GMG Classical Music Forum

The Music Room => Composer Discussion => Topic started by: vandermolen on August 22, 2009, 01:38:40 PM

Title: Peter Warlock (Philip Heseltine) 1894-1930
Post by: vandermolen on August 22, 2009, 01:38:40 PM
Warlock was the 'Satanic pseudonym' of Philip Heseltine, who gassed himself in 1930 (after having first put his cat outside the door). I have been listening to his masterpiece - 'The Curlew' a setting for tenor and chamber group of a poem by W B Yeats. In this work of great beauty Warlock 'explored creatively the melancholy and despair which lay at the roots`of his Jekyll and Hyde personality'' (Michael Kennedy). Well worth a listen if you don't know it. It is about to be reissued in a wonderful performance by Ian Partridge (tenor) and The Music Group of London on EMI (double album) with his fine Capriol Suite - a work in the great tradition of English string music (a bit like Holst's St Paul's Suite). Also on the CD is Ian Partridge's unrivalled performance of the chamber version of Vaughan Williams's 'On Wenlock Edge' etc.http://www.peterwarlock.org/

Title: Re: Peter Warlock (Philip Heseltine) 1894-1930
Post by: canninator on August 24, 2009, 01:42:56 AM
Coincidentally, as I read this I am listening to my latest purchase for the first time. Too early really to formulate much of an opinion but as I am sitting at work the fact that The Curlew turned my head bodes well for the future.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51J9ShxIvrL._SS500_.jpg)
Title: Re: Peter Warlock (Philip Heseltine) 1894-1930
Post by: Sergeant Rock on August 24, 2009, 03:33:48 AM
As I wrote a few weeks ago in the listening thread, The Curlew is almost unique in conjuring up a mood of "a lost soul moving" to quote John Berryman, who wrote poetically of his experience hearing the music at Clare College Cambridge in the 30s:

Friendless in Clare, except Brian Boydell,
a Dubliner with no hair
an expressive tenor speaking voice
who introduced me to the music of Peter Warlock

who had just knocked himself off, fearing the return
of his other personality, Philip Heseltine.
Brian used to play
The Curlew with the lights out,
voice of a lost soul moving...


To other worthy Curlews are sung by John Mark Ainsley and Martyn Hill. I prefer Hill because he doesn't have that typical English tenor sound.


(http://photos.imageevent.com/sgtrock/july2009/Warlock%20Ainsley.jpg) (http://photos.imageevent.com/sgtrock/july2009/Warlock%20Hill.jpg)


Sarge
Title: Re: Peter Warlock (Philip Heseltine) 1894-1930
Post by: vandermolen on August 24, 2009, 08:08:46 AM
Coincidentally, as I read this I am listening to my latest purchase for the first time. Too early really to formulate much of an opinion but as I am sitting at work the fact that The Curlew turned my head bodes well for the future.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51J9ShxIvrL._SS500_.jpg)

I'll be interested to hear what you think. Certainly, it's unlike any other work I know although 'The Trees so High' by Patrick Hadley (one of my favourite works) inhabits a similarly hauntingly gloomy sound world.
Title: Re: Peter Warlock (Philip Heseltine) 1894-1930
Post by: vandermolen on August 24, 2009, 08:10:10 AM
As I wrote a few weeks ago in the listening thread, The Curlew is almost unique in conjuring up a mood of "a lost soul moving" to quote John Berryman, who wrote poetically of his experience hearing the music at Clare College Cambridge in the 30s:

Friendless in Clare, except Brian Boydell,
a Dubliner with no hair
an expressive tenor speaking voice
who introduced me to the music of Peter Warlock

who had just knocked himself off, fearing the return
of his other personality, Philip Heseltine.
Brian used to play
The Curlew with the lights out,
voice of a lost soul moving...


To other worthy Curlews are sung by John Mark Ainsley and Martyn Hill. I prefer Hill because he doesn't have that typical English tenor sound.


(http://photos.imageevent.com/sgtrock/july2009/Warlock%20Ainsley.jpg) (http://photos.imageevent.com/sgtrock/july2009/Warlock%20Hill.jpg)


Sarge


Thanks Sarge - I didn't see your earlier post. Thanks for the poem too.
Title: Re: Peter Warlock (Philip Heseltine) 1894-1930
Post by: canninator on August 25, 2009, 04:24:36 AM
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).
Title: Re: Peter Warlock (Philip Heseltine) 1894-1930
Post by: 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.

  (https://i.imgur.com/Iyh9rxT.jpg)   (https://i.imgur.com/6MGV9JE.jpg)
Title: Re: Peter Warlock (Philip Heseltine) 1894-1930
Post by: vandermolen on October 11, 2018, 04:55:33 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.

  (https://i.imgur.com/Iyh9rxT.jpg)   (https://i.imgur.com/6MGV9JE.jpg)

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.
Title: Re: Peter Warlock (Philip Heseltine) 1894-1930
Post by: vandermolen on May 09, 2019, 09:12:45 AM
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:
(http://)
Title: Re: Peter Warlock (Philip Heseltine) 1894-1930
Post by: Klaatu on May 09, 2019, 10:35:50 AM
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!
Title: Re: Peter Warlock (Philip Heseltine) 1894-1930
Post by: Sergeant Rock on May 09, 2019, 12:25:07 PM
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!

Thanks for the link...and I did enjoy.

Sarge
Title: Re: Peter Warlock (Philip Heseltine) 1894-1930
Post by: vers la flamme on April 03, 2020, 07:03:47 AM
Bump for a fascinating composer. Where to after the Serenade for Strings & the Capriol Suite?
Title: Re: Peter Warlock (Philip Heseltine) 1894-1930
Post by: Irons on April 04, 2020, 01:09:54 AM
Bump for a fascinating composer. Where to after the Serenade for Strings & the Capriol Suite?

Like Butterworth not many places to go, beside the songs.

As Jeffrey alluded do not listen to "The Curlew" in a darkened room alone.
Title: Re: Peter Warlock (Philip Heseltine) 1894-1930
Post by: vers la flamme on April 04, 2020, 04:13:59 AM
Like Butterworth not many places to go, beside the songs.

As Jeffrey alluded do not listen to "The Curlew" in a darkened room alone.

Sounds like a great idea  ;D I will check it out.
Title: Re: Peter Warlock (Philip Heseltine) 1894-1930
Post by: Scion7 on October 14, 2021, 04:37:31 AM
Halloween season - time to drag out "The Curlew", etc.
Title: Re: Peter Warlock (Philip Heseltine) 1894-1930
Post by: vandermolen on October 14, 2021, 12:08:39 PM
I wasn't aware of this book - looks interesting:
(http://)
Title: Re: Peter Warlock (Philip Heseltine) 1894-1930
Post by: Irons on October 15, 2021, 12:38:24 AM
I wasn't aware of this book - looks interesting:
(http://)

Purchased a second-hand hardback copy for £20 (Amazon). Not bad considering a new paperback is a cool £60!
Thanks for heads up, Jeffrey.
Title: Re: Peter Warlock (Philip Heseltine) 1894-1930
Post by: vandermolen on October 16, 2021, 05:57:41 AM
Purchased a second-hand hardback copy for £20 (Amazon). Not bad considering a new paperback is a cool £60!
Thanks for heads up, Jeffrey.
My pleasure Lol - I hope that you enjoy it.
Title: Re: Peter Warlock (Philip Heseltine) 1894-1930
Post by: Irons on October 17, 2021, 01:54:05 AM
My pleasure Lol - I hope that you enjoy it.

Opens promisingly, Jeffrey. Warlock was born in the Savoy Hotel, schooled at Eton, followed by Oxford University. Well and truly a silver spoon!
Title: Re: Peter Warlock (Philip Heseltine) 1894-1930
Post by: vandermolen on October 17, 2021, 02:22:46 AM
Opens promisingly, Jeffrey. Warlock was born in the Savoy Hotel, schooled at Eton, followed by Oxford University. Well and truly a silver spoon!
Sounds like our current political leadership!  ;D
Title: Re: Peter Warlock (Philip Heseltine) 1894-1930
Post by: Irons on October 17, 2021, 04:27:12 AM
Sounds like our current political leadership!  ;D

Brilliant! My first laugh of the day! :laugh:
Title: Re: Peter Warlock (Philip Heseltine) 1894-1930
Post by: vandermolen on October 17, 2021, 02:08:27 PM
Brilliant! My first laugh of the day! :laugh:
;D
Title: Re: Peter Warlock (Philip Heseltine) 1894-1930
Post by: LKB on October 20, 2021, 07:55:26 AM
I haven't heard The Curlew for decades, not since spending a couple of intense days with the EMI/Partridge et. al. LP. I still remember how uniquely lonely Heseltine seemed after hearing the piece.

Lonely... and darkly brilliant.
Title: Re: Peter Warlock (Philip Heseltine) 1894-1930
Post by: Irons on October 21, 2021, 02:04:06 AM
I haven't heard The Curlew for decades, not since spending a couple of intense days with the EMI/Partridge et. al. LP. I still remember how uniquely lonely Heseltine seemed after hearing the piece.

Lonely... and darkly brilliant.

Reading the early part of his biography he had the world at his feet with money, talent and people around him that cared. There are two clues that lead you to think that maybe trouble ahead. His fixation with Delius went beyond hero-worship. Also an intense, at times difficult, relationship with his mother, a strong-willed difficult woman.
Title: Re: Peter Warlock (Philip Heseltine) 1894-1930
Post by: LKB on October 21, 2021, 06:45:18 AM
Years ago, l was able to talk my fellow vocalists into joining me for an Advent performance of Bethlehem Down.

What an exotic experience, singing a Christmas carol evoking pity, rather than joy. The only other carol l can think of with comparable emotional impact is Sabine Baring-Gould's The Infant King, but whereas the final verse in that piece proclaims the Easter victory, Heseltine leaves his listener a superbly crafted collection of unsettling imagery.

I'm glad to have performed the piece; I also doubt I'll ever wish to again.