on 11 October 2010
This is another true gem in the growing Dutton Epoch catalogue of British symphonic music. Arthur Butterworth is a truly original composer (and very devoted conductor) of which the Britons can be proud. The booklet states Butterworth is `the equivalent of Sibelius in Britain or the British Sibelius' but I think that comparison doesn't do him full justice. For me he's a truly inspired composer with a style of his own, and although it's a big compliment, Butterworth doesn't need to be compared with others. Of course he's influenced by many and his music has that loneliness Sibelius can have too. I think his inspiration - Scottish Highlands I think - aren't; that much different from Sibelius': Finnish woods and marshes and lakes.
The 5th symphony on this disc is a forceful work but not exuberant. It's very introspective and introvert. So it's force lies between the notes and the things Butterworth doesn't compose: the silence between the notes. The second movement (although the work is played through in one movement) is very very striking. There's silence. This could be the way silence sounds, although a paradox, this is what it did with me. The other works on the disc are short and introspective too, the last one isn't: as a rousing finale you get the Gigues: a very festive, although again not exuberant, work that closes the disc. I enjoyed this whole disc very very much and I'm sure Michael Dutton will produce many more Butterworth CD's. He has to!
The recording is very fine. The bass drum in the 5th symphony in particular reached my stomach literally. Very very realistic recording.
on 30 April 2012
I've had an affection for Arthur Butterworth since the 1970s when he frequently conducted orchestral concerts in our town. This is a splendid collection of pieces which are a fine tribute to his style: an affinity with Sibelius (and Bax, I think), and an immense reflective quality evoked by the natural scenery of the North. The music flows beautifully and seamlessly; orchestral colour handled with great control, and all benefitting from refined conducting by the composer. A most enjoyable CD.