Peter Warlock, Blossom Street, Hilary Campbell - A Short While For Dreaming

Published Monday 24th March 2014
Peter Warlock, Blossom Street, Hilary Campbell - A Short While For Dreaming
Peter Warlock, Blossom Street, Hilary Campbell - A Short While For Dreaming

STYLE: Choral
RATING 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8
LABEL: Resonus RES10129
FORMAT: Digital Only Album

Reviewed by Steven Whitehead

Peter Warlock was the pen name of Philip Heseltine (1894-1930) who in his all too brief career composed evocative songs for voice and piano as well as an interesting selection of choral pieces, some of which are now well-established in the repertoire as a quick search on this website will soon reveal. He is best known today for his popular Christmas carol "Bethlehem Down" which closes this collection but he is much more than a one hit wonder, as this new release shows. Not everything is explicitly Christian although there is sufficient to merit a review on this website and the folk song arrangements will be of interest to many choral singers. In addition to "Bethlehem Down" there are two other carols, both from Cornwall and two Latin works, "Benidicamus Domino" and "Corpus Christi". Those looking for a quick comparison will find Benjamin Britten's name being put forward: both write in a distinctly English style, both have the happy knack of finding interesting texts to set to music, and both can be deceptively simple. Of the secular songs I particularly enjoyed "Yarmouth Fair" and Hilaire Belloc's "Ha'nacker Mill" but I could have easily named several others as everything in this collection is enjoyable. Credit for this must go to Hilary Campbell and her Blossom Street singers who sound lovely. Five of the 20 tracks are world premiere recordings so dedicated followers of Peter Warlock will be keen to hear this. Those who know him only for "Bethlehem Down" will enjoy making his better acquaintance and all who have an interest in English choral music will appreciate this digital-only release.

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