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Take, O take those lips away

author of text
Measure for Measure IV:i

The composer’s real name was Philip Heseltine. It was once fashionable (but is now considered simplistic) to explain away his suicide as a split-personality clash between the critic and scholar Heseltine and the hard-drinking, obstreperous creative genius Warlock. The truth was probably less dramatic: he was a highly emotional figure who felt musically constrained, and enormously frustrated, by being artistically imprisoned within song miniatures, but who lacked the technical ability to express himself in grander structures. Within the field of English song, however, he stands as one of the uncontested masters.

Take, O take those lips away (Shakespeare) is his second setting of those words (1918, the first had been part of his little cycle Saudades, influenced by the wayward chromaticism of the Dutch composer Bernard Van Dieren). The accompaniment suggests the string-quartet layout which is indeed an alternative accompaniment for this song.

from notes by Graham Johnson © 2012


The Frostbound Wood - other songs
SIGCD161Download only
The Power of Love
Warlock: The Curlew, Capriol, Serenade & Songs
Warlock: Songs


Track 19 on CDA67888 [1'59]
Track 3 on CDH55442 [1'57]
Track 13 on CDA66938 [1'48]
Track 2 on SIGCD161 [1'35] Download only

Track-specific metadata for CDH55442 track 3

Recording date
6 September 1994
Recording venue
Rosslyn Hill Unitarian Chapel, Hampstead, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Mark Brown
Recording engineer
Antony Howell
Hyperion usage
  1. Warlock: Songs (CDA66736)
    Disc 1 Track 3
    Release date: November 1994
    Deletion date: October 2010
    Superseded by CDH55442
  2. Warlock: Songs (CDH55442)
    Disc 1 Track 3
    Release date: June 2014
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