Peter Warlock: Collected 78rpm Recordings

Peter Warlock: Collected 78rpm Recordings


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Peter Warlock: Collected 78rpm Recordings

Divine Art's Peter Warlock: Collected 78rpm Recordings is a two-disc collection of music by English composer Peter Warlock (Philip Heseltine), and not of Warlock himself, who seems not to have ever ventured into the recording studio. The date range of these recordings stretches from 1925 to 1951 and the two discs are divided among instrumental works and vocal ones. Warlock himself, of course, died in 1930, so if his collections were limited only to items recorded in his lifetime it would be a short disc indeed, though six of the vocal selections and John Barbirolli's version of "Serenade for Strings" do date from within his short lifetime. Warlock had a more extensive output than he is usually acknowledged for, but naturally during the 78 era only Warlock's most popular compositions were going to be recorded, and this leads to repetition: there are two "Capriol Suites," two "Serenades for Strings," three "Captain Stratton's Fancies," and three "Corpus Christis" -- the songs "The Fox" and "Sleep" are heard twice apiece. Moreover, certain pieces that did not gain popularity until long after Warlock's death -- for example the Christmas carol "Balulalow" -- do not appear here at all, nor does Constant Lambert's 1930 recording with John Armstrong of "The Curlew" owing to lack of space. What is left, however, is a veritable treasure trove of Warlock; all of the recordings made of Warlock's music by his close friend baritone John Goss, selections sung by Kathleen Ferrier's teacher Roy Henderson, composer Cecil Cope, and a young Peter Pears, in many cases with accompaniments provided by Gerald Moore. Among the Goss recordings are several selections of Warlock arrangements of Elizabethan songs as accompanied by Diana Poulton on a clattery-sounding lute, an instrument hardly anyone was playing in the 1920s. Although Lambert's "The Curlew" had to be excluded, the one here is an extremely rare version from 1950 featuring René Soames and oboist Leon Goossens, originally issued on three 78 rpm sides and practically impossible to find. Prizewinning singer/songwriter Cecil Cope is heard singing "Six Nursery Jingles" as recorded for the Joint Broadcasting Service in 1941; there is even a 1927 recording of American provenance of "Corpus Christi." That all of this material was assembled in one place was the result of a lifelong passion of John Bishop, the late founder of Thames Publishing and a founding member of the Peter Warlock Society. Overall, the digital transfers are good; particularly so in the vocal items. Some of the instrumental music sounds a little swishy and cramped, and there should be a little more of the surface in the Poulton-accompanied selections just to allow a bit more lute to come through; moreover, the Purcell arrangements and "Corpus Christi" featuring Pears are a tad dim. However most devotees of Warlock will be pleased to receive these selections in any condition, and it seems like a great deal of effort was put into this package in keeping with its historic import. Furthermore, one thing this collection makes clear is how quickly Warlock's music was absorbed by English performers and even ordinary English citizens, as evinced by a 1946 performance of "Rest Sweet Nymphs" sung by a provincial girls' school choir. Despite Warlock's elite social bearing, lack of formal musical training, reprehensible behavior, scandalous reputation, and death -- not to mention the often harmonically wayward and strange nature of his music -- there was something that clicked about his music in relation to the English imagination and spirit. And that's what you hear on Divine Art's Peter Warlock: Collected 78rpm Recordings; Warlock's transition from being considered a difficult, modern composer to being a rightly woven thread in the fabric of English music.

Product Details

Release Date: 12/08/2009
Label: Divine Art
UPC: 0809730781124
catalogNumber: 27811
Rank: 170070


  1. Sleep, song for voice & string quartet
  2. Corpus Christi
  3. Come My Celia, Let Us Prove, for voice & lute
  4. O eyes, o mortal stars
  5. There is a garden in her face
  6. Flow not so fast ye fountains, for 4 voices & lute (Third Book of Songs)
  7. Good ale
  8. Captain Stratton's Fancy, for voice & piano
  9. Piggesnie, for voice & piano
  10. Captain Stratton's Fancy, for voice & piano
  11. The Fox, for voice & piano
  12. Frostbound Wood, for voice & piano
  13. Corpus Christi
  14. The First Mercy, for voice & piano
  15. Rest Sweet Nymphs, for voice & piano
  16. Sleep, song for voice & string quartet
  17. Consider
  18. Sweet-And-Twenty
  19. Fair and true, for voice & piano
  20. My Own Country, for voice & piano (from Belloc Songs)
  21. Passing By, for voice & piano
  22. Pretty Ring Time, for voice & piano
  23. Sigh No more, ladies, for voice & piano
  24. Captain Stratton's Fancy, for voice & piano
  25. Milkmaids for voice & piano
  26. Nursery Jingles (5)
  27. A Cornish Christmas Carol
  28. Corpus Christi
  29. The Passionate Shepherd, for voice & piano (from Seven Songs of Summer)
  30. As Ever I Saw, for voice & piano
  31. There Is a Ladie, Sweet and Kind for 4 voices & instruments
  32. Take, O Take Those Lips Away, for voice & piano (Saudades No. 2)
  33. Sleep, song for voice & string quartet
  34. The Fox, for voice & piano
  35. Chopcherry, for voice & string quartet
  36. The Curlew, song cycle for voice & small orchestra
  37. Fantasy for 4 viols in G major, Z. 742
  38. Fantasy for 4 viols in C minor, Z. 738
  39. Capriol Suite for piano, 4 hands or string orchestra
  40. Serenade for string orchestra
  41. Capriol Suite for piano, 4 hands or string orchestra
  42. Serenade for string orchestra
  43. Capriol Suite for piano, 4 hands or string orchestra

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