Loveliest of Trees

By: George Butterworth (1911) (arr. John Cook)
For: Wind quintet
page one of Loveliest of Trees

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George Butterworth (1911) (arr. John Cook)
Year of composition
Year of arrangement
Moderate (Grades 4-6)
2 minutes
Classical music
License details
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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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