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George Butterworth (1885-1916) collector/composer

Steve Shaw 05 Aug 16 - 05:39 AM
Steve Shaw 05 Aug 16 - 06:39 AM
Jim Carroll 05 Aug 16 - 07:57 AM
GUEST,PeterC 05 Aug 16 - 08:49 AM
GUEST,Nick Dow 05 Aug 16 - 10:08 AM
Joe Nicholson 05 Aug 16 - 11:13 AM
GUEST,Mike Yates 06 Aug 16 - 06:43 AM
GUEST,Mike Yates 06 Aug 16 - 06:55 AM
Snuffy 06 Aug 16 - 07:27 AM
Jim Carroll 06 Aug 16 - 08:13 AM
leeneia 06 Aug 16 - 08:37 AM
keberoxu 06 Aug 16 - 08:13 PM
Steve Shaw 06 Aug 16 - 08:33 PM
Jack Campin 07 Aug 16 - 06:35 AM
keberoxu 07 Aug 16 - 04:13 PM
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Subject: George Butterworth
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 05 Aug 16 - 05:39 AM

Died one hundred years ago today on the Somme, aged 31, shot by a sniper. He was an avid folk song collector and good friend of Vaughan Williams, a fine morris dancer and a great composer of the "quintessentially English" manner. Who knows what he might have gone on to do?


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Subject: RE: George Butterworth
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 05 Aug 16 - 06:39 AM

"In the manner" might have read better!


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Subject: RE: George Butterworth
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Aug 16 - 07:57 AM

I don't think his work was particularly extensive - he seems to have been largely overlooked by the scholars - the index promises three pages in Harker's ''Fakesong' but only delivers a passing reference - maybe just as well, considering the low regard Harker has for 'Fakesong' collectors.   
There's only passing references to him in David Gregory's and D K Wilgus's works on the early collectors.
His 'Banks of Green Willow' is, in my opinion, the most exquisite piece of English classical music ever composed.
I seem to remember our owning a thin booklet published by EFDSS (maybe a reprint from one of the Journals) on his work, but I'm buggered if I can find it
It would be good to learn more about his work.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: George Butterworth
From: GUEST,PeterC
Date: 05 Aug 16 - 08:49 AM

I understand he destroyed most of his work before going off to war, what survives today is largely by accident. He must have been some musician, he apparently advised Vaughan Williams on how to structure his first symphony!
I have been playing "The Lads in their hundreds" form "A Shropshire Lad" a lot recently, and then going on to "Battle of the Somme" - Seems appropriate, and audiences seem very interested


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Subject: RE: George Butterworth
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 05 Aug 16 - 10:08 AM

Got a lot of time for Butterworth, (and bugger all for Harker despite a conscientious attempt to keep an open mind)The Full English seems to show that he concentrated on the tunes and may not have spent so much time collecting words, his notation is much neater and more legible than VW, and for the most part he named his singers and their location. I am not a lover of Art music but Butterworth is the exception.


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Subject: RE: George Butterworth
From: Joe Nicholson
Date: 05 Aug 16 - 11:13 AM

I went to the Somme Exhibition at Durham last weekend they played Butterworths music in the background it was very moving


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Subject: RE: George Butterworth
From: GUEST,Mike Yates
Date: 06 Aug 16 - 06:43 AM

I too have a soft spot for Butterworth's "Banks of Green Willow". Many years ago I played it to an Australian friend. As we sat listening to the piece an image of my childhood village cricket field came into my mind. "Can't you just see it", I said. "Yes", replied my friend. "All those gum trees and wattles in the outback".


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Subject: RE: George Butterworth
From: GUEST,Mike Yates
Date: 06 Aug 16 - 06:55 AM

Cecil Sharp and Maud Karpeles were in North Carolina when the received news of Butterworth's death. Sharp was extremely upset, though Maud, who was apparently in love with Butterworth, makes no mention of the event in her diary.

Had he lioved, Butterwoth could have become one of the great composers.


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Subject: RE: George Butterworth
From: Snuffy
Date: 06 Aug 16 - 07:27 AM

Jim,

Your "thin booklet" was probably The Ploughboy's Glory, a selection of hitherto unpublished folk songs collected by George Butterworth, edited from the Butterworth manuscripts by Michael Dawney (EFDSS, 1977).

This contains thirty songs, with very brief notes on their sources, and is currently available on the EFDSS website at £2.00


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Subject: RE: George Butterworth
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Aug 16 - 08:13 AM

Thanks Snuffy
I think we have it - always helps to know what you're looking for
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: George Butterworth
From: leeneia
Date: 06 Aug 16 - 08:37 AM

Thanks for starting this thread, Steve.


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Subject: RE: George Butterworth
From: keberoxu
Date: 06 Aug 16 - 08:13 PM

"George Sainton Kaye Butterworth," according to Emily Ezust at www.lieder.net.

The Song Literature classes from my university studies, were classical/art-song focused, and yet of course there were composers, and pieces, that bridged the divide between that focus and traditional song. It was in those classes that my colleagues and I were introduced to the music of George Butterworth.

Our instructor thought it worthwhile to take the Shropshire Lad text, "Is my team ploughing," and have us listen to the versions by both Butterworth and Vaughan Williams, to compare and contrast the two; if you know both composers' versions, you know there is a huge difference between the two settings of the same lyric.

Butterworth also set to music Oscar Wilde, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Shelley, in addition to Housman.


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Subject: RE: George Butterworth
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 06 Aug 16 - 08:33 PM

He died at the same age as Schubert, a composer whose late works, to me, are sublime, in particular his last symphony, his last three piano sonatas and the inexplicably stunning Quintet in C. His 600 songs are quite likely the most enduring part of his legacy. If only I could speak German. He died before his potential was realised, I think, as with Butterworth. Schubert was rather too fond of, and not fussy enough about, the ladies of commerce. Mozart lived only four years longer but his music is a true lifetime's worth with a full maturity of over ten years before his death. Beethoven, my only hero, had he died at 31 would now be remembered for next to nothing. We all develop at different speeds, don't we! One other composer whose music was amazing yet whose life was cut short, at 24, was Lili Boulanger. She might have changed the face of 20th century music had she lived. The deprivation we all suffer as the result of artists who die untimely makes it even harder to believe in a God.


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Subject: RE: George Butterworth
From: Jack Campin
Date: 07 Aug 16 - 06:35 AM

A war casualty of a sort who died even younger than Butterworth: Georg Trakl, pushed over the edge by his experiences on the Carpathian front and dead shortly afterwards from a cocaine overdose:

http://publicdomainreview.org/2014/10/29/wild-heart-turning-white-georg-trakl-and-cocaine/

Butterworth was a great might-have-been: Trakl knew exactly what he wanted to do and achieved a much more significant body of work in an even shorter time, pointing towards the future in a way Butterworth didn't. Butterworth would been a lot easier to get on with, though.


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Subject: RE: George Butterworth (1885-1916) collector/composer
From: keberoxu
Date: 07 Aug 16 - 04:13 PM

At the online Petrucci Music Library, Butterworth's scores can be viewed -- not all of them, it's incomplete yet. However they do have the Morris Dance Music edited by Cecil Sharp and published by Novello, piano arrangements I gather; volume IX is Butterworth's editing.


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