Warlock On Yeats And Berlioz

[W. B. Yeats’ reluctance to have his poetry set to music] was born of his horror at being invited by a certain composer to hear a setting of his Lake Isle Of Innisfree – a poem which voices a solitary man’s desire for still greater solitude – sung by a choir of a thousand Boy Scouts.

Peter Warlock, ‘Mr Yeats And A Musical Censorship’, Musical Times, February 1922

When Berlioz was found wandering about the mountains, note-book in hand, sketching his Overture to King Lear, he was arrested as a spy, and his protests that he was not making notes in a secret cipher were received with ridicule by the police. “It is well known”, they said, “that music cannot be composed without a pianoforte.” Berlioz we know could not play the pianoforte. But his case provides no rule and the fact remains that a great deal of music, especially at the present time, is either extemporized at the keyboard or else built up of fragments discovered, more or less fortuitously at the pianoforte and afterwards unskillfully glued together.

Peter Warlock, ‘A Note On The Mind’s Ear’, Musical Times, February 1922

Both quotations appear in Peter Warlock : The Life Of Philip Heseltine by Barry Smith (1994)

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