Olivier Charlier: Cyril Scott Violin Concerto, Matryn Brabbins

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Cyril Scott - Violin Concerto (1925)
Performed by Olivier Charlier. Conducted by Matryn Brabbins with the BBC Philharmonic

I. Larghetto - 00:00
II. Adagio - Allegro Con Spirito - 4:14
III. Largo - 11:27
IV. Allegro - 16:12

New building of Hoch's Conservatory in Frankfu...
New building of Hoch's Conservatory in Frankfurt am Main (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Scott was born in Oxton, England to a shipper and scholar of Greek and Hebrew, and Mary Scott (née Griffiths), an amateur pianist. He showed a talent for music from an early age and was sent to
the Hoch Conservatory in Frankfurt, Germany to study piano in 1892 at age 12. He Studied with Iwan Knorr and belonged to the Frankfurt Group, a circle of composers who studied at the Hoch Conservatory in the late 1890s. His first symphony was performed (through the good offices of his friend Stefan George, the great German poet) when he was only twenty years old.

In 1902 he met the pianist Evelyn Suart, with whom he had a long artistic association. She championed his music, premiering many of his works, and introducing him to his publisher, Elkin, with whom he remained for the rest of his life. Evelyn Suart was also a Christian Scientist, and it was through her that Scott became interested in metaphysics. Scott dedicated his Scherzo, Op. 25 to Evelyn Suart. (Her daughter Diana Gould was a noted ballerina and the second wife of Yehudi Menuhin.

Scott was essentially a late romantic composer, whose style was at the same time strongly influenced by impressionism. His harmony was notably exotic. If in his early works it was perhaps over-sweet (Alban Berg dismissed his music as 'mushy'), it became steadily more varied and more refined in his later years. Indeed it is his late works (written between 1950 and his death) that are the most individual, with their ever-shifting harmonic colours and wayward inflections of phrase and mood, capturing perfectly the way the mind shifts, backwards and forwards, between reminiscence, regrets, and self-assertion.

Scott was called the "Father of modern British music" by Eugene Goossens, and was also admired by Debussy, Ravel, his close friend Percy Grainger, Richard Strauss and Stravinsky. His experiments in free rhythm, generated by expanding musical motifs, above all in his truly revolutionary First Piano Sonata of 1909, appear to have exerted an influence on Stravinsky's 'Rite of Spring'. He used to be known as 'the English Debussy', though this reflected little knowledge of Scott and little understanding of Debussy.

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Paul Watkins: Cyril Scott Cello Concerto, Martyn Brabbins
Martyn Brabbins: Cyril Scott Symphonies 1, 3, 4 (BBC Philharmonic)