Maltworms and Milkmaids: Warlock and the Orchestra

EM Records, 2023

Maltworms and Milkmaids: Warlock and the Orchestra

By BBC Concert Orchestra, BBC Singers, Ben McAteer, David Hill, Nadine Benjamin

A new CD of Warlock’s music with orchestra

This important release by EM Records, including no fewer than seventeen World Première recordings, contains all of Peter Warlock’s music which involves the use of an orchestra. Its title alludes to two of his compelling interests: beer, and the opposite sex. A third interest was the revival of old music, as characterised by his suite Capriol, for which, alongside his beautiful carols and some of his solo songs, he is best known.

Essentially a miniaturist, Warlock used an orchestra for ten other short works and a brass band for two more, all but two of them with voices. In addition, Warlock’s various publishers authorised the issue of orchestral accompaniments for at least ten of his songs by other orchestrators, though all of these remained in manuscript until the recent research for this disc by the Peter Warlock Society has led to their emergence.

The works on this disc, largely composed in the 1920s, cover a wide range of moods, from the rumbustious tributes to drink in ‘Mr Belloc’s Fancy’ and ‘Captain Stratton’s Fancy’ to the sensibility of ‘The First Mercy’ and ‘Balulalow’. They illustrate Warlock’s links both with English folk song and with contemporary continental angular harmonic developments. Overall, the works of few twentieth century composers convey such a sense both of tenderness and of exuberant enjoyment.

Track listing and audio extracts:

Available from EM Records:




Share This Story

festival posterCapriol on the pianola!
Peter Warlock Critical Edition (Revised) - Eight Volume SetPeter Warlock Critical Edition (Revised)