Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Cyril Scott: Symphony No. 1 & Cello Concerto


Tonight I am going down Oxford Street in search of the latest Cyril Scott release from Chandos. As I understand it this is the last of a four CD survey of his orchestral and concerted music. And I am very excited about it –nearly as much as the days when I used to queue up for the latest Beatles disc!

I first came across Cyril Scott way back in the mid nineteen seventies when Lyrita issued his Second Piano Concerto and the attractive Early One Morning. Since then the availability of his music has been somewhat spasmodic. It is only in the past few years that things have really begun to improve. Dutton are issuing a complete edition if his piano music. Already Leslie De’Ath has recorded some four CDs. The same record company have produced a number of chamber works. Of course there have been a number of other releases over the years – but mostly as part of multi-composer compilations.

The CD I am in search of tonight -though I wonder if it will be in HMV yet – is a recording of the First Symphony and the Cello Concerto. I have never heard either work – and I doubt many people alive will have. In fact, both works are receiving their world premieres!

The First Symphony is dedicated to the poet Stefan George and comes from a period of Scott’s life when he was massively influenced by German artistic philosophy. It would appear to be a work that explores “a modern rhapsodic style.” Fortunately for Cyril Scott enthusiasts the score was preserved by the eccentric Percy Grainger.

The Cello Concerto promises to show the influence of Debussy and Ravel. This later work is a “virtuosic and extravagant work full of mysticism and haunting melodies."
The BBC Philharmonic Orchestra is conducted by Martyn Brabbins and Paul Watkins is the ‘cello soloist.

I cannot wait to get my teeth into it! And I will report back

1 comment:

frankmarker said...

Dear John

I've enjoyed the entire Chandos Cyril Scott cycle. What a shame they're not releasing more of his works as they did with the very underrated Frank Bridge. Never mind, at least Chandos wre flying the flag for largely forgotten British composers.

Have you read Cyril Scott's autobiography, 'Bone of Contention'? It's well worth rooting out as he was such a fascinating man who wrote books on the occult, philosophy and alternative medicine, one of which was called 'Constipation and Common Sense'!

I see you know the Wheatsheaf. You may like to know I arrange talks in the upstairs room on various subjects. Last year we were given a very entertaining talk on Peter Warlock. If you would like to be on our mailign list please let me know.

Kind regards

Dave Fogarty