The Curlew, completed in 1922, is the acknowledged masterpiece of Peter Warlock’s compositional career, a work of sensitivity, inventiveness and of desolation of spirit appropriate to Yeats’ poetry of unfulfilled love. Although scored in five sections, the composer insisted that the work was a chamber piece in one continuous movement. The score includes detailed notes on the motifs and structure of the work, most useful for students and performers. There are many demanding moments throughout the work, with particular pathos in the exposed Vocal line of the final section.
Composer, writer and musical scholar Peter Warlock (Philip Heseltine) was active in the early decades of the twentieth century, when he distinguished himself by his rediscovery and transcription of early English music, his writing on Delius, Gesualdo and other many other musicians, and for his Choral works and songs, among them the carol Bethlehem Down.