Warlock: Songs (Bailey/Parsons)

Warlock Songs. Bailey, Parsons. L'oiseau-Lyre


Warlock and Parsons make (however surprisingly) an ideal alliance; full of spirit and fire, yet calm and serene whenever the mood requires. The selection is generous and reasonably representative; Norman Bailey’s singing is typically resonant and often well phrased, with an occasional sensitive inflection. But there, for me at least, the good news ends. The piano sounds rather under-recorded, with some loss of expressive detail, whereas the vocal line is always obtrusive, often dubious, and too often just care­lessly wrong. As a result the music suffers, and so will the music lover. The strong-nerved might try comparing vocal line with score, for example at bars 10, 31 and 39 of As ever I saw. The words fare worse still. InSigh no more, how long is it since summer first was “levvy” ? The horse's hoof in The Foxshould be “crumbled”, not “crumpled”, which is more like the cow's horn. The May morning in After Two Years is surely “bright”, not “white”, least of all “wite”, whether there or in The Frostboand Wood - the agonized penitence of which is not best conveyed by referring to a “Save-yer” or describing Mary as “the child mother” instead of “the Child's mother”. Poor Warlock, to have such maledictions pronounced on his art.

The Musical Times, March 1978