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Cat. No. CHAN 10452 Price: £10.5 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 10452 - Scott: Concerto for Cello and Orchestra/ Symphony No. 1
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Available From: 01 February 2008
The Chandos survey of music by Cyril Scott comes to a close with two world premiere recordings – the Cello Concerto and First Symphony. The series has introduced many British music enthusiasts to his music, and as Fanfare described ‘a wider acquaintance with Scott’s rich output is to be encouraged…’ BBC Music magazine commented ‘Brabbins directs sympathetic and characterful performances… well worth any British music-lovers

time.’ As with the previous three volumes, the BBC Philharmonic perform, with Martyn Brabbins conducting.

Cyril Scott was amongst the many young British musicians who studied music in Germany, where he acquired German artistic ideas of the time. Whilst in Germany he met and became a champion of the German poet Stefan George and this friendship proved immeasurably influential in his compositional writing, especially his First Symphony. Scott dedicated the work to George citing ‘…whose art I am indebted for many of my best and most religious ideas.’ It is thanks to Scott’s friendship with Percy Grainger that the score is still in existence. Grainger was obsessed with archiving the musical time through which they lived and was thus constantly asking Scott for his manuscripts for his museum in Melbourne. It is only because of this that several of Scott’s scores have survived, including this First Symphony which experiments with the modern, rhapsodic style and various orchestral colours that he was to develop in his subsequent works. Peter Dickinson noted on a previous volume that, ‘Scott’s command of the orchestra still sounds astonishing – no wonder film composers such as Bernard Herrmann admired him decades later.’

Scott’s early success came to an unforeseen halt with the outbreak of the First World War. His growing reputation in Germany suddenly ended and his German publisher became an embarrassment. Fortunately he was thought of by many as the pre-eminent avant-garde musician of his generation and his association with composers such as Ravel and Debussy was in his favour. Indeed Debussy admired Scott’s music and was an obvious influence. The First Symphony is coupled by the Debussy-esque Cello Concerto written in 1937, which receives its first performance on disc. This virtuosic and extravagant work is full of mysticism and haunting melodies, and shown in its best light by cellist Paul Watkins. As this exploratory series comes to an end, this remarkable discovery in 20th Century British music will prove a must for all British music enthusiasts.
Reviews

Paul Watkins sounds superb and, as before,Martyn Brabbins is an admirable exponent.
Gramophone

"This is in some ways the most revealing of the issues in Brabbin’s Cyril Scott series for Chandos, with works from opposite ends of his long career, the Symphony No 1 of 1899 and the Cello Concerto of 1937. The Symphony is more traditional than Scott’s later symphonies, with its clean-cut thematic material... This was before Scott acquired a French flavour in his music, and the result is very attractive. The Cello Concerto, beautifully played with Paul Watkins as soloist, is in a conventional three movements, with the fast outer movements separated by a reflective Pastoral for unaccompanied cello, before the jolly, sparkling finale. A first-rate disc, very well recorded."
The Penguin Guide - 1000 Greatest Classical Recordings 2011-12

If music is the food of love, love is certainly the food of music – in terms of the convincing performances here; I am sure Paul Watkins, Martyn Brabbins and the BBC Philharmonic fully enjoyed bringing these works to our attention. The sound quality is outstanding and this most worthwhile CD is strongly recommended.
International Record Review

Chandos brings more lost British music back to life with this instantly enjoyable, well-recorded disc. Scott’s First Symphony of 1899 is beguilingly tuneful. But the main prize is the 1937 Cello Concerto, never performed, it seems, before this studio recording. Watkins’s keening tone is a delight, and the BBC Philharmonic , under Martyn Brabbins, bask in Scotts iridescent harmonies. Prepare for long singing lines, oriental tinges, and a wistful, mystical haze. I love it.
The Times

Neither work has deserved such total obscurity… The Cello Concerto… has a large, rhapsodically meditative first movement succeeded by a very short ‘pastoral intermezzo’ and a lively, capering finale with some slightly grotesque elements. The Delian rhapsodising and chromatic harmony are kept in check by a fine sense of structural balance and the piece seems very effectively written for the solo instrument as well as beautifully and lushly scored. Paul Watkins is an eloquent soloist and Martyn Brabbins directs taut but sympathetic performances.
BBC Music Magazine

Cellist Paul Watkins, whose playing in Elgar’s Cello Concerto impressed me in a Proms concert recording… is just as wonderful here. Every note is clear, his tone is beautiful, and he never stops singing. The orchestral playing is exemplary in both works, as is the leadership of conductor Brabbins. The sound is up to Chandos standards, and Foreman’s notes do the job.
American Record Guide

The rediscovery of the music of Cyril Scott (1879-1970) continues with this premiere recording of hi cello concerto of 1937. Paul Watkins is the versatile soloist and Martyn Brabbins the authoritative conductor.
Sunday Telegraph

There’s a real discovery here, perhaps the best justification so far for Chandos’s decision to record all of Cyril Scott’s orchestral works. The Cello Concerto… Watkins is a wonderfully convincing soloist. And Martyn Brabbins makes a good case for the early, and understandably less individual, First Symphony.
The Guardian

Paul Watkins makes a good case for the concerto, responding to both its lyricism and its freshness. Martyn Brabbins inspires lithe and wholesome playing from the BBC Philharmonic here and in the inventive symphony.
The Telegraph

Neither work has deserved such total obscurity… The Cello Concerto… has a large, rhapsodically meditative first movement succeeded by a very short ‘pastoral intermezzo’ and a lively, capering finale with some slightly grotesque elements. The Delian rhapsodising and chromatic harmony are kept in check by a fine sense of structural balance and the piece seems very effectively written for the solo instrument as well as beautifully and lushly scored. Paul Watkins is an eloquent soloist and Martyn Brabbins directs taut but sympathetic performances.
BBC Music Magazine

One of today’s most significant and exciting recording projects in recovering the English musical past is the series of Chandos releases devoted to the little-known music of Cyril Scott (1879-1970). Superbly conducted by Martyn Brabbins and co-produced and annotated by repertoire consultant Lewis Foreman, these recordings are uncovering repertoire splendours from an especially neglected corner of the 20th century.
Fanfare

Watkins billows through the broad melodic lines of the lyrical 1937 Cello Concerto, while Brabbins moulds deeply evocative accounts of the 1899 First Symphony.
Classic FM

 

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