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Extract from: "E J Moeran's Recollections of Peter Warlock"

Maltworms (1926)
R48

 


This photo was taken on the pavement outside the door to Moeran and Warlock's cottage, facing the Five Bells pub, indicating its proximity

One work, an engaging unison song called 'Maltworms', was written by Warlock and Moeran in collaboration. Moeran had the poem with him on a midday visit to a pub* in Eynsford and had set the chorus when Watlock came in. Warlock suggested a tune for the first two lines of the verse, doing, as Moeran put it, "the steps up" - a series of ascending thirds of which he was very fond. Moeran then continued with lines three and four.

 

A local dramatic society at Shoreham was putting on some one-act plays and it had been suggested that Warlock and Moeran should provide the music. Th villlage boasted a good brass band of from twelve to fifteen players and both composers wanted to make use of it. The band was holding its practise that evening and the two composers therefore went home, harmonized the song and scored the accompaniment. When an accompaniment had been written to the verses, Moeran set to work harmonizing the chorus, while Warlock scored the verses in the next room,writing out the parts in pencil. There was no full score. Moeran then recopied the parts in ink, the composers caught the seven o'clock bus to Shoreham, and the work was rehearsed there and then.


Warlock, Moeran, members of Shoreham Amateur Dramatic Society, 1928
Unfortunately the performance never took place. The bandmaster's wife did not hold with play-acting and, on the night, the band was forbidden to appear. The song, however, was given a piano accompaniment, and in place of a Dowland dance which Warlock had arranged for brass band the two composers played piano duets. All the band parts have since been lost; but it is said that "Maltworms" is still to be heard in the "Crown" at Shoreham, and Moeran had a fine photograph of the three original singers flanked by the composers, each holding a mug of beer.

 

E J Moeran's Recollections of Peter Warlock
by Gerald Cockshott
Musical Times March 1955

*According to Gwen McIntyre's booklet "Peter Warlock" (Farningham and Eynsford Local History Society) this took place in the Five Bells at Eynsford, just a few yards across the road from the house shared by Moeran and Warlock between 1925 and 1928 - see also "Moeran in Eynsford"

 

 

 

"Moeran set to work harmonizing the chorus, while Warlock scored the verses in the next room,writing out the parts in pencil"

©2001 The Worldwide Moeran Database