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New PETER WARLOCK Critical Edition - Volumes 1-6
Thames Publishing
Price is £9.95 for each volume
Available from:

William Elkin Music Services
Wood Green Industrial Estate, Station Road, Salhouse, Norwich, NR13 6NY
Telephone +44(0)1603 721302 Fax +44(0)1603 721801

The first six of a projected eight volumes of the new critical edition of Peter Warlock’s songs are out, published by Thames Publishing, now a division of William Elkin Music Services.

They have been edited by Michael Pilkington (author of "British Solo Song" and the "English Solo Song – guides to the repertoire" series), and features an Introduction by Brian Collins, Chairman of the Peter Warlock Society, which has been the driving force behind this edition. Pilkington provides a clear explanation of the editorial procedure and a detailed preface, which includes information about the sources, tips for performance, and background information ranging from textural changes, the poems and poets, through to dedicatees, and many other snippets of fascinating information for the individual pieces featured.

Volumes 1 and 2 cover Warlock’s songs from 1911-1919, for high and medium voice respectively, volume 3 comprises songs from 1921-1922 for high voice, volume 4 songs from 1920-1923 for medium voice, volume 5 songs from 1923-1928 for high voice, and volume 6 songs from 1923-26 for medium voice.

This is the definitive edition of these songs – they are presented here in their original keys and in the different versions that Warlock composed. They have been subjected to meticulous scholarship by Pilkington and traced back as closely as possible to Warlock’s originals, following holograph sources wherever possible, and otherwise first editions.

A few minor criticisms include the occasional proof-reading oversight (one presumes) such as the mis-spelling of Piggesnie (on the back covers), and one might also frown upon the shortening of the song titles on the back cover (Five Lesser Joys rather than The Five Lesser Joys of Mary). These are, however, corrected in the following three volumes. Although I marginally prefer the (slightly more spacious) design and layout of the previous edition, these are nonetheless nicely produced, well laid out, and musically very clearly and legible. It is also extremely useful having lists of the contents of all the volumes on the inside back covers.

Warlock’s songs range from exquisitely, sublimely beautiful, and heart-rendingly tender, to boisterously rollicking and rowdy. I recommend this edition most highly to all lovers of English song.

Em Marshall

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