- Symphony No. 2, Op. 25
The English composer Arthur Butterworth, who lived until 2014, claimed direct inspiration from northern landscapes, Scandinavian as well as British. He often, like Beethoven, developed his musical ideas while tramping through the countryside. The style displayed here in the "Symphony No. 1" of 1957, which made Butterworth's reputation when it was premiered by Sir John Barbirolli at the Cheltenham Festival, remained untouched by modernism over the composer's long career. His work has occasionally been recorded, but was a natural for the Lyrita label's series of forgotten works rescued from BBC radio broadcasts; the broadcast of the "Symphony No. 1" was conducted by the composer himself. (According to the label it required substantial reconstruction, but it sounds only slightly worse than the other two.) Sample the second movement of this work (CD 2, track 2) to hear the clear influence of Sibelius in Butterworth's music, overlaid with chromatic harmony and a love of writing for brasses that was apparent early in Butterworth's life. The outer movements are tumultuous and dramatic, and they remain crowd-pleasers. The BBC Northern Symphony and BBC Scottish Symphony stay on top of difficult scores and provide testimony to the generally high level of British orchestral playing during this period. Recommended.