MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around 2024
60,000 reviews
... and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all Bridge reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing



Thomas Pitfield: Cheshire Verses – both grave and gay
Thomas Baron Pitfield (1903-1999) is usually regarded as a composer. However the truth is more complex. Pitfield was a polymath and excelled in a number of areas. He was a teacher, a visual artist and a craftsman: it is not every composer who has designed the covers of their musical scores. But it is as a writer and a poet that I am concerned with in this review. There are a number of books to Pitfield's credit, including three remarkable volumes of autobiography – No Song, No Supper, A Song after Supper and A Cotton Town Boyhood. The ‘works list’ in the Manchester Sounds (Volume 4 2003-4) journal lists some twenty publications that Pitfield has written, contributed to or provided the illustrations for. Among the privately printed books is the present volume of poetry Cheshire Verses- Sad and Gay.
This is not cutting edge poetry, nor is it an attempt at shriving the soul or some kind of confessional exercise. Neither does it have the gritty edge of a Ted Hughes. It is what the title suggests – a book(let) of verses. Pitfield sums up the intention of the book on the title page – he writes
Herewith some verses, varying
Between the solemn and the frivolous;
Some may be marginally worthy,
And others manifestly drivolous.
The complete production is the work of Pitfield, including the cover design, the illustration and the text fonts. The book itself is undated, but I guess that it was written before the Local Government Act 1972, which removed Manchester and Liverpool from Lancashire and the Wirral (most of) from Cheshire.
The booklet has twenty-two pages with each page having one of two short verses. Each poem has the title of a town, village or building in Cheshire – such as ‘Crewe’, ‘Bowdon’ and ‘Beeston Castle’.
The mood ranges from a profound poem such as ‘Chester’ with its ‘The precincts of Tomorrow/Trespass on numberless Yesterdays’- through to the limerick ‘A tentative lady of Altringham/Said, ‘I never make plans without altering ‘em’. In between there is doggerel such as that referring to ‘The Wirral’: -
The Wirral juts into the sea
Between the Mersey and the Dee;
Its population insular-
Though it’s not an island but a peninsula.
Perhaps the finest poem in the collection is ‘Dunham Park (Winter Evening)’. It is a meditation on a walk through one of Cheshire’s great treasures. Every line of this poem is evocative; virtually every word contributes to the poet’s mood. Consider ‘Beech boughs are etched on the grey waste of sky’ or perhaps the ‘the half-bared white rind of the citreous moon.’ But the greatest allusion is to the winter’s night desolation of the park, which in fact is close to the conurbation of Greater Manchester and the M56 – ‘…the close-cropped grass/ close-cropped by deer, the sole inhabitants/of parkland nave, a voiceless congregation.’
Thomas Pitfield has set at least one of his own poems to music. In 1981 Forsyth’s, the Manchester music-publishing house, issued a song setting of ‘Dunham Park (Winter Evening)’. I would be interested to know if there are others. The Mancunian composer Stuart Scott has set two of the Cheshire Verses – ‘Gawsworth’ and ‘Alderley’. They have been released on a song collection CD, A Wagon of Life. One further spin off is A Dunham Pastorale for recorder and piano by David Beck. It will be the subject of a future post on my ‘blog.’ (The Land of Lost Content – British Music Blog)
This is an attractive book of verse that will appeal to anyone who has even a passing knowledge of Cheshire. For those readers of poetry who love topographical writing rather than soul-searching personal catharsis, this is an ideal booklet. It will be on my poetry shelves within reach at all times.
With thanks to John Turner and John McCabe, trustees of the Thomas Pitfield Trust for permission to quote the above verses and pencil sketch.

John France



Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Past and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.