ARTHUR BUTTERWORTH (1923-2014): Symphony No. 1, Op. 15 (BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra; Arthur Butterworth. Broadcast Dec. 2, 1976), Symphony No. 2, Op, 25 (BBC SO; Christopher Adey. Broadcast Jan. 20, 1975. Only available recording.), Symphony No. 4, Op. 72 (BBC Northern Symphony Orchestra; Bryden Thomson. Broadcast May 8, 1986 - stereo).
Catalogue Number: 06R008
Description: Most of you will have the recordings of the First on Classico from back in 1999 or the live Barbirolli performance from 1958 on Dutton Epoch offered in 2009 but this one offers the composer himself at the podium (this warning is on the traycard: “This tape required significant restoration. It is a unique, but imperfect, recording of the composer conducting his favourite among his own works.”). The Second (1964) inhabits much the same Northern world as the First, Sibelius, Nielsen and Bax being Butterworth’s most significant influences. The slow movement especially stands out - an impassioned threnody in response to a personal tragedy suffered during composition. The Fourth is also available on the same Dutton Epoch disc in a modern recording but the one here was its premiere performance and as the author of the notes (Paul Conway who has a book on Butterworth soon to be published) puts it, is “one of the most polished and committed readings of any of Butterworth’s works and one the composer himself found extremely satisfying”.