> WARLOCK British Music Collection [RB]: Classical CD Reviews- July2002 MusicWeb(UK)

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Peter WARLOCK (1890-1930)
Capriol Suite [10.13]
Serenade for Strings [7.44]
Lullaby My Jesus [3.13]
Youth (Robert Wever)
As ever I saw (anon)
There is a lady (Ford)
When as the Rye (Peel)
Sigh no more (Shakespeare)
Sleep (Fletcher)
Pretty Ring Time (Shakespeare)
Jillian of Berry (Beaumont and Fletcher)
The Bayly berith the Bell away (anon)
Passing by (anon)
The Frostbound Wood (Blunt)
Robin Good-Fellow (anon)
Twelve Oxen (anon)
Yarmouth Fair (Collins)
Romance (Stevenson)
To the memory of a great singer (Stevenson)
After two years (Aldington)
The Droll Lover (anon)
Ha'NackerMill (Belloc)
My Own Country (Belloc)
The Birds (Belloc)
Elore Lo (anon)
The Fox (Blunt)
Fair and True (Breton)
Roister Doister (Breton)
Cricketers of Hambledon (Blunt)
Academy of St Martin in the Fields/Marriner (Capriol; Serenade)
Choir of Winchester Cathedral/David Hill (Lullaby)
Norman Bailey/Geoffrey Parsons (songs)
rec 1972-1994
DECCA The British Music Collection 470 199-2 [71.55]

Although I had some doubts about the stiff-legged and ever so deliberate Basse-Danse in Marriner's Capriol, his Pieds-en-l'air with its airy delight is amongst the best I have heard. The Serenade has the warp and weft of Delian sweetness and decay on the bough but would have glowed with yet greater radiance had it been given with a larger body of strings as in Silvestri's 1960s EMI version with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. The David Hill Lullaby is recorded too closely for its own good - too much reality and at too close proximity for the work's mystery to survive. This is the only failure on the disc.

The rest of the disc is a track by track master copy of a 1970s LP of Warlock songs. Bailey is best known internationally for his Wagnerian exploits - especially his Wotan. Here he essays twenty-six songs from throughout Warlock's maturity - from 1918 onwards. Bailey had, at this time, a steady vocal production undamaged by too much operatic traffic. Though I prefer Ian Partridge's lighter way with Youth (on a long gone Unicorn LP) and Sleep his approach to Warlock is as strong as Luxon's way with Butterworth. Parsons is the soul of both flamboyance and of discretion (as in Come Sleep). These songs range from carousing ballads to medieval religious ecstasy, to romantic allusion, to dissolute monkery (à la Carmina Burana) to Donne-like transcendentalism. Bailey doesn't shrink from white-smock ‘mummerset’ when the score gives some encouragement in this direction as in Roister Doister and also in Twelve Oxen. In the latter Bailey is joined by an anonymous male voice choir who also pop up in Hambledon. He is a sheer delight in Yarmouth Fair with no quaver or shake in his voice. Comparison with the 'classic' Pears recording is much in Bailey's favour. Ha'nacker Mill is done with great feeling and subtle colouration as is the lovely nostalgia of My Own Country - though I still hanker for a recording of this song by John Noble.

I have been listening recently to Marriner's way with Tippett's leading compositions for string orchestra and there too he is absolutely superb.

The booklet has a brief but rather good outline by Kenneth Chalmers - clearly a fixture for this series - but not the texts.

Warlockians will not want to miss this collection which is made de rigueur by the 26 Bailey tracks.

Rob Barnett

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