This wonderful collection of songs and orchestral pieces may have connotations of an idealistic English pastoral arcadia, but, ultimately, refuse this appropriation. The melancholy of A.E. Housman's poetry and the tragic end of Butterworth on the battle fields of the Somme make this reflective but worthwhile listening.
The simplicity of piano and voice used in the "Shropshire Lad" songs contrast effectively with three of Butterworth's best known orchestral works at the end, which display his influence by the English folk tradition. The final work is almost inevitably, but rightly, "The Banks of Green Willow" with its enduringly beautiful clarinet introduction. A wise investment for admirers of this composer's brief musical career.