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Songs, especially the cycle “A Shropshire Lad” based on the poems by A.E. Housman; short orchestral pieces, much influenced by folk song. His orchestrations and accompaniments are quite brilliant.
There are two study scores of all the orchestral and chamber music. They are available from Musikproduktion Juergen Hoeflich (musikmph.de).
Very gifted and promising composer as well as collector of folk songs. Tragically, his life was cut short by a sniper’s bullet while leading a raid during the battle of the Somme.
His surviving work is quite small, partly because of his early death and partly because he destroyed some works before leaving for France.
Anonymous (not verified)
Mon, 2010-05-31 02:16
I have known about George Butterworth for a long time but I only have Banks of Green Willow and A Shropshire Lad. If anybody knows any other great music by Butterworth , I would like to know. My Email is patrick salter @btinternet.com
Tue, 2010-08-31 22:42
I have tried to e-mail you, but without success. I hope the following helps.
The only orchestral pieces apart from The Banks of Green Willow and Rhapsody: A Shropshire Lad are the Two English Idylls - there are recordings of which I'd recommend Boult on Lyrita (Boult was a friend of Butterworth's). The song-cycles Six Songs from A Shropshire Lad, and Bredon Hill and Other Songs are very important (you'll recognise themes from two of the songs that appear in the orchestral rhapsody. There are many recordings of these. All his other songs have been recorded - a recent disc by Mark Stone also includes a short film of Butterworth morris dancing! There is a song-cycle, Love Blows as the Wind Blows, which exists in three forms - voice and string quartet (the original), voice and piano, and voice and orchestra. All three have been recorded. Butterworth's remaining works have (scandalously) not yet been recorded. They are: Suite for String Quartet, In the Highlands for female voices and piano, and two folksong arrangements for chorus.
All the music is available as study scores from musikmph.de - ironic isn't it that we have to wait for a German firm to publish it all.
Butterworth probably destroyed anything else before he went to France in 1915. Incidentally, we owe Butterworth thanks for rescuing Vaughan Williams' London Symphony after the only score was lost. He and friends wrote out a new one from the parts - VW in return dedicated the work to him.