Autographed Warlock music score beats estimate by 45.8% at Bonhams

An autographed score by British composer Peter Warlock has beaten its estimate by 45.8% at a Bonhams auction in London.

The signed manuscript for Warlock's standout work The Curlew sold for £8,750 on March 27.

The 31 page, circa 1922 score had come to the auction with a £4,000-6,000 estimate.

The sale is confirmation of the strong market that currently exists for classical music memorabilia.

The original score for Bach's French Suites for keyboard and the Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue sold for £70,850 in 2010. We are delighted to offer these Cole Porter handwritten lyrics for £6,950 ($11,040).

Warlock's score corresponds almost exactly to The Curlew's final published version, including arrangements for tenor voice, flute, cor anglais, two violins, viola and cello.

Peter Warlock The Curlew
Warlock’s work slowly won a sceptical WB Yeats round

The manuscript is unique, however, with the addition of an extra piano of around 30 bars in length.

Based around four poems by WB Yeats, The Curlew song cycle made its public debut in 1922.

"For the first time in my life I really felt pleased with something I had written," Warlock told a friend after the premiere. 

Yet despite its debut, it was only later, once The Curlew had been awarded a Carnegie Trust Medal, that Yeats gave permission for the score to be published.

Yeats had previously banned his works from being set to music after watching 1,000 boy scouts attempt to recreate his Lake Isle of Innisfree.

Warlock committed suicide in 1930, aged just 36.

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