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Cat. No. CHAN 10211 Price: £10.5 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 10211 - Scott: Neptune/ Symphony No. 3/Piano Concerto
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Audio Sample

Available From: 05 April 2004
While still in his twenties, Scott was perceived as one of the pre-eminent avant-garde musicians of his generation. He was championed by such luminaries as Henry Wood and Thomas Beecham and his advocacy of the latest techniques briefly gave him a wide acquaintance with some of the leading musicians of the day, including Ravel and Debussy. After the First World War, however, he found himself increasingly at odds with the prevailing idioms of the day and became persona non grata with the musical establishment. His unorthodox non-musical interests, too (he wrote several books on occultism and alternative medicine), contributed to his lack of recognition as a serious composer.

The score of Neptune is a revised version of Scott’s symphonic poem Disaster at Sea, a programmatic account of the sinking of the Titanic. The work evokes a cold calm sea, becoming more animated as the ship sails on its way. Later the trombones clearly evoke a foghorn and a tremendous climax follows. A series of storm episodes ensue before the whole orchestra takes up a lament for loss at sea.

Symphony No. 3 The Muses requires an enormous orchestra, including four flutes, a large percussion section with wind machine and two harps, the distinctive sound of orchestral piano, and in the last movement a vocalising choir. The symphony, which celebrates four of the nine muses (daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne and the spirits of poetry, the arts and astronomy), is the crowning work of Scott’s compositional career up to the outbreak of the Second World War.

Scott eschews the orchestral opulence of the earlier symphony in his Second Piano Concerto, giving the piano a leading role and calling for comparatively modest instrumental forces which he uses with restraint. The freely chromatic harmony and fluid changes of pulse are typical of his later music.

'The always dependable Howard Shelley plays the concerto with real animation and flair, and Martyn Brabbins has a real feel for Scott's iridescent soundscapes.'
American Record Review

'A major must for the musical Anglophile.'
Fanfare (USA)

'Scott's scoring is extravagant but lucid, his harmony sensuous and involving, and his structures are free but controlled… This is a CD of terrific music, it demands comprehensively met by the musicians and the recording.'
International Record Review

'From the haunting sound of a plucked cello to the full orchestra rampaging with organ, it makes the best possible case for Scott's virtues.'
The Times

'This spectacularly engineered disc will come as a revelation to those who know the English composer Cyril Scott for a few once-popular piano pieces.'
Classic FM Magazines

'All three pieces grow on one - Neptune is by any standards a powerful act of nature-evocation, and its turbulent seascape-mood is yet more effectively embodied in the Symphony's first movement (the later movements seem less motivated, and the finale's wordless chorus sounds and unnecessary addition to the fabric). These performances, in almost demonstration-class sound, are expert and committed. An important act of restitution…'
BBC Music Magazine


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