King's College Cambridge 2010 #17 Bethlehem Down




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Published on Dec 24, 2010

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Bethlehem Down
Bethlehem Down was written in 1927 by Bruce Blunt (1899-1957) (words) and Peter Warlock (1894-1930) (music). This piece won a newspaper carol competition.

Peter Warlock was the pseudonymn of Philip Heseltine (1894--1930), whose principal legacy was an important body of solo song. Bethlehem Down, with its gentle lilt and tenderness riven with sadness, is a brilliant marriage of music and words. Yet it was created in a mood of flippancy due to the impecunious state of Warlock and his poet friend Bruce Blunt (who were both notorious for their Bohemian behaviour). As Blunt recalled: 'In December 1927, we were both extremely hard up, and, in the hope of being able to get suitably drunk at Christmas, conceived the idea of collaborating on another carol which should be published in a daily paper. So, walking on a moonlit night between the "Plough" at Bishop's Sutton and the "Anchor" at Ropley, I thought of the words of "Bethlehem Down". I sent them off to Philip in London, the carol was completed in a few days and published (words and music) in The Daily Telegraph on Christmas Eve. We had an immortal carouse on the proceeds and decided to call ourselves "Carols Consolidated".
Hyperion Records


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