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


Forward by Vernon Handley
Extent: 204 pages
position: Demy octavo ~ Illustrated ~ List of Works ~ List of Songs Collected ~ Bibliography ~ Index
Illustrations: 26 b/w; 47 music exx.

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ISBN: 978-0-907689-43-0
Release Date: 01.05.1997
Composer: George Butterworth
Author: Michael Barlow
Series: Composer Studies

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.

2 reviews for Whom the Gods Love: The Life and Music of George Butterworth

  1. :

    “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.” Amazon Customer Review

  2. :

    “Barlow discusses Butterworth’s musical compositions in detail, even individual songs, with musical illustrations. […] Barlow writes well […] Recommended.” —Classical Net

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