Remembering George Butterworth
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 08/04/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"For all the Anglophiles in music this fine sampling of the works of George Butterworth will be a welcome addition to the narrow margin of his works that remain in repertoire and in recordings. A contemporary of Gustav Holst and very much in the same vein as Frank Bridge and Ralph Vaughn Williams, this selection of works is another installment in The British Collection, a worthy and laudable effort to raise appreciation for the many composers form the British Isles that flavor our concert halls.
Oddly pairing both works for voice and piano with works for orchestra, Neville Marriner has none the less created a memorable concert here. Beginning with Butterworth's most famous piece, 'A Shropshire Lad, for voice & piano performed here by Benjamin Luxon with David Willison at the piano and following that with the less well known but equally fluid 'Bredon Hill and Other Songs' for voice & piano, comparisons are bound to be made with other recitals of these works (Bryn Terfel for one) and while Benjamin Luxon is a fine baritone, his voice is not in the sate it once enjoyed making the songs a bit frayed.
The joy of the recording is hearing Butterworth's own orchestral 'A Shropshire Lad', rhapsody for string orchestra in context with the song cycle. Neville Marriner conducts the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields with suave elegance. Also included in the orchestral portion is Butterworth's 'The Banks of Green Willow, idyll for orchestra in one of the most cohesive and atmospheric readings on record.
For this listener the surprise is the relatively rare 'Two English Idylls' which are not only finely composed but have solid thematic thoughts better developed than in much of Butterworth's writing. And Marriner and his forces offer a superb and subtle performance. It is worth the price of the CD! Grady Harp, August 06
All the BUTTERWORTH that's fit to print...
Sébastien Melmoth | Hôtel d'Alsace, PARIS | 07/16/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
In fact, this is all the Butterworth that's left to us in the world--period: these few art songs, and a couple 'o three orchestral pieces. He had just begun to compose thoroughly when he went off to Flanders and was slain on the battlefield in 1916. Prior to his embarkment, he destroyed all remaining fragments of his art: so, this is it!
Bryn Terfel does a better job with the songs, but this is still a nice collection.
The lyrical pieces recall an unique aesthetic of Edwardian England and the very end of the so-called "Long Nineteenth Century."
Add Butterworth To Your Collection!
Emily | Phoenix, AZ | 05/23/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Butterworth was killed in W.W.I, cutting short a brilliant career. He was friends with Ralph Vaughan Williams, who conferred with him about his wonderful 3rd symphony. Had Butterworth lived a long life, I have no doubt his legacy would have rivalled that of Gustav Holst and Vaughan Williams.
I first heard "The Banks Of Green Willow" on an EMI recording on cassette tape, conducted by Andre Previn with the London Symphony Orchestra. The line-up was wonderful, starting with "The Planets," followed by my favorite Holst pieces, "The Perfect Fool," and "Egdon Heath." "The Banks of Green Willow," following "Egdon Heath," is an effective contrast, and the whole shebang is topped off with Vaughan Williams' "Fantasia on Greensleeves." I wish this recording were still available.
Butterworth has his fans, but many are still unaware of him. If you're a music lover, add "The Banks Of Green Willow" to your collection, while you still can.