RadleyRadley

  • Radley College, Abingdon, Oxfordshire, OX14 2HR
  • Telephone: 01235 543000, Fax: 01235 543106

Accessibility

Portals

Portals

Navigation

Main Menu

Butterworth Gala Concert

Butterworth Gala Concert

Butterworth Festival: Gala Concert in Silk Hall

It’s not often I find myself at a Classical music concert hosted at Radley, but this one seemed too good to miss. I knew little of Butterworth before Thursday night but felt compelled to find out more. The concert began with a short introduction given by award winning film-maker John Bridcut (OR) about Butterworth and his short but very influential experiences at Radley, before his sad death in the August of the first Battle of the Somme.

The first two pieces, Two Idylls for Orchestra, were played by the Radley Orchestra and conducted by Mr Clarke. Each began with a jaunty oboe tune that moves into a rich passage with the strings at the fore. However, in the second, the scene is darker and towards the end there is a solo violin. These pieces are typical of Butterworth’s style as he takes elements from several English folk songs.

Later came pieces including a six song cycle sung by baritone Johnny Herford from AE Housman’s ‘ A Shropshire Lad’ and a piece entitled ‘Love blows as the Wind Blows’. Both were sung beautifully and accompanied gracefully; we heard two more stories of Butterworth’s prowess and involvement with other composers such as Vaughan Williams. The culmination of this grand concert came with Butterworth’s final unfinished piece. We were told he had left it on his desk before he left for France and although some have later tried to finish it, it seemed only right to play it in its original form. The piece began with a dark-coloured opening on bassoons and divided violas and cellos. It then built up into a vivace section on the trumpets of only a few bars, before the music suddenly stopped and the lights went out.

The symbolism of this abrupt ending to such a fragmented piece, holding such promise just before it stopped, was dazzling as we sat in the black and silent Silk Hall. It had been a thoroughly astonishing experience and one that I would recommend to all who have the chance to see it at some point in the future.

Report by James Maidment, C Social 6.1

Pictured below: Hannah Fraser-Mackenzie OR (soprano)

Some of these pieces and Songs were being premiered this very evening; others were written by Butterworth during his time as a Music don at Radley in 1909/10, when he set up the Radley Choral Society and lived at the Lodge.

Butterworth Gala Concert 

  

 

 

 

Main Menu