Hyperion Records

July to August 1922
author of text
Victor Neuberg's 'Lilligay, an anthology of anonymous poems

'On this Island' (CDA67227)
On this Island
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No 1: The distracted maid  One morning very early, one morning in the spring
No 2: Johnnie wi' the tye  Johnnie cam' to our toun
No 3: The shoemaker  Shoemaker, shoemaker, are ye within?
No 4: Burd Ellen and young Tamlane  Burd Ellen sits in her bower windowe

The text of The Distracted Maid is actually a paraphrase and reworking of a Cornish folksong collected by Balfour Gardiner (I love my love) and arranged by Holst as the third of his Six Choral Folksongs (1916). Warlock’s setting makes no reference to the original folk melody, but his melody nevertheless adopts a simple, modal shape which is repeated unchanged throughout the song. Johnnie wi’ the Tye, replete with Scotch snap is very much a ‘border ballad’ in style, though the chromatic divergence of the third line of the melody (‘And O as he kittl’d me’) betrays its contemporary origins, as does Warlock’s intense chromaticism. The Shoemaker, a lively scherzo, sets only three of Neuberg’s ten verses; this, so Fred Tomlinson tells us, was ‘probably out of deference to his [Warlock’s] mother, who might have been offended by the others and might have refused to advance the money for their publication’. The song has much in common with Warlock’s other lively, rustic settings, such as Away to Twiver and Roister Doister. The fourth song included here from the collection, Burd Ellen and Young Tamlane, is a lament whose harmonic vocabulary reaches an extraordinary peak of intensity at the searing mention of ‘the women’s curse’.

from notes by Jeremy Dibble 2001

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