Since the untimely death of Peter Warlock (Philip Heseltine) in 1930, at the age of 36, there has been ever-increasing interest not only in the songs and other music of this most original composer and writer on music, but also in the so-called `Warlock legend’ – the unusual circumstances and events of his life, and the tragic and unexplained manner in which his life ended. Apart from natural causes, there are three ways he could have died: accident, suicide, or murder.
Much has been written about this magnetic personality, including fictional portraits by Aldous Huxley in Antic Hay and by D H Lawrence in Women in Love. Now, Nigel Heseltine, son of the composer, gives an authentic and vivid memoir of his father; of his father’s mother, a commanding figure by whom Nigel was reared in his early years; and other personalities and friends. It has been necessary to wait some 30 years, until certain people were dead, before this book could be published. This is a frank, revealing account of a family background and its influence, from which emerged, unexpectedly, one of the most important 20th-century song writers, also a pioneer in the rediscovery of early music, and a trenchant writer on music in general.
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