• Anthony Payne
  • Aspects of Love and Contentment (1991)

  • Chester Music Ltd (World)

7 songs, arranged from the original by Peter Warlock

  • fl.clhp2vn.va.vc
  • soprano
  • 16 min

Programme Note

The output of the tragically short-lived composer Peter Warlock (the pen-name of Philip Heseltine) consists almost entirely of songs. They embrace many different moods - far more thatn can be defined simply by identifying (as does Ernest Bradbury in the New Crove) two opposing aspects of his character, "the gentle, introspective thoughtful Heseltine and the rumbustious, cynical, scurrilous Warlock". Anthony Payne, who has written knowledgeably and sympathetically about many English composers of the early part of this century (among them Frank Bridge and Delius), has been an admirer of Warlock's songs for many years; so too has his wife Jane Manning, whose first ever BBC recital was a Warlock programme. So it was in more ways than one a labour of love for him to make this cycle of arrangements of eight Warlock songs for Jane and her Minstrels. He did so as a form of relaxation after completing his large-scale orchestral work TIME'S ARROW for last year's Proms: the score of the firs song is dated 24 July 1990 the very day of the premiere of TIME'S ARROW! - and that of the last 10 October 1990. It was, he now says, his most enjoyable project for twenty-five years.
The Process of arranging the cycle had two different sides to it. One involved transcribing and filling-out Warlock's original piano parts, which are extremely difficult and often not particularly idiomatic, for an ensemble of nine players: a wind quartet of flute, oboe, clarinet and horn, a string quartet and a harp. The other was the arrangement of the eight songs into a sequence of keys, moods and tempi which outline what Payne calls "an emotional journey". There is the "big bow-wow" of "Consider" to begin with; then a group of three more reflective songs; then the gentle quasi-archaic "Sweet Content", followed by the sardonic and all but atonal "Autumn Twilight", the emotional centre of gravity of the whole cycle; and finally the near-nonsense jig of "Away to Twiner".