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Composer born today -July 12. George Butterworth

I was listening to KDFC on the way home from playing Oklahoma! and heard something I thought was Vaughan Williams. I was wrong. The composer turned out to be George Butterworth. But he and Vaughan Williams were close friends. Aha! I was close.

George Sainton Kaye Butterworth, (12 July 1885 – 5 August 1916) was an English composer best known for his tone poem The Banks of Green Willow and his settings of A. E. Housman’s poems.

Vaughan Williams and Butterworth became close friends. It was Butterworth who suggested to Vaughan Williams that he turn a symphonic poem he was working on into his London Symphony. When the manuscript for that piece was lost (having been sent to Fritz Busch in Germany just before the outbreak of war), Butterworth, together with Geoffrey Toye and the critic Edward J. Dent, helped Vaughan Williams reconstruct the work.[1] Vaughan Williams dedicated the piece to Butterworth’s memory after his death. Upon leaving Oxford, Butterworth began a career in music, writing criticism for The Times, composing, and teaching at Radley College, Oxfordshire. He also briefly studied at the Royal College of Music where he worked with Hubert Parry among others.



THe Banks of Green Willow. Kind of soft and pastoral at least at the beginning.


2 Responses

  1. How lovely 🙂

  2. I’ve never even heard of Butterworth, but I truly love this piece. Some of it has shades of Elgar for me – and I am crazy about Elgar!

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