Loveliest of Trees

George Butterworth (1911) (arr. John Cook)
Year of composition
Year of arrangement
Moderate (Grades 4-6)
2 minutes
Classical music
Wind quintet
Instrumental parts

This is the first of the eleven settings of poems from A. E. Housman’s "A Shropshire Lad" that Butterworth published between 1911 and 1912. He subsequently composed the "Rhapsody, A Shropshire Lad" developing the material from this song for full orchestra and at greater length. This little transcription of the song for wind quintet can thus be seen as a cut-down version, in all senses, of that rhapsody. Butterworth was killed by a sniper in 1916 during the battle of the Somme. He was awarded the Military Cross for bravery during a previous action, but he did not live to receive it. He is, inevitably, one of the great might-have-beens of early twentieth century English music.

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