Whom the Gods Love – The Life and Music of George Butterworth


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Whom the Gods Love

The Life and Music of George Butterworth

Michael Barlow

Forward by Vernon Handley

Composer Studies (non-ISSN series)

ISBN: 978-0-907689-42-3 – Hardback

ISBN: 978-0-907689-43-0 – Paperback

Extent: 204 pages

Size: 14.4 x 22.2 x 1.9 cm

Weight: 0.49 kg

Published: May 1997

Composition: Demy octavo ~ Illustrated ~ List of Works ~ List of Songs Collected ~ Bibliography ~ Index

Illustrations: 26 b/w; 47 music exx.

This is the first full-length study of the life and music of the composer George Butterworth (1885–1916), whose career was cut short by a sniper's bullet at the Somme. He was perhaps the finest of the many outstanding musical talents whose lives were claimed by the First World War. The music Butterworth managed to compose during his short career showed an exceptional talent, and his name is kept alive by the popularity of his orchestral tone-poems, such as The Banks of Green Willow and A Shropshire Lad, and his songs.

In this study Michael Barlow traces Butterworth's brief life: from preparatory school through Eton and Oxford, a teaching post at Radley, study at the Royal College of Music, a period as a music critic for The Times, and his enlisting in August 1914 which, two years later, led to his heroic death at the Somme. All of Butterworth's surviving compositions are discussed, and important chapters examine his Housman settings and his friendship with Vaughan Williams. Butterworth was also prominent in the folksong revival, and Michael Barlow chronicles for the first time his extensive activities as a folksong and -dance collector. The book includes some of Butterworth's own writings on music.


quoteBarlow discusses Butterworth's musical compositions in detail, even individual songs, with musical illustrations. […] Barlow writes well […] Recommended.quote

full review …

R. James Tobin   Classical Net


quote[…] Michael Barlow's truly expert knowledge and musical research really come into their own. […] This book is not only authoritative and brilliantly informative of the man's music; but has been researched absolutely as well as possible […] It is massively informative in regard to the music, but not once does it become dry or impenetrable.quote

full review …

I. H. Smith   Amazon Customer Review


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