David Pownall: Music To Murder By

BBC Radio 3

Broadcast: Sunday 7th November 1976

In "Music to Murder By", two ghosts are conjured up before Helen Euterpe, a Californian woman musicologist, to demonstrate creativity and violence. The first ghost conjured by Helen is Philip Heseltine (alias Peter Warlock).

Peter Warlock (Philip Heseltine) is one of the most fascinating and enigmatic of twentieth-century British composers. He was, by turns, a sensitive songwriter of remarkable genius, a witty and caustic critic, a rare scholar of early music, and a friend of some of the leading figures of the day--including William Walton, Jacob Epstein, and D. H. Lawrence. When the public lost interest in his music at the end of the 1920s, Heseltine ended his life by his own hand in a gas-filled London flat on a cold winter's morning in December 1930 after a career as music critic and composer, age 36.

Peter Warlock then summons up the 16th century madrigal composer and wife-killer, Carlo Gesualdo, Prince of Venosa and Count of Conza. Carlo Gesualdo was an exact contemperary of Shakespeare and composed motets, madrigals, and religous music from the death of his unfaithful wife and her lover, whom he murdered in 1590, to his own death in 1613, age 47. They both try to persuade Helen that all must be sacrificed to music.

With Mary Ellen Ray [Helen Euterpe], Edward Adams [ Federico Carafa, the Duke of Andria], Stephen Boxer [Philip Hesselltine], Eric Richard [Carlo Gesualdo, Prince of Venosa], and Fiona Victory [ Maria d'Avalos, Carlo's Wife].

Music composed by Carlo Gesualdo and Peter Warlock

Music sung by Stephen Boxer (tenor); Fiona Victory and Diana Kyle (sopranos)

A Paynes Plough Production

Produced and directed by Guy Vaesen

Re-broadcast on Suday 14th August 1977 @ 7:30 p.m. on BBC Radio 3

80 min.


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