Kaikhosru Sorabji's Letters to Philip Heseltine (Peter Warlock)  book cover
1st Edition

Kaikhosru Sorabji's Letters to Philip Heseltine (Peter Warlock)

ISBN 9781138478435
Published June 9, 2019 by Routledge
184 Pages 24 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Two extraordinary personalities, and one remarkable friendship, are reflected in the unique corpus of letters from Anglo-Parsi composer-critic Kaikhosru Sorabji (1892-1988) to Philip Heseltine (Peter Warlock) (1894-1930): a fascinating primary source for the period 1913-1922 available in a complete scholarly edition for the first time.

The volume also provides a new contextual, critical and interpretative framework, incorporating a myriad of perspectives: identities, social geographies, style construction, and mutual interests and influences. Pertinent period documents, including evidence of Heseltine’s reactions, enhance the sense of narrative and expand on aesthetic discussions. Through the letters’ entertaining and perceptive lens, Sorabji’s early life and compositions are vividly illuminated and Heseltine’s own intriguing life and work recontextualised. What emerges takes us beyond tropes of otherness and eccentricity to reveal a persona and a narrative with great relevance to modern-day debates on canonicity and identity, especially the nexus of ethnicity, queer identities and Western art music.

Scholars, performers and admirers of early twentieth-century music in Britain, and beyond, will find this a valuable addition to the literature. The book will appeal to those studying or interested in early musical modernism and its reception; cultural life in London around and after the First World War; music, nationality and race; Commonwealth studies; and music and sexuality.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


List of illustrations

Acknowledgements, credits, editorial and biographical notes

Foreword by Judith Weir



Kaikhosru Sorabji

Philip Heseltine (Peter Warlock)

Sorabji’s letters to Heseltine

Organisation of materials

Editorial practice




Part I: Letters and documents October 1913–June 1914


Part II: Letters and documents September 1914– June 1917


Part III: Letters and documents 1920–1922/1929

Appendix 1: Some reflections on modern music criticism [The Musical Times 54 (848) (1 October 1913)]

Appendix 2: Sexual inversion [The Medical Times (October 1921)]

Appendix 3a: Music [Weekly Westminster Gazette 2 (81) (18 August 1923)]

Appendix 3b: Sorabji, Kaikhosru [A Dictionary of Modern Music & Musicians]

Appendix 4: Music [The New Age 48 (15 January 1931)]



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Brian Inglis is Senior Lecturer in Music and BA Music Programme Leader, Department of Performing Arts, Middlesex University UK.

Barry Smith is a former Organist and Master of the Choristers at St George’s Cathedral Cape Town and Associate Professor in the Faculty of Music at Cape Town University. He is President of the Peter Warlock Society.