Butterworth CD

by krissrussman in London

We did it
On 27th November 2015 we successfully raised £9,570 with 58 supporters in 42 days

Support this landmark CD with world premiere recordings of works by a British genius whose music died in the mud of the First World War.

by krissrussman in London


I am Kriss Russman, a conductor and composer, and I'm asking for your help to make a landmark CD of the first ever complete recordings of orchestral music by the renowned British composer George Butterworth with the superb BBC National Orchestra of Wales, internationally acclaimed baritone James Rutherford and the award-winning record company BIS Records.


Butterworth was a brilliant young composer who was one of the great hopes for British music. The few pieces he composed - including the Rhapsody: A Shropshire Lad, the Idyll: The Banks of Green Willow and Six Songs from 'A Shropshire Lad' - are masterpieces and have remained popular since they were first performed. Tragically, he was killed in the First World War at the Battle of the Somme on 5th August 1916, aged just 31. Extremely modest and much admired, he was awarded the Military Cross twice for his bravery. Next year will be the centenary of his death.


The CD will include three world premiere recordings of Butterworth's music. One is the completion of a recently discovered 92-bar fragment of a work that Butterworth left unfinished before going to war. It is remarkable that the piece has survived at all as Butterworth destroyed much of his music before leaving for the trenches. It is called Orchestral Fantasia and was brought to my attention by Butterworth's biographer Anthony Murphy. The fragment is very different in style from Butterworth's other music and includes the longest, and possibly the finest, melody that he composed. There are no surviving sketches for the work and, through an in-depth anaylsis of Butterworth's musical language, I have extended this three-minute fragment to nearly nine minutes, similar in length to the composer's other works. It will be given its public world premiere by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, under Martyn Brabbins, in Glasgow on 19th November this year. I will conduct the world premiere recording of the piece on this CD. I have also orchestrated Butterworth's Six Songs from 'A Shropshire Lad' for voice and piano and arranged the composer's virtually unknown Suite for String Quartet, with its deeply moving slow movement, for string orchestra. These three recording premieres will sit alongside Butterworth's other well-known orchestral pieces on the CD as well as the composer's only song-cycle for voice and orchestra, Love blows as the wind blows


With the forthcoming centenary of Butterworth's death and the Battle of the Somme, there is no better opportunity to celebrate the musical vision of one of Britain's finest composers and reflect upon both the human and cultural tragedy of war. Your support allows this recording to be produced to the highest standards with an internationally acclaimed orchestra and soloist and a world-renowned record company. It will not only revive Butterworth's musical legacy, but also allow music that has lain dormant for more than 100 years to finally be heard. 

Butterworth photographs courtesy of Anthea Ionides.








This project offers rewards in return for your donation.

£10 or more

£10 Reward

A huge thank you from Kriss Russman on his website for believing in the project!

£25 or more

£25 Reward

A copy of the CD recording before international release.

£50 or more

£50 Reward

Same benefits as £25 pledge, but with CD signed by Kriss Russman and name printed in liner notes.

£100 or more

£100 Reward

Same benefits as £50 pledge, but with Anthony Murphy's critically acclaimed biography of Butterworth, 'Banks of Green Willow', signed by the author.

£500 or more

£500 Reward

Same benefits as £100 pledge, but with invitation plus one guest to world premiere performance of Butterworth's 'Orchestral Fantasia' at Glasgow's City Halls on 19th November and opportunity to share a glass of champagne with Kriss Russman and Anthony Murphy. If corporate organisation, logo in CD liner notes.

£750 or more

0 of 1 claimed

£750 Reward

Same benefits as £500 pledge, but to include original annotated score of Kriss Russman's completion of the 'Orchestral Fantasia' as used in the BIS recording sessions (limited to one pledge).

£1,000 or more

£1,000 Reward

Same benefits as £500 pledge, but with specially composed 5-minute piano work by Kriss Russman dedicated to pledger.

£2,000 or more

£2,000 Reward

Same benefits as £500 pledge, but with specially composed 5-minute work, for specified instrumental ensemble of 5 players, by Kriss Russman, dedicated to pledger.

£250 or more

1 of 1 claimed

£250 Reward

Same benefits as £100 pledge, but including baton used by Kriss Russman on BIS recording sessions (limited to one pledge).

Got an idea like this?

Our crowd has raised over £70 million for bright ideas and good causes.