The fact that Peter Warlock (1894-1930) was born at London’s Savoy Hotel tells us something about the class into which he was born. Schooling at Eton followed and later Christ Church, Oxford. He disliked the latter and did not return after his first year. Warlock came to know Frederick Delius, Thomas Beecham and D H Lawrence (there is an unflattering portrait of him as “Halliday” in Woman in Love). Indeed, “Peter Warlock” is a pseudonym. His real name is Peter Heseltine, but he adopted the surname Warlock in 1916 to reflect his interest in the occult. All of his musical works were published under the pseudonym. Warlock had no interest in composing large-scale works and devoted his attention to songs above all. He also wrote some choral works and a small number of pieces for piano. The Capriol Suite is very nearly his only orchestral work (he conducted a performance of it at a Proms concert in 1929). Warlock also had a parallel career as a writer on music and, in addition to many journalistic pieces, wrote studies on Delius and Gesualdo and, reflecting his interest in early music, a book titled The English Ayre. Having been born in the Savoy, he died, of gas poisoning, in his basement flat in Chelsea. The coroner returned an open verdict.

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