Hilaire Belloc bought King's Land (in Shipley, Sussex), 5 acres and a working windmill for £1000 in 1907 and it was his home for the rest of his life. Belloc loved Sussex as few other writers have loved her: he lived there for most of his 83 years, he tramped the length and breadth of the county, slept under her hedgerows, drank in her inns, sailed her coast and her rivers and wrote several incomparable books about her. "He does not die that can bequeath Some influence to the land he knows, Or dares, persistent, interwreath Love permanent with the wild hedgerows; He does not die, but still remains Substantiate with his darling plains."

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Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Hilaire Belloc's poetry set to music...

Courtesy of Peter Warlock

When Jesus Christ was four years old,
The angels brought Him toys of gold,
Which no man ever had bought or sold.

And yet with these He would not play.
He made Him small fowl out of clay,
And blessed them till they flew away.

Tu creasti, Domine.
Jesus Christ, Thou child so wise,
Bless mine hands and fill mine eyes,
And bring my soul to Paradise.

Peter Warlock's works:

Warlock's compositions are nearly all songs and most of these are for solo voice and piano. There is a smaller, but still significant, number of pieces for voices — choral songs — although a few of these are arrangements of his solo songs.

He wrote little instrumental music, although the suite Capriol (October 1926) is probably his best-known work and exists in versions for string orchestra, full orchestra and piano duet. (There are arrangements for other combinations, but these are not by Warlock.) His only composition for solo piano is a set of arrangements of Celtic melodies, the "Folk-song preludes". He had a deep affinity for poetry, especially that of Yeats and his friends Robert Nichols and Bruce Blunt (1899–1957). He always chose texts of high artistic value, many of them from the Middle Ages, as basis for his songs.
Many people consider his greatest work to be the song-cycle The Curlew, for tenor and chamber ensemble, in which he sets four linked poems by Yeats. It is certainly his most substantial piece and was written over a long period of time — some seven years — taking in many stylistic changes along the way from the neo-Delianism of "The lover mourns for the loss of love" to sections within the longest song, "The withering of the boughs" that suggest Bartók and Schoenberg as influences before achieving a more idiosyncratic, modal, and genuinely Warlockian vocabulary.

Warlock is also known for his many carols, such as "Adam lay ybounden", "Tyrley Tyrlow", "I Saw a Maiden" and "Bethlehem Down", the last a setting of words by Bruce Blunt.

Warlock's musical tastes were wide, from Renaissance music to Bartók. In his own works, we hear a development from emulation of the Victorian and Edwardian drawing-room style to a more contrapuntal, strongly personal idiom characterised by the relationship between modal lines and a distinctive palette of chords. He was unusual amongst composers of his generation in being largely unaffected by the folksong movement, either as an arranger (the above-named piano pieces being an exception) or a composer. He wrote only one folksong-oriented work, the cycle "Lilligay".

Apart from original works, Warlock edited and transcribed many lute songs by Elizabethan and Jacobean composers in addition to music by Purcell and other Baroque composers. He also did much to promote the music of Delius, especially by organizing the successful Delius Festival of 1929 with Thomas Beecham. He wrote the first biography of Delius, as well as, with Cecil Gray, a book about Carlo Gesualdo. His book on The English Ayre was a groundbreaking study, but he also wrote about contemporary music. His article on Arnold Schoenberg was probably the first substantial study in English of his music. In 1925, Warlock rediscovered the music of sixteenth-century composer Thomas Whythorne, and published a book of his compositions and poetry.

Warlock also edited, under the pseudonym 'Rab Noolas' (to be read backwards), an anthology on drinking 'for the delectation of serious topers', entitled Merry-Go-Down (Mandrake Press, c. 1930).

From Wikipedia

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