Quote from: Irons on October 11, 2018, 03:11:48 AM ---I believe Peter Warlock was touched by genius but the problem was he couldn't handle it. Like Constant Lambert, who also had a short life, you can be too clever for your own good. For both, composing was one of many strings to their bow. No one can accuse Warlock for not living life to the full - how many composers rode a motorbike around their village stark naked! He had a dark side, it is said that it was through his influence that Moeran became an alcoholic. Not Britain's greatest composer, but one of it's most interesting.
I think the haunting "The Curlew" was Warlock's finest work. Similar in scope to RVW "On Wenlock Edge" I never tire of either. Ian Partridge and Music Group of London have recorded both excellently. Not as well recorded, I would be surprised if ever released on CD, but I have a special attachment to the old Argo with Alexander Young and the Sebastian String Quartet which take "haunting" to a whole new level.

     

--- End quote ---

I'm with you here although there is a darker side, I think, to 'The Curlew' compared to 'On Wenlock Edge' and more personal. Apparently he put the cat outside before gassing himself. I find this rather touching.

vandermolen:
I've been listening to this fine disc from Sarge's post. It's a great programme with 'The Curlew' following on from the lovely 'Capriol Suite' and I enjoy all the other works as well. The Ian Partridge recording of 'The Curlew' (also listed above) remains in a class of its own but this version is very enjoyable too. The moment when the tenor speaks the line 'the boughs have withered because I have told them my dreams' is one of the most chilling and poignant moments I know in music, especially in view of what happened to the composer:

Klaatu:
Warlock has the honour of being one of the

"Six Magnificent Classical-Music-Composing Bastards"

on this blog - along with fellow Brits Havergal Brian and Ernest Moeran:

http://www.mrdankelly.com/blog/?p=1343

Enjoy!

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