Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thursday, November 27, 2014 12:20 am by M. in    No comments
The English composer and conductor Arthur Butterworth (1923-2014) died last November 20. He has a special interest in the Brontës and composed several pieces based in the poetry of Emily Brontë but also inspired by the Brontë country moorlands:
The Moors, Suite for large orchestra and organ, Op. 26 (1962)
The Path across the Moors, Op. 17 (1959); also for brass band (1964)
A Moorland Symphony, Op. 32 (1967)
The Night Wind for soprano, clarinet and piano (or orchestra), Op. 38 (1969)
Haworth Moor, 3 Songs for chorus and piano, Op. 110 (2000)
Grey Moorland, Concert March, Op. 134
Haworth Moor (2000) :Written for the Huddersfield Singers to words by Emily and Anne Brontë including RemembrancePremiere July 1st 2000. Huddersfield Singers 125th Anniversary Concert, St Paul's Hall, Huddersfield
The Brontë sisters, Emily, Anne and Charlotte in addition to their novels wrote poetry, that of Emily being far superior to the poems of her sisters.
They collaborated in evoking the Land of the Gondals, a romantic childhood creation of their imagination. However, a more immediate - and plausible -source of the imagination was their lonely moorland environment. The aura of the bleak hills, in all seasons of the year were a constant source of fascination, delight, and indeed love of those wild places. This is expressed in the first of these settings, the poem by Anne: "Lines composed in a wood on a windy day" with its exhilaration and evocation of nature.
"Remembrance" by Emily Brontë is a longer and more introspective poem from the Gondal cycle of imaginative writings. Like her sister's poem, it too captures something of the imagery of the moorlands, and the spell it cast over them. However there is a deeper vein of philosophy and insight that has made it one of the more memorable of nineteenth century poetic creations.
"The North Wind" was written by Anne at the end of January 1838 and evokes, as does much of the sisters' nature poetry, the almost ecstatic fascination, amounting even to obsession, they felt for their native harsh and inhospitable moorland.
They all suffered from the climatic conditions; the chill, damp atmosphere insidiously claimed them in turn. However, the legacy of their imaginative insight into life, love and thwarted yearnings have for more than a century and a half captivated generations of us.
The Night Wind (1969)In 1969 he was commissioned by the Arts Council of Great Britain to compose "The Night Wind, Op.38, a set of three poems by Emily Brontë (*), for the Trinidadian soprano, Miriam Nathaniel, a work first performed at the Calder Valley Festival of that year. Almost all his major orchestral works, notably the four symphonies and the suite for large orchestra "The Moors" Op. 26, contemplate this recurring theme of fascination for the remote moorlands of northern England. (Source)
(*) The Night Wind, The Visionary and The linnet in the rocky dells.

The Independent publishes his obituary with a special mention to The Night Wind:
His song cycle The Night Wind sets three poems by Emily Brontë, the poet of Yorkshire and the moors. "Like Emily Brontë I have always been deeply under the spell of the remote and lonely moorlands of the north of England," he wrote, "and much of my music has been influenced by their oftimes forbidding desolate loneliness." Perhaps his love of wild country is most popularly exemplified in his short tone poem The Path Across the Moors. (Lewis Foreman) 


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