Arthur Butterworth (1923-2014) : Symphony No. 4 (1986)

Arthur Butterworth was born in Manchester, UK, in 1923. From early on he was attracted to the sound of the brass band and later entered the Royal Manchester College of Music to study both trumpet and composition. On leaving the college in 1949 he joined the Scottish National Orchestra where he doubled as trumpeter and unofficial assistant conductor. In 1955 he joined the Hallé Orchestra, and in 1962 finally gave up professional playing. His next move was to Skipton in the Yorkshire Dales where he got involved in local musical life. From 1964 to 1993 he conducted the Huddersfield Philharmonic Society, and also forged relationships with some of the BBC orchestras. He died in November 2014. The initial sketches for the Symphony No. 4 Op. 72 were made as early as 1970, but it was a decade before Butterworth got down to serious work on it. Completed in 1986, the performance here with the BBC Northern Symphony Orchestra and Bryden Thomson was the premiere. The Dutton release I mentioned above contains the recording premiere made in 2008 with Butterworth himself conducting the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. Interestingly, MusicWeb International arranged for a public performance of the work at Warwick Arts Centre in 1998 at the suggestion of Len Mullenger to celebrate the composer’s 75th birthday; the conductor was Colin Touchin (review). ---Stephen Greenbank 

 VIDEO: Symphony No. 4 (1986) Dir : Bryden Thomson BBC Philharmonic Orchestra

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