Writing under another characteristically eccentric pseudonym – Prosdocimus de Beldemandis senior – Cod Pieces were written in 1917 and are amongst Peter Warlock’s earliest compositions. Originally they were to form part of a rather grand-scale music hall ballet (hence the original dance-band orchestration) although after four numbers the plan petered out and before long the whole thing was shelved.
Numbers three and four (Beethoven’s Binge and The Old Codger) were published in 1971 in a transcription for piano duet – more than 40 years after Warlock’s life tragically ended in suicide. Beethoven’s Binge is a hilarious send-up of the opening of the great composer’s Fifth Symphony whilst The Old Codger is essentially a ragtime spoof of one of the main themes of Franck’s Symphony in D minor. The latter piece was dedicated to his music teacher at Eton College and there is evidence that it was played at London’s Selfridges and the Savoy Hotel – incidentally, where Warlock was born.