Butterworth, George (Sainton Kaye-)

views updated Jun 11 2018

Butterworth, George (Sainton Kaye-) (b London, 1885; d Pozières, Battle of Somme, 1916). Eng. composer. At Oxford influenced by H. P. Allen and began collecting folk-songs, leading to friendship with Vaughan Williams and Cecil Sharp. Was excellent folk-dancer. Wrote occasional mus. criticism for The Times, taught at Radley Coll., and later studied at RCM. Comps., few in number, suggest he might have achieved greatness. Left several fine settings of Housman's ‘Shropshire Lad’ poems, with orch. rhapsody, A Shropshire Lad (Leeds 1913) based on theme of his song ‘Loveliest of Trees’. Orch. idyll The Banks of Green Willow f.p. London 1914. Song-cycle Love Blows as the Wind Blows ( W. E. Henley) was composed 1911–12, being 4 songs for voice with pf. or str. qt. but was revised in 1914 as 3 songs with orch. Awarded Military Cross a month before his death. Vaughan Williams's A London Symphony is ded. to his memory.

Butterworth, George

views updated May 18 2018

Butterworth, George (1885–1916). English composer and one of countless examples of the pity and waste of war. Educated at Eton and Trinity College, Oxford, Butterworth was a leading member of a group of musicians, including Cecil Sharp and Ralph Vaughan Williams, interested in English folk-song. His compositions were few and small scale, but Butterworth developed a distinctive voice, with a full and at times lush orchestration in his idylls A Shropshire Lad (1912) and The Banks of Green Willow (1913). In his setting for Housman's poem ‘The lads in their hundreds to Ludlow come in for the fair’, Butterworth paid moving tribute to ‘the lads who will die in their glory and never be old’. At the outbreak of war in 1914 he joined up, was awarded the MC, and died in action on the Somme on 5 August 1916. Vaughan Williams dedicated to his memory the Second (‘London’) Symphony.

J. A. Cannon

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George Butterworth

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