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Most Grand To Die / James Rutherford, Eugene Asti

Butterworth / Rutherford / Asti
Release Date: 07/24/2012 
Label:  Bis   Catalog #: 1610  
Composer:  George ButterworthIvor GurneyFrank ButterworthRalph Vaughan Williams
Performer:  James RutherfordEugene Asti
Number of Discs: 1 
Length: 1 Hours 19 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

The First World War marked an entire generation of composers, both in England and on the continent. Of the three composers represented here, George Butterworth was killed on the Somme in 1916, while Ralph Vaughan Williams, who damaged his hearing while commanding an artillery battery, survived, but with memories that would colour many of his post-war masterpieces. Ivor Gurney, finally, also survived, but with a seriously aggravated bipolar disorder that would lead to his spending the last 15 years of his life in a mental hospital. While Butterworth composed his two song cycles some five years before the outbreak of the war, the collection of poems that he chose his texts from – A. E. Housman's A Shropshire Lad – was striking a resonant Read more contemporary note with its numerous poems dealing with ill-starred young men facing death. Even earlier, in 1904, Vaughan Williams had turned to poems by Robert Louis Stevenson, for his Songs of Travel, a set of nine songs in which the wanderer-narrator philosophically accepts the mixture of joys and sorrows that are offered to him along the road. Gurney – the youngest of the three composers – was also a poet, and in Severn Meadows expressed his longing for home in both text and music. Along with In Flanders, Even such is time and By a bierside – ending with the words of the album’s title – Severn Meadows was composed during Gurney’s time in the trenches, before exposure to poison gas in September 1917 caused him to be returned to England. Interpreting these highly expressive songs is James Rutherford, who has risen to fame as a Wagnerian singer, with Hans Sachs (Die Meistersinger) at Bayreuth among his credentials, but who reserves a special place in his repertoire for English 20th-century song. On his first recording for BIS he appears with his regular collaborator Eugene Asti at the piano. Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Bredon Hill and Other Songs by George Butterworth
Performer:  James Rutherford (Baritone), Eugene Asti (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1912; England 
2.
The Two Corbies by Ivor Gurney
Performer:  James Rutherford (Baritone), Eugene Asti (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1918; England 
3.
Songs (6) from A Shropshire Lad by Frank Butterworth
Performer:  James Rutherford (Baritone), Eugene Asti (Piano)
4.
Elizabethan Songs (5): Sleep by Ivor Gurney
Performer:  James Rutherford (Baritone), Eugene Asti (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1913; England 
5.
By a Bierside by Ivor Gurney
Performer:  James Rutherford (Baritone), Eugene Asti (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1917; England 
6.
Severn Meadows by Ivor Gurney
Performer:  James Rutherford (Baritone), Eugene Asti (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1917; England 
7.
In Flanders by Ivor Gurney
Performer:  James Rutherford (Baritone), Eugene Asti (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1917; England 
8.
Even such is time by Ivor Gurney
Performer:  James Rutherford (Baritone), Eugene Asti (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1917; England 
9.
Songs of travel by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Performer:  James Rutherford (Baritone), Eugene Asti (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1901-1904; England 

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