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Track(s) taken from CDA66938

The Curlew

composer
1920-22
author of text

The Nash Ensemble
Recording details: April 1997
Henry Wood Hall, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Antony Howell & Julian Millard
Release date: October 1997
Total duration: 22 minutes 33 seconds

Cover artwork: The Sleeping Shepherd, Morning (1857) by Samuel Palmer (1805-1881)
Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge
 
1
2
3
4
Interlude  [2'49]
5

Other recordings available for download

James Gilchrist (tenor), Michael Cox (flute), Gareth Hulse (cor anglais), Fitzwilliam String Quartet

Reviews

'Much of the best of Warlock is here. As usual, Hyperion's presentation is first-rate' (Gramophone)

'Superbly evocative' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Breathtakingly played and sung' (The Observer)

'A highly desirable issue. Beautiful sound throughout. Very much recommended' (Hi-Fi News)

'A delightful collection' (Birmingham Post)

'Another winner from Hyperion' (Manchester Evening News)
The first version of The Curlew was performed in 1920 and consisted of five settings of poems by W B Yeats. In 1922, in Wales, Warlock reconsidered the work. He dropped the original third and fourth songs, substituting the present long and complex third song. It was published in this revised form in 1922, receiving an award from the Carnegie Trust.

The substantial introduction opens with the cor anglais giving out the cry of the curlew, taken over by the viola. This is followed by the rocking theme on the strings also used in the Serenade. The flute then has the peewit’s call, with its many repeated notes. After a brief climax the rocking theme returns, then a cello solo leads into the first song. This passionate outburst is succeeded by a short interlude based on the introductory material. The second song is self-contained; it appeared in both versions of The Curlew, and was probably written about 1916. After the next interlude, a recitative for cor anglais and some development of the rocking theme, comes the new song, a setting of Yeats’s The withering of the boughs, with three strongly contrasted verses, each ending with the words which could be considered the core of the cycle: ‘The boughs have withered because I have told them my dreams’.

The final interlude is dominated by chords built up from piles of fourths, and more flute calls. This leads into the last song, virtually unaccompanied, until the viola ends the work with a modified inversion of the cor anglais opening phrase, subsiding onto an empty, hopeless, bare fifth with the cello.

from notes by Michael Pilkington 1997

Other albums featuring this work

Vaughan Williams: On Wenlock Edge; Warlock: The Curlew; Gurney: Ludlow and Teme
Studio Master: CKD296Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
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