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Butterworth and Me - BBC Radio 4

26 Jun 08 - 11:12 AM (#2374826)
Subject: Butterworth and Me - BBC Radio 4
From: Ruth Archer

I just caught the last few minutes of this:

Classical Assassins

By Jonathan Lennie

Five monologues from the bit-players in musical history who were responsible for the deaths of the great composers. Featuring music by the victims and based on true stories and serious conjecture.

___

Thursday

Butterworth and Me, read by Rebeka Germain
A woman is about to go to the cinema. She has seen the film, a propaganda film called The Battle of the Somme, many times before, in an attempt to pick out her former love.
Music: Is My Team Still Ploughing? (Six Songs from A Shropshire Lad) by George Butterworth


The bit I caught mentioned Butterworth's collecting with Vaughan Williams. Should be available to Listen Again here:

Classical Assassins


26 Jun 08 - 02:35 PM (#2374984)
Subject: RE: Butterworth and Me - BBC Radio 4
From: katlaughing

Thanks. I am listening to the first one, now.


26 Jun 08 - 03:36 PM (#2375034)
Subject: RE: Butterworth and Me - BBC Radio 4
From: Big Al Whittle

Not Peter Butterworth then.... damn!


26 Jun 08 - 04:56 PM (#2375098)
Subject: RE: Butterworth and Me - BBC Radio 4
From: Ruth Archer

it's actually well worth a listen...the programme takes the form of a letter written to Butterworth by his sweetheart back home, where she's telling him some difficult truths...not realising that he is already dead, killed at the Battle of the Somme.

Very touching.


26 Jun 08 - 05:04 PM (#2375100)
Subject: RE: Butterworth and Me - BBC Radio 4
From: katlaughing

It was really beautiful and touching, as you say. Thanks, again.


26 Jun 08 - 05:08 PM (#2375106)
Subject: RE: Butterworth and Me - BBC Radio 4
From: Ruth Archer

the thing that's especially sad about Butterworth is that, before he went to war, he destroyed much of his composed work, which he considered to be "substandard". The work that survived apparently shows him to have had tremendous promise, which of course was never realised.

Glad you enjoyed it, Kat. :)


26 Jun 08 - 09:48 PM (#2375267)
Subject: RE: Butterworth and Me - BBC Radio 4
From: katlaughing

I look forward to the others, too, Ruth.

I know about composers destroying their early work. My mother often would rescue something from the trash when my brother first started writing. I have been going through more of her papers, recently, and found another early piece of his which she hid from him. Even with his later stuff the habit carried over to me. I have several pieces of composition paper with sketches, variations, etc. which he rejected for some reason. Of course, I have copies of all of the completed "good" stuff, too, and I have promised him my children will NOT use them to wrap sandwiches! :-)


27 Jun 08 - 03:18 AM (#2375357)
Subject: RE: Butterworth and Me - BBC Radio 4
From: GUEST,giles earle

Has anyone else read Michael Barlow's biography of Butterworth, 'Whom the gods love'? A bit dry, presumably because the author seems very careful to avoid all speculation and be entirely accurate - but there's enough there to suggest that Butterworth was a far more influential figure than he is remembered, now, as having been.
Of the handful of composers killed in the Great War (W. Denis Browne etc), Butterworth was surely the only one who'd developed beyond fledgling abiity into the real thing. And then, too, there was his work on folk-song and folk-dance (especially morris). A tradegy that he was killed.


27 Jun 08 - 04:14 AM (#2375367)
Subject: RE: Butterworth and Me - BBC Radio 4
From: Ruth Archer

That's very interesting, and I'd like to read it. I wonder if this assessment has anything to do with the fact that Butterworth was maybe a bit older than some of the others, and possibly had more time to develop his abilities?


27 Jun 08 - 04:39 AM (#2375382)
Subject: RE: Butterworth and Me - BBC Radio 4
From: Keith A of Hertford

The story ended without her opening the letter from Butterworth's father that carried the news of his death.
Does anyone know if the baby's father was a real person, and if so did he return from the war?


27 Jun 08 - 05:00 AM (#2375393)
Subject: RE: Butterworth and Me - BBC Radio 4
From: GUEST

As far as I am aware, there's no evidence of Butterworth's ever having had a Significant Other. Which is not to say he might not have had, of course; does anyone know anything further?


27 Jun 08 - 05:32 AM (#2375404)
Subject: RE: Butterworth and Me - BBC Radio 4
From: Ruth Archer

Because of the premise of the series, "Five monologues from the bit-players in musical history who were responsible for the deaths of the great composers", I assumed she must have been real. I was intrigued by the story, so did some internet searches, but there's very little biographical information on-line - perhaps Giles Earle could tell us, as he's read the biography...


27 Jun 08 - 05:56 AM (#2375413)
Subject: RE: Butterworth and Me - BBC Radio 4
From: glueman

The implication in the programme is that Butterworth is gay, yes? I hadn't heard that. Either way he's one of my favourite neo-romantic composers along with RVW and Peter Warlock. They never found his body, terribly sad. The vile human pugmill of WW1 echoes down the years.


27 Jun 08 - 06:05 AM (#2375417)
Subject: RE: Butterworth and Me - BBC Radio 4
From: GUEST,giles earle

Sorry, I don't know one way or the other; I forgot to sign my last, so was in fact the 'guest' to whom Ruth Archer was responding.

For what it's worth, the dedicatee of the 'Shropshire Lad' songs was male: but I know of no evidence one way or the other, on the question of whether Butterworth was gay. The biography doesn't refer to the matter at all, nor have I seen any reference to his friend's private life, in anything written by Vaughan-Williams.


27 Jun 08 - 06:11 AM (#2375421)
Subject: RE: Butterworth and Me - BBC Radio 4
From: Ruth Archer

yes, it was the implication that he was gay; I'd be really interested to know what the sources were for the story, and how much was simply fiction.