Composer of 'S'

Cyril Scott (1879-1970)

An English pianist and a composer. Born at Ocston on 27 September 1879 as the third child of a businessman's family. He went to Frankfurt, Germany when he was 12 years old to enter Hoch Conservatory and studied piano with Lazarro Uzielli, musical theory with Engelbert Humperdinck. He has studied in Germany for two times. For the second time, he studied compositing with Ivan Norr. While he was there, he came to be known to Frankfurt group such as Percy Grainger and Norman Odnell. After he went back to England in 1898, he settled down in Liverpool and Manchester as a pianist. Also he came to be interested in oriental philosophy and began to act as a poet under the interchange of Charles Bonnier (professor of the department of French literature, University College), Stefan George (composer's friend in Frankfurt period), and William de Haan. He also was known to Debussy and Ravel (they encouraged him) and being influenced. He received a honorary Ph. D degree from Chicago Conservatory in 1969. He died in Eastborne on 31 December 1970 (©2003, K.S.).

Main Works

Opera the alchemist (1924)
the saint of the mountain (1924-1925)
shrine (1925-1926)
Maureen O'Hana (1946)
Orchestral symphony No.1 (1899?)
symphony No.2 (1902?)
two passacaglias on Irish theme (1912)
neptune (1933/1935)
symphony No.3 (1933/1935)
Napolitan rhapsody (1960)
disaster at sea (-)
suite fantastique (-)
three danses (-)
Concerto piano concerto No.1 in C major (1913-1914) {p, orch}
poem 'early one morning' (1931) {p, orch}
piano concerto No.2 (1958) {p, orch}
violin cncerto (-) {vln, orch}
cello concerto (-) {vc, orch}
Chamber Tallahassee suite (1910) {vln, p}
violin sonata No.1 (1910) {vln, p}
aubade (1911) {fl, p}
sonatina (1927) {g}
sonata melodica (1950?) {vln, p}
flute sonata (1961) {fl, p}
the ecstatic sheperd (-) {fl}
Piano two 'pierrot' pieces (1904)
two pieces (1905)
danse nègre (1908)
piano sonata No.1 (1909)
trois danses tristes (1910)
water-wagtail (1910)
suite No. 2 (1910)
Pierette (1912)
poems (1912)
piano sonata No.3 (1956)
Songs lullaby (1908)

Scott Disc Review

"Symphony No. 3 'The Muses' / Piano Concerto No. 2 / Neptune" (Chandos : CHAN 10211)
Martyn Brabbins (cond) Howard Shelley (p) The Huddersfield Choral Society : BBC Philharmonic
It is surprising to hear that Martyn Brabbins (he has recorded beautifully performed Mackenzie works to Hyperion) put his attention to Scott and recorded it. It is more surprising for me to know that I can listen Scott works with the best orchestra in England. It is needless to say that the quality in performance of BBC Philharmonic is far superior than Marco recording. The difference is like the altitudes between of jet planes and para-gliders. Moreover, the selection of the works is nice. All of the three works are written in more contemporarian manner. Those taste slightly different from ones included in previously released piano works and a Marco CD. Symphony No.3, with attachment of large percussions, a wind machine and two harps, inspired by ancient Greek myth, implies that it is under the influence of Stravinsky. In fact the application of poly-mode and quasi rhythms demonstrate it. Piano Concerto, of which has given its premiere by John Ogdon, also emploied complicated rhythm arrangement and somewhat atonal-like (Bartok or Ohana rooted) sound coloration considerably. Although the last piece, Neptune, make me to be dissapointed that he is still a chep immitator of Stravinsky, we can say the selection can rightly reflect his best feature as a composer. Congraturation Mr. Scott. Finally you can have a nice recording to let your ability evaluate rightly. Then, if you consider the contents is boring, I strongly recommend you that you had better not purchase any further. If you do not, I encourage you to wait another recording from Chandos with your good image of Scott.

"In the Gardens of Soul-Sympathy - Scott Piano Works :
Two Pieces / Two 'Pierrot' Pieces / Pierrette / Poems / Trois Danses Tristes / Sonata" (Etcetera : KTC 1132)

Dennis Hennig (piano)
Although his name is not known, some bibliographies mention his name as one of impressionistic composers in abroad. Then it is still meaningful to introduce him. This Etcetra disc consists of Scott's piano works, including probably his most famous piece 'Lotus Land'. As the easy title indicates, he made a impressionistic parade with pentatonic scales, parallel chords, diatonic scales and modal phrases. However, the contrivance is cheaply transparent. Melodies are dull and not have any fresh content. Rhythms are monotonous and not given any twists. His Eric Satie-like simplicity is just cheap and lightly-seasoned because it ain't have any intension to do so. After all, we have to conclude this is an indiscriminate imitation written by Englishman who yearn for French impressionism. If you still wish to try his compositions, you had better purchase this one at first. Marco-disc sounds worse because of the mysterious performance of the orchestra.

"Aubade / Neapolitan Rhapsody / Three Dances / Suite Fantastique / Two Passacaglias on Irish Themes" (Marco Polo : 8.223485)
Peter Marchbank (cond) National Symphony Orchestra of the S.A.B.C.
This provides one of the rare materials of Scott works. Certainly, he made a impressionistic parade again (pentatonic scales, parallel chords, diatonic scales and modal phrases) in this orchestral settings.Yes, his heart and intension is just occupied by the enthusiasm for Debussy. But the practical level is remained just in admiration. They were just written in latter-romantic group or impressionistic manner so that you may find some value to pursue his works, but that is all. If you pour Debussy tea and extract his extract eroticism, liquidity, and gleam, you will find Scott being remained in the teapot. Incidentally, this is currently only available disc for his orchestral works. Yes, this is (as usual!!) discovered by Marco-Polo. Like the author of 'Record of Experiences in Orient' (by Marco Polo), we should regard to this label because they always do not allow us to have any alternate by exploring extra-minor composers. Yes, Mr.Marco. I admire you everytime I find your footprints in unexplored regions. But... don't you care a bit more about the members of the expeditionary party? In any sense, I can not find an acceptable reason why you have chosen South African orchestra to perform the works of an English composer!! It must be the North-South problem in music to listen this unrefined rugged strings.

(Japanese Page: 2002. 12. 3 and 2003. 1. 6 revised / English Translation: 2003. 4. 21)