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Warlock: The Frostbound Wood, Etc; Howard, Howells, Roe / Timothy Travers-brown, Jeremy Filsell


Release Date: 05/26/2009 
Label:  Signum U.k.   Catalog #: 161   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Peter WarlockMichael HowardHerbert HowellsBetty Roe
Performer:  Timothy Travers-BrownJeremy Filsell
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews



THE FROSTBOUND WOOD Tim Travers-Brown (ct); Jeremy Filsell (pn) SIGNUM 161 (58:12 Text and Translation)


WARLOCK The Frostbound Wood. My Little Sweet Darling. Take, O Take Those Lips Away. And Wilt Thou Leave Me Thus? Sleep. Songs of Summer: The Droll Lover. Sigh No More, Ladies. Belloc Songs: My Own Country; The Night. My Gostly Fader. Read more Bethlehem Down. HOWARD The Painted Rose. 3 Middle English Songs. HOWELLS Mrs. MacQueen. When the Dew is Falling. Full Moon. ROE Noble Numbers


Most of the songs on this disc were not written for countertenor, but they work wonderfully in these performances because of Travers-Brown’s lovely, subtle, and strongly inflected singing. I thought that the consistently pure tone of a countertenor might wear on the ears over an hour of listening, but it did not. The singer’s ability to get inside the notes, to vary his color and his dynamics to suit the music and the texts, and the colorful piano playing of Jeremy Filsell combine to make this a highly engaging disc.


The majority of these songs are by Peter Warlock, née Philip Heseltine (1894–1930). He died, probably a suicide, considering himself a failure as a musician because he had not achieved the fame he thought he merited. From what I know of his music, he was right in feeling entitled to more respect than he got. These songs are wonderful—highly varied in mood and infectious. His word-setting is stunningly natural and apt, with music and texts married perfectly.


Michael Howard (1922–2002) wrote his songs for the countertenor voice, as did Betty Roe (b. 1930). The latter’s have a spiritual, even other-worldly feel, and Howard’s show his background as an organist with an interest in early music. Herbert Howells’s songs range from the folk-like to the almost mystical, and along with Warlock’s they stay in the memory firmly. Howells (1892–1983) is quoted as saying “I have composed out of sheer love of trying to make nice sounds,” and he succeeded.


Throughout, one is struck by the sensitivity and beauty of the performances. The recorded sound is well balanced, though just a bit swimmy. Excellent notes and full texts are provided. All in all, this is a delightful disc to which I shall return many times.


FANFARE: Henry Fogel
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Works on This Recording

1. The frostbound wood by Peter Warlock
Performer:  Timothy Travers-Brown (Countertenor), Jeremy Filsell (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1929; England 
2. My Little Sweet Darling by Peter Warlock
Performer:  Timothy Travers-Brown (Countertenor), Jeremy Filsell (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1919; England 
3. Take, o take those lips away by Peter Warlock
Performer:  Timothy Travers-Brown (Countertenor), Jeremy Filsell (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1916; England 
4. And wilt thou leave me thus? by Peter Warlock
Performer:  Timothy Travers-Brown (Countertenor), Jeremy Filsell (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1928; England 
5. Sleep by Peter Warlock
Performer:  Timothy Travers-Brown (Countertenor), Jeremy Filsell (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1922; England 
6. Songs (7) of Summer: The Droll Lover by Peter Warlock
Performer:  Timothy Travers-Brown (Countertenor), Jeremy Filsell (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
7. Sigh no more, ladies by Peter Warlock
Performer:  Timothy Travers-Brown (Countertenor), Jeremy Filsell (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1927; England 
8. Belloc Songs (3): no 3, My own country by Peter Warlock
Performer:  Timothy Travers-Brown (Countertenor), Jeremy Filsell (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1926; England 
9. My gostly fader by Peter Warlock
Performer:  Timothy Travers-Brown (Countertenor), Jeremy Filsell (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1918; England 
10. Bethlehem Down by Peter Warlock
Performer:  Timothy Travers-Brown (Countertenor), Jeremy Filsell (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1927; England 
11. Belloc Songs (3): no 2, The night by Peter Warlock
Performer:  Timothy Travers-Brown (Countertenor), Jeremy Filsell (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1926; England 
12. The Painted Rose by Michael Howard
Performer:  Timothy Travers-Brown (Countertenor), Jeremy Filsell (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
13. Middle English Songs (3) by Michael Howard
Performer:  Timothy Travers-Brown (Countertenor), Jeremy Filsell (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
14. Full Moon by Herbert Howells
Performer:  Timothy Travers-Brown (Countertenor), Jeremy Filsell (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
15. Mrs. MacQueen by Herbert Howells
Performer:  Timothy Travers-Brown (Countertenor), Jeremy Filsell (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
16. When the Dew is Falling by Herbert Howells
Performer:  Timothy Travers-Brown (Countertenor), Jeremy Filsell (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
17. Noble Numbers by Betty Roe
Performer:  Timothy Travers-Brown (Countertenor), Jeremy Filsell (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 

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