Peter Warlock (the pseudonym of Philip Arnold Heseltine) was born in London in 1894. His musical tastes were diverse, being a known authority on Elizabethan music and having written the first biography on Delius and the first, english-written, study on the pioneering Austrian composer, Arnold Schoenberg. He was eccentric in the extreme having tried cossack dancing at railway stations, nude motor-biking, cannabis and flagellation – as well as being an accomplished composer of obscene limericks. Living up to his name he was also said to have dabbled with the occult. Like many geniuses however he was also, sadly, a tortured soul and committed suicide aged just 36.
Although he wrote little instrumental music Capriol Suite became his most famous work. It is based around melodies derived from 16th century dance music and there are six movements: Basse-Danse, Pavane, Tordion, Bransles, Pieds-en-l’air and Mattachins. The melodies vary enormously from the incredibly serene to the downright bawdy! It is particularly in the last movement, subtitled Sword Dance, that the harmonies adopt a distinctly 20th century edge.